Park Café & Bakery – 400 W New England Ave, Winter Park.
With just a short stroll from Park Avenue down New England Avenue, you can find yourself in the “Oasis” that is Hannibal Square. The area is steeped in history and a cornerstone of the foundation of Winter Park as a community. Over the past few years the area has become synonymous with great local owner operated “Niche” restaurants and a must visit for locals and tourists alike.
One of these great restaurants is the Park Café & Bakery, which has one of the most attractive “Al Fresco” dining” experiences in the whole of the Orlando area. The restaurant is the creation of owner operator Mehmet Gurkaynak who, with his family, established Park Cafe & Bakery in 1996. Of Turkish origin, Mehmet is proud to use only the finest of ingredients and traditional methods to produce exceptional Breads, Bagels, Turkish Pastry and Cookies. In addition, they have some of the most authentic Turkish Cuisine featuring the best Kebabs I have ever tasted.
The large patio area is lined with flower bins and fountains which creates a unique atmosphere and relaxing dining experience.
Service at Park Café is exceptional and our server took us through the menu carefully explaining not only the content of the Turkish dishes but also some of the culture they represent, which is vital for the uninitiated first time diner.
What we had to eat:
Eggs Soujouk – Two eggs baked in a traditional Turkish copper pan with slices of Soujouk sausage (Soujouk is a dry, spicy sausage) This was a really inventive presentation, the Soujouk was mildly spicy and blended perfectly with the eggs. This dish is a clear favorite with the regular diners at the Park Café.
Kofte Kebab – A Beef and Lamb Kebab marinated in Turkish spices and perfectly char-grilled, served with rice and salad. Many other Kebab variations are available including Chicken and Beef Shish Kebabs and can be paired with their amazing flatbreads or other traditional Turkish sides.
Mosaic Cake – A decadent but light chocolate cake made with chocolate and biscuit, plus other secret elements from Mehmet’s family recipe. Great with Turkish Coffee to end the meal.
Breakfast at the Park Café is an experience in itself with the Turkish breakfast platter, this authentic dish comprises of Black Olives, Green Olives, Jam, Honey, Nutella, Feta Cheese, Mozzarella, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Walnuts, Cream Cheese and Simit (Turkish Bagel) a veritable feast!
The name Park Café Bakery implies a breakfast style operation and indeed they really know how to offer a superb breakfast, but they are so much more. Their offer crosses all service sessions from breakfast through lunch and onto dinner, serving delightful authentic Turkish cuisine.
In fact, Mehmet tells us that due to the phenomenal success of his approach to Turkish Cuisine, he will be expanding the menu to include all the amazing and popular breakfast menu options of today but also to expand the lunch a dinner offerings in particular the Char Gilled Kebabs, which really have taken off.
Some minor alterations at the restaurant and a name change to “Mehmet’s on Hannibal Square “are likely very soon. We will of course keep you up to date as soon as we know more.
Mehmet can be found at his restaurant on most days and would be delighted to talk to you about his excellent Babaganush or homemade Tzatziki, he may even have just baked some ridiculously moist Lemon cake or a fresh batch of Borek, his passion is certainly reflected in the food he provides, stop by soon and get a true “Taste of Turkey”.