Turkish Food, Beer & Wine Fine Dining In Carmel-By-The-Sea
When you travel – particularly in California – you get a lot of the usual kinds of restaurants.
There’s Italian, Mexican, Chinese, etc. So when I encounter something different, I like to jump on it.
Case in point: Artemis Turkish Kitchen in Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA.
First off all, I was excited to see if they had any Turkish beers and Turkish wines. I’ve never had either but the chance to try each would add to my worldly travel knowledge. This is important when in the company of other travelers, especially in establishing bragging rights with other well-traveled bloggers (“why yes, I’ve had beer and wines from Turkey”).
They did, one beer and several wines. And let me say that the beer was very good; it was a Pilsner, not too light and good tasting with just a slight bite of that Euro-beer after taste.
The wines had a taste that was hard to identify – a tad on the harsh side that took the palate a few sips to adjust to – and one sensational red, a Sirah and Merlot blend. The kindly server allowed me to sample three of them before I settled on one red.
While I have never been to Turkey or dined in a Turkish restaurant, the menu was quite familiar. It looked Greek! I’ve been to Greece many times so I jumped on the dolmades appetizer.
“Oh, but it’s from Turkey!,” the waitress explained when I mentioned it looked Greek to me.
The dolmades tasted familiar but had Turkish instead of Greek ingredients and seasoning, which made them both familiar and different. Perfect. Dolma, by the way, is from the Turkish word dolmak, which means “to be stuffed.”
For the entree, the waitress recommended the lamb. That’s a signature item in Turkey, she explained. That night, there was a lamb shank special so ordering it seemed like a no-brainer. Good choice.
I did not even have to take the first bite to confirm this; all I had to do was stick the fork into the meat and it collapsed like a tired puppy in the arms of its owner.
It was topped with a carrot-led medley and a scoop of rice, but all of that was an afterthought to the outstanding flavor of the tender meat. I did not eat this dish quickly; rather, I took my time to fully take in and appreciate every tasty bite.
Almost as a bonus, they bring out their own bread (delicious), served with vinegar and olive oil.
Beyond the food, I enjoyed the place. With only a dozen tables, it’s small, like many restaurants in Carmel. And while it’s on the town’s main street, Ocean Ave., it’s not one of the super-busy, clanking-forks and loud conversation places.
Instead, it’s subtle and quiet, with Turkish and Euro music playing lightly in the background. It’s the kind of place you go to savor and enjoy the dining experience, not to rush in and rush out of as if on a mission.
In a town full of great restaurants, Artemis provides a different kind of dining experience, and a very good one.
Artemis Turkish Kitchen Carmel Restaurant Details
Location: Ocean Ave., & Mission Street, south side, a couple businesses west of the corner.
Phone: (831) 574-8991
Menu: Lamb, seafood pasta & moussaka. Turkish beer & wines. Prices: $10 appetizers, $20-30 entrees.