It’s been a long time since a restaurant has inspired me to get back in my kitchen to learn to make new dishes. Troya, on 5th and Clement in San Francisco, reminded me of my trip to Israel and how I came home burning to get into my kitchen to learn to make my own pita and recreate the meze dishes we had at Arab restaurants there.
Troya looked a little fancy for my tastes from the outside. I like low-key restaurants that serve really approachable but delicious food. I don’t want my sauces foamed and precious and I don’t want enormous plates with single architectural bites arranged in the middle. Haute food is not my scene. I want humble dishes made exceptionally well. I want peasant food and country food and classic foods with fresh twists. In spite of how shiny Troya looked the menu was enticing and the prices just within my budget.
The restaurant describes its food as a blend of Turkish-mediterranean. I have no experience with Turkish food but Mediterranean food is my favorite and there were a lot of familiar dishes with slightly unfamiliar touches.
First we got some bread with olive oil, crushed pistachios, and what I think is a red za’atar mix. I loved dipping the bread in olive oil and then the pistachios but the spice mix was too perfumy for my taste, though Philip really enjoyed it.
The zucchini cakes. This was our favorite dish. Our only complaint was that they didn’t come with enough of the yogurt sauce. But honestly – that’s such a small complaint. I don’t know what else is in these deep fried cakes besides zucchini but I mean to find out when I go back again! The texture inside was moist but didn’t have an uncooked flavor – they were perfect.
The grilled halloumi cheese with roasted baby beets, local greens, and pistachios was the second runner up for favorite dish. I’m a sucker for a beet salad with nuts and this one was perfectly dressed. (It’s a pet peeve of mine when salads are underdressed because, unlike bunnies, I don’t like dry greens.)
Lastly we had the vegetarian moussakka. It was creamy and the vegetables worked well together but they used fresh mint in the seasoning which isn’t my favorite. It didn’t ruin it for me but I wished I couldn’t taste it because it interfered with the melting flavors of the other ingredients.
I can’t wait to go back! There are some other vegetarian dishes to try and obviously I have to have those zucchini cakes again.
A couple of other notes:
- The wait staff was super friendly and took good care of us from beginning to end. We went before it was crowded so I don’t know how it is when it’s bustling but we had a great experience.
- Though the restaurant seemed a little on the fancy side for me at first I changed my opinion soon after being seated. It’s casual enough that you won’t feel stupid for not dressing up or knowing how to use a fish fork (they don’t have any – ha!).
- You won’t care about this but I could see my old apartment from my seat and it pleased me so much! I thought of my friend and old roommate Jessica and if she ever comes up to visit I think we’ll have to eat at Troya and talk about the old days.