Truva is an exciting new restaurant and lounge that brings Mediterranean food and live entertainment to downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
Visitors to downtown Atlanta, Georgia can now enjoy tasty, if pricey, Mediterranean food at the relatively new Turkish restaurant, Truva. Truva has transformed an old Steak and Ale chain location into a sleek, attractive lounge and restaurant, featuring small and large plates and daily entertainment provided by bellydancers. While the service may have a few kinks to work out and not every dish is stellar, Truva still provides a wonderful change of pace from the standard chain restaurant fare that dominates downtown Atlanta’s dining choices.
I visited Truva for the first time while in Atlanta for the Dragon*Con 2010 convention. Knowing that tables would be in high demand for the weekend, I booked my Saturday night reservation in advance via Truva’s OpenTable page and was warmly greeted upon arrival by the hostess inside. Truva does provide outdoor seating on their patio as well, but with the heat of late summer upon the city we were glad to be seated indoors in a comfortable booth. The interior of Truva is very elegant and modern, giving off a sleek lounge vibe with its off-white walls, dark wooden bar and tables, and creative lighting. Their are two main dining rooms in the front, and a larger one in the back where buffet service can be offered. When we arrived, a bellydancer was already in the middle of a performance in one of the two front rooms, and soon made her way past the bar to perform for our side of the restaurant. It was a fun introduction to the establishment and set the exotic atmosphere beautifully.
Our waitress introduced herself and brought us menus with a quick warning: a large party of 80 people had also just been seated, so she urged us to try to get our orders in soon so that we would not be caught behind them. This note was appreciated, so we quickly selected a bottle of wine and made our choices from the list of hot and cold small plates, salads, flatbreads and large plates. Truva’s wine list features many interesting selections from around the world, with lots of choices in the $30-40 price range. Many traditional Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes are offered, including Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Falafel and Stuffed Cabbage to start, mostly in the $6-11 price range. Flat breads run $12-14 and include interesting options such as “Lahmacun” featuring ground lamb, onions and green peppers. For entrees, which are in the $14-29 range, there are many lamb options, kabobs, and a stuffed chicken breast with rice, currants and nuts which I wanted to try but unfortunately they were out of for the evening. Numerous vegetarian options are offered throughout the menu.
We ordered three plates to start and began to enjoy the lovely bottle of Malbec ($37) our waitress had suggested. No bread or pita was offered while we waited, which was a shame as it ended up taking nearly 45 minutes for our starters to arrive. The best of the three starters was the Etli Borek, two cigar-shaped meat pastries filled with lamb, beef and herbs ($7). The pastries were incredibly crispy and so flavorful I wished we’d ordered more of them.
The vegetarian stuffed grape leaves ($6) were fresh-tasting and light, but not overwhelming in flavor. Somewhat disappointing was my Mediterranean Salad ($11) as the artichokes tasted like they came from a can, I couldn’t detect any of the promised fresh dill, and the rest was a fairly standard mixed green salad in balsamic vinaigrette. I had hoped for something more exciting but was craving fresh greens after a long weekend of convention food, otherwise I probably would not have ordered the salad in the first place and definitely wouldn’t order it again.
Entrees did not take quite as long to arrive, which was good as by this point – it was nearly 9:30 pm after we’d arrived at 8:00 pm – I was ravenously hungry. I had ordered a halibut special of the night ($21), featuring a halibut filet pan roasted with potatoes and broccolini. The halibut was delicious and the light red pepper coulis it came with was delicate enough not to overwhelm the subtle flavor of the fish. Side vegetables were adequate in preparation, if not exceptionally memorable.
My companion ordered the lamb chops ($29), which came highly recommended by our server and did indeed live up to her praise. Four extremely large chops towered over a mound of spinach and potatoes, and their flavor was unique and not at all gamey after a long, spice-infused marinade.
We shared a simple yet tasty dessert of rice pudding to cleanse the palette after our meal, and two cups of thick, dense Turkish coffee. I also ordered a grappa, my aperitif of choice, which was of excellent quality and an extremely generous pour at $14 – about twice the size of the typical serving of grappa I’m used to receiving in restaurants.
Our total bill for the evening at Truva was just under $150 before tip. This amount is certainly on the high side, especially as the only two dishes that really stood out as particularly memorable to me were the meat pastries and the lamb chops. However, we did enjoy a very nice bottle of wine with our meal, and four shows by the evening’s beautiful and talented belly dancer, including an amazing fire dance which had the entire restaurant captivated. At my companion’s urging she even called me up from my table at one point and gave me my first belly dancing lesson as well, which was a lot of fun. The staff, including the management, were extremely apologetic about the timing delays in our meal as this was their first year trying to deal with Dragon*Con crowds, and one can certainly understand how that could stress the kitchen staff unduly.
Overall, I would give Truva a solid recommendation for visitors to downtown Atlanta looking for a good, if not overly exciting, meal in an attractive environment with unique entertainment. I will likely return there next year when visiting for Dragon*Con, although I may stick to the meat dishes which seem to be much more the specialty of the house than many of the other options.
This review was originally published at Yahoo! Voices on September 10, 2010.