It has been a long anticipated wait to experience this restaurant. Every time I drive by on Park Av, I could not help but be curious about that big bread like image at every sidewalk table. What is that thing? I know now. Not only did I made a new favorite, but I got to taste some unique flavors of Turkey.
Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine Restaurant has been a long standing fixture on Park Ave. At least longer than some of the swinging door restaurants that makes a big splash and then fade. They also have another location in Dr. Phillips. Like most restaurants that grace the Rodeo Dr. of Orlando, Park Ave, there is ample sidewalk seating with covered umbrellas. Depending on the time of day, you might have to play musical chairs with the sun. Unfortunately the restaurant faces West, as the sun shifts during the day, that sidewalk could be blazing. However during the evening hours, Park Ave parade of fashion trends, little dogs, distinguished gentlemen and ladies is a sight to behold.
For whatever reason I always felt that to truly experience this restaurant, I had to be able to sit for a long time. The situation recently presented itself. I had a lazy lunch with a friend that could have easily carried on for a few more hours. I am glad time was on our side. Those portions are huge. A sip of wine, a nibble here, a nibble there, intense conversation, laughter, interesting characters, wonderful aromatic food and we could have easily been sitting on a street side in Turkey. This is the portrait of Bosphorous. Of course, one could easily dash in and have a quick bite. But that would take away from the nostalgia of the exotics. If the Florida sun, sweat and heat is not really your thing, fear non, sit inside.
The dining room is exotic and comfortable. Booths, leather, wood and warm colors envelope for privacy and intimacy. While several tables put together caters for large groups.
The bar is somewhat separated from the dining room by a dividing wall. This allows for a more robust bar scene. Obviously, the food menu is Turkish cuisine. There is a sizable wine list with something for every palate. Turkish wines and that oh so famous Raki is definitely on the menu. If you’ve ever indulged in Raki, you would know how fast the ground can jump up and smack you in the face. Be forewarned. Nah, do shots. Even better, do flights of shots!
Sauvignon Blanc, Sevilen, Turkey – A clear honeyed hue with lime and mineral tartness that gives way to cut grass with crisp medium finish.
Lavas with Hummus and Babaganoush – Here is the sight I keep passing. Now I know the name, Lavas. It is a hollow bread that is best torn by hand and used to sop up various items. It can be eaten with almost anything. The bread is soft and chewy, but it does get brittle if allowed to cool for awhile. Hummus was creamy with grains. Babaganoush was creamy with earthy notes. Lavas could easily fill you up. Or could easily stretch a meal for hours on end.
Dorado (Cupra Izgara) – Mediterranean dorado (filleted), served char-broiled with mixed green salad and jasmine rice. The fish was lightly seasoned which allowed the tender meaty, flaky texture and suppleness to shin through. Greens were fresh and delightful.
Lamb Shank – seasoned to perfection with our authentic Turkish spices and seasonings, braised slowly amongst a medley of fresh carrots, onions, and bell peppers until the meat is tender enough to fall off the bone. Served with our jasmine rice pilaf. Great menu description! However, this was the one thing that fell short. I just did not taste the spices. It was tender fall off the bone, but that’s all it did, fall off.
Apple Flavored Turkish Tea – Am I wrong to assume that the Turks are known for their Tea and Coffee Drinking Culture? I was a little disappointed with this tea bag and hot water pot. Maybe I expected something else. But, the tea was nicely flavored.
Flavors and textures intertwined with atmosphere and relaxed casualness to heighten the overall experience. Service as very professional and cordial. Sometimes in our busy lives we need to slow down and take a few hours to nibble and sip. Ancient cultures have been living this slow way for generations. Bosphorous in Winter Park is able to recreate a place to slow down and enjoy life little pleasures.