Restaurant Review: Pera Wine & Tapas

Inventive dishes in a corner of the city not known for great dining options.

Don’t you love it when a unique mom-and-pop restaurant opens in your neighborhood and it becomes a great new place to hang out? That’s exactly what Pera Wine & Tapas has added to the previously lackluster choices at the intersection of Belt Line and Preston roads. It’s a casual spinoff of chef-owner Habip Kargin’s successful Pera Turkish Kitchen, located in an old Taco Bueno just a few miles north on Preston. The vibe is dive-y in the good sense of the word, and the menu is full of inventive tapas and unusual wines. There are three lists of tapas to choose from: $6, $8, and $14. Start with the roasted butternut squash soup finished with a swirl of cinnamon-scented cream. It is a delicious way to spend $6. So is a plate filled with grilled asparagus topped with a poached egg. Pair them with a glass of Turkish wine such as the fresh, light-colored Cankaya, made from four grapes that grow in the northern Anatolia region. The kitchen offers familiar items such as hummus, calamari, and seared quail, but I urge you to stray from the usual and indulge in the exotic Turkish pastrami served with creamy mozzarella and red peppers. Any server can pair the wine. What neighborhood wouldn’t want to have that service just around the corner?

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