My first exposure to Turkish food was when I studied abroad in France as a college student. There was a kebab shop in the center of Montpellier that we went to a few times for the cheap, but delicious kebap sandwiches. From then on, kebabs were my mental model for "Turkish food", and while the prevalence of kebab shops around Stuttgart doesn't do much to dispell this myth to the casual tourist, I've since come to appreciate the variety of Turkish food (or at least German Turkish food) thanks to Sultan Saray.
I've been to Sultan Saray on two occasions now and had a delicious meal both times. The rest of Stuttgart must agree with my tastes, because despite the fact that Sultan Saray has three different locations, I've found two of the three to be packed on most nights for dinner.
On my last visit, I went to the Rotebühlstraße location with a group of my husband's coworkers to say goodbye to one of them who is moving. Again, the restaurant was jam-packed with people, mostly because of several large parties. We decided to wait by the bar for a bit to see if a table would open soon, and sure enough, about 10 or so minutes later, part of a large party began to move. We quickly swooped in, and claimed one of the tables for ourselves.
It was rather late by this time and I was really hungry, so I started with the Schafskäse (sheep cheese) appetizer with olives, cucumbers, and salad. I really like Schafskäse, which is basically like a soft feta cheese, though I have to admit the appetizer portion was huge. I barely finished half of it before my entrée came out.
For my main meal, I ordered the Hackfleischspieß von Grill, which was listed as being a mix between ground lamb and beef, both of which I love. The Hackfleischspieß were less sausage-shaped than I'd imagined, but they were still delicious. They were two long, thin meat patties served on top of bits of bread in a tomato sauce and a mild garlic-yogurt sauce. Though the dish was advertised as scharf (hot), the spice was mild, but just right for the creamy yogurt sauce. I especially liked the crusty bread pieces with the tomato sauce, which added crunch and depth to the dish.
Matt ordered the Iskenderteller, which is a dish that our local kebab shop makes and which was basically the same as my dish, but with tender, spiced chicken instead. I have to say that even though I really like our kebab shop, Sultan Saray's fresh Iskenderteller was absolutely delicious.
Try as I might, I could not finish my meal. Between the appetizer, generous basket of crispy, fresh bread, and the salad that came with my entrée, there was just too much food for me to finish. Next time I'll certainly order less.
I would also like to return to try something from the vegetarian menu; it's rather extensive and includes several eggplant dishes (eggplant being one of my favorite vegetables). We also had a yummy German Lemberger, which is possibly the only red wine from the Baden-Württemberg region that's deep enough to satisfy my tastes. That said, I was intrigued by the many Turkish wines on list, and I would like to try some of them, as well.
Needless to say, I passed on dessert, but I did happily order a cup of apple tea. I first had Turkish apple tea on our honeymoon when we briefly stopped in Izmir to visit the Greek ruins at Ephesus (highly recommended) and see the artistry behind Turkish carpet weaving at a carpet factory. I was deeply impressed by the hospitality of the Turkish people as we were served tea and cake on our visit. We even haggled in a market for a set of glasses and apple tea to take home with us to remember the visit. I'm very sad that I didn't get a picture, but the apple tea at Sultan Saray was exactly what I remembered -- sweet, warm, and with a strong, but not overwhelming, taste of apple.
This makes two delicious meals that I've enjoyed at Sultan Saray, and I highly recommend them if you're looking for either some good Turkish food or for something new for dinner. I will briefly mention that the service was a bit slow, probably due to the many large parties there that night, and they only accepted cash for payment, so plan ahead.
Sultan Saray has three locations around Stuttgart: one at Rotebühlplatz, one at Marienplatz on Filderstraße, and one on Lautenschlagerstraße near the University (the location that I haven't tried). They are open every day of the week for lunch and dinner, but check their website for exact times.