We’ve always enjoyed Turkish cuisine and when we heard that Machka had just opened in San Francisco’s Financial District we knew we had to try it. Located directly across the street from the Transamerica Pyramid Center, the new restaurant exudes an active lively “after work” friendly business vibe. The Décor features an exposed brick wall lined with high top tables, a beautiful chandelier, interesting suspended spot lighting, a communal table, vintage Turkish photographs, and sidewalk seating. There was also a fun media wall playing classic Turkish movies. A single orchid blossom on each table added a lovely touch of elegance. The main focus of this cozy 32 seat restaurant is the Bar/Exhibition Kitchen where you can drink, dine and watch Chef de Cuisine Reynol Martinez create Turkish-Mediterranean dishes using mostly organic and locally sourced ingredients.
We were seated at a table by the window where we could see the entire restaurant and the active street. We started with a few Mezes (small plates). Our favorite was salad with Fava beans, English peas, snap peas, cilantro, fresh mint, sumac, lemon and smoked paprika vinaigrette. It was absolutely amazing! All the ingredients were so fresh and the vivid color of the green peas and beans was just beautiful. We also enjoyed the Duo of Hummus which came with excellent warm pita bread. We found both the Classic Hummus and the Spicy Chipotle & Red Bell Pepper Hummus to be outstanding. Another excellent small plate choice is the Grilled Octopus served in a salad with chick peas, celery, lemon and olive oil. Next, we had a bowl of their “Soup of the Day” which was a luscious Roasted Tomato with pureed chickpeas and Argon oil. Thinly fried garlic slices topped this perfect soup! We also loved the Imported Turkish Feta which was quite pungent and firmer than we’ve had in the past and really delicious. It was perfect with the grilled walnut bread and fabulous imported olives.
The Grilled Marinated Lamb Rack served with sautéed spinach, feta potatoes gratin and whole grain mustard sauce was an outstanding entree! It was a large portion and was prepared medium rare just like we love it. Another great entrée choice is their Skewer Kebobs. We loved the Machka smoked paprika marinated beef kebob which had luscious grilled onions, grilled bell peppers, cilantro and was served over rice pilaf. This is a great option for a lighter entree.
The Wine List is well thought out and features some excellent California and International options. We were impressed at how focused and reasonably priced the selections were. We also appreciated that the wines by the glass are offered in both 5 oz. and 8 oz. pours. We enjoyed the crisp and fruity 2011 Ned Pinot Gris from Waihopai New Zealand with our starters and the spicy pinot like 2011 Kavaklidere “Yakut” Okuzgozu from Ankara Turkey with our entrees.
We saved room for dessert and enjoyed the Orange Blossom Panna Cotta with raspberry and strawberry coulis and candied orange strips, as well as a traditional Turkish dessert Kunefe. It is made with very thinly shredded filo dough, soft white cheese then fried and soaked in rose water syrup topped with pistachios and served with tasty maple ice cream. A Broadbent Reserve Port and a piping hot double Espresso were the perfect finish to our fabulous dinner. Machka is San Francisco’s new must go to restaurant and will be for years to come. The cuisine was excellent, the service was outstanding and the fun vibe makes you want to come back! We really enjoyed our dinner and look forward to returning soon.
By Carol & Joe Davis
584 Washington Street
San Francisco, CA. 94111