Monday is not my favorite day of the week (is it anybody’s?). Which is weird because while I am traveling all days are the same to me. Monday is just another vacation day. This feeling though that Monday is the start to an intense work week makes the day not really miserable, but definitely a long day. So having dinner plans for a Monday evening changes everything and getting up in the morning becomes so much more worthwhile.
On this particular Monday I was out with my besties and the restaurant of our choice was Ali Ocakbasi, a fairly new Turkish restaurant in Vienna. It is apparently a chain with restaurants all over Europe, the concept though comes from Istanbul. And this is what sold it to me; the idea of choosing my starters from a tray of meze. I loved these on my trips to Istanbul, so yummy and such a great variety to choose from.
Three of us had arrived on time while for the fourth we had to wait. This apparently was something the waiter couldn’t deal with because in the 30 minutes that we waited he asked us twice if we wanted to order, the third time he already came with the meze tray. What exactly was so difficult about this request?
Once we were ready though we couldn’t order fast enough. How lovely then that the meze were all ready and just waited to be sampled. We chose a variety without meats from humus to tursu (pickled vegetables). With the still warm bread it was a feast and vanished in no time. Every dish tasted excellent to me, my friends were a bit pickier and found some dishes more to there liking. I liked the subtle smoky flavor of the eggplants and the spice note from the blugur salad.
The moment our table was cleared the waiter started again to pester us what we would like to order. That honestly annoyed me. We had just finished the appetizer and wanted to catch up a bit. Having dinner with my friends is more of a social event, since everyone is busy with their lives we need these get-togethers to bring us up to speed. So having a pushy waiter was not exactly how we imagined the evening. In the end we ordered some salad, a mini pide and the meze tray again. None of us was in the mood for a main dish, just a bit of snacking while sitting together was enough for us.
The second round of meze tasted as good as the first one, the food here is wonderful. The tomato salad with walnuts and pomegranate sauce tasty and not too sweet, the mini pide still warm from the oven and gooey from all the cheese. I was missing a bit the Turkish hospitality though, I remember it way more relaxed (maybe they just adhere to Austrian standards) from my visits in Istanbul.
Overall it is the perfect place to share a meal with your friends. I like the concept of sampling a lot of dishes and the food here is up to par. Definitely a place I can recommend. Yours, Pollybert
1010 Wien, Operngasse 14
Tel: +43 1 581 15 67