We had supper last night at another one of our favorite restaurants in Kamakura, Arkadas (pronounced Ar ka dahsh... it's Turkish...). Saleh, the proprietor and cook, is originally from Istanbul, and married a Japanese woman a while back. He's been here for about 15 years or so, if I remember correctly, and has a thriving Turkish restaurant and sports bar just around the corner from Hase station (that's the one nearest to the Daibutsu, or 'Big Buddha.").Saleh's also a big football fan (the world kind, rather than American), and has jerseys, balls, and a game constantly on the plasma screen TV. If you like soccer, it's a great place to hang out.
Even with the sports theme, the place has a nice, romantic ambiance, and a view of the ocean. There is seating for couples and small groups, and Turkish kilims on the floor surprisingly complement the jerseys on the wall. A local socialite, Saleh regularly throws small celebrations, and a few times a month, he brings in belly dancers for authentic entertainment.
The best part by far is the food. Saleh uses all fresh ingredients, and has family in Turkey who send him spices and lemon infused salt on a regular basis. For regulars, like us, he's quick to make recommendations or whip up something special. Last night, he made a great salad that wasn't on the menu...just something special for us.
We were eating with friends who had never had Turkish food before, so Saleh dished up a small feast of multiple things to give them a good overview of the different types of food. Besides the aforementioned salad, we also had a combination tabbouleh, hummus, eggplant, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh bread. The main course was Iskander Kebab (like shwarma or gyro meat on top of pita bread and smothered in yogurt), and a mixed grill kebab set with lamb, beef and eggplant, and chicken. Everything was washed down with a couple of Efes Pilsen beers (for me and Harry), and rose hip juice for Melody and Catherine. After fresh baklava and Turkish coffee and tea, we lingered chatting before finally taking our leave.
If you ever get the chance, try it out. It's conveniently located to the Hase Train station and is a great stop after you've sampled the different temples around the area, such as Hase Kannon and the Daibutsu. Trust me. There's nothing like a refreshing Efes after walking around all day. For those who really want a taste of Turkey, ask for some raki, the traditional Turkish liquor. Its fiery anise taste is a bit like Sambuca, but distinctly different. Adding some water to it (the way it is drunk in Turkey) makes it look sort of like dirty dishwater, but moderates the heat just enough to make it an enjoyable digestivo or after dinner drink.
Here are the details. Click on the title above to go to the Arkadas website. It has pictures of the belly dancers...and food. And did I mention belly dancers?
Monday is closed(祝日の場合は営業)
〒248-0016 鎌倉市長谷2-16-15 サイトウビル２F
Translation: Saitowa Building, 2nd Floor, 2-16-15 Hase, Kamakura City, 248-0016 (post code); approximately 2 minute walk from the Hase Station.
Additional directions: Exit Hase station, turn left, and head toward the beach. At the stop light, turn right, and walk about 50 feet. Arkadas is the first small parking area on the right, just in front of a 2 story building. The restaurant is on the second floor.