Melek Anne

Written by on April 3, 2012 in I Eat Turkey, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Edirne, Turkey

How I heard of this place: When they found out we were also visiting Edirne, my brother-in-law hinted (more than once) that we should find and eat at the restaurant across the street from the Tuna Hotel. It just so happened that the hotel at which we initially booked our stay was full and could not take us. Not 100 meters down the street: the Tuna Hotel. We knew exactly where we would be having dinner tonight!

Type of cuisine: Turkish home-cookin’. The first place we have come across that is run solely by women! No one was outside expressing the need to share the menu with us, only three sweet, young women inside: one at the register, one behind the food display and one in the kitchen (washing dishes). Each of them greeted us warmly with a smile, both on their faces and in their eyes. What is available for ordering is exactly what you see in the glass windowed display cases, limited at times. Pick what looks good and it will be presented on a plate, heated in one of the three microwave ovens and brought to your table with bread.

Ambiance: One of our favorite restaurants, by way of space was found here at Melek Anne Restaurant. The bright pink exterior with green gramed window panes was found directly across the street from our hotel, Tuna. We made our way up the five steps, past three, wooden hanging baskets of fake lush greenery and daisies. A table with a lilac scarf and more fake greenery (ivy) was at the top of the stairs, under the covered patio, with a hand-written sign, in pink: “hoşgeldiniz“! (Welcome). Inside, the extra high ceilings looked like they could use a new paint job, yet remained remarkably detailed and elegant. A black and white photograph of Ata Turk hung just above the door at the windows up high. Three rooms available for seating, each with its own personality followed. To our left, the hardwood floors led us to a more demure space with uncovered, shiny, dark, wooden tables and simple, matching chairs. White curtains, set to open, on the wooden-framed windows. Two spherical lanterns hung, one atop the other in the center of the room, from the very high ceiling. The second room resembled something that might come out of Walt Disney’sAlice in Wonderfland. Purple, glasstop tables set against faux-leather purple benches, pushed up against the the pink walls. Chairs in pistachio and purple pulled up to the opposite sides of each table. Purple curatins were lovingly drawn and kept out of the window with red sashes to let natural light shine forth on the grass-patterned plastic spread across the floor. Salt and pepper shakers on each table were long-necked jars topped with purple and green plastic flowers, out of which the spices would flow. The third room, leading out to the magical patio, gleaned a more sultry ambiance. Deep, blood-red, see-through curtains at the long windows, the same wooden tables and chairs and minimal other decor. Outside, a bamboo-lined awning impedes the hot sun, yet allows for its rays to shine through the spaces between shoots, and onto the patio below. The space where dark, wooden tables and chairs are placed is painted green, the perimeter soil with fresly planted (fake) seasonal flowers at the edges. A Byzantine-era stone wall topped with Spanish tile separates the patio from the main street, allowing for a more peaceful early dinner, listening to the soft music overhead.

What I ordered: Chris and I walked in and immediately knew we wanted a little of everything! At only 10TL per plate, we made out well! We were each presented with three mini dolama, sauteed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and garlic), white rice (mixed with what resembled orzo) and Spanish rice (tomato-y with tiny-diced green beans). Additionally, two of our favorite things were one that resembled a Russian Salad (potatoes, green peas, carrots and chicken in a mayonnaise sauce) topped with cheese and baked, served warm, as well as a bread-layered vegetable lasagna of sorts. To drink: our first sample of Ayran (1.50TL), the Turkish equivalent of Persian doogh.

What I loved: The Russian salad was my favorite thing on the plate. We had already determined, that should we return tomorrow night for dinner, we would choose that, the vegetables and possibly the tomato-rice. Yum. I’m drooling. again, already.

Why I loved it: While the food was great, very down-to-earth and homey, and the atmosphere whimsical, bright, open and friendly, it is really the staff that made our experience. Their smiles, their cheerful personalities, their warm-heartedness, their purity and hospitality truly amplified the flavors of the foods we were served and the cozy, warm nature of our surroundings.

Cost: Low (10TL per large plate)

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