She’s a long way from Mersin, the large port city and her hometown in southern Turkey.
When Chef Nalan Ertane opened her Turkish restaurant in April, her goal was to spread the Turkish food and culture to a new town where it’s never been experienced. She decided downtown Eustis was the perfect place.
Nalan Sultan Mediterranean Grill serves authentic Turkish cuisine with housemade specialties from Ertane’s own recipes. Customer favorites include falafel, lamb adana, gyros, and beef shish. Entrees range in price from $11 to $16, appetizers range from $7 to $9, and all are made from scratch daily.
The dishes sampled were all fresh and full of flavor. The light and smooth hummus was served with fresh, soft pitas. Unlike the ubiquitous festival falafels, Nalan Sultan’s are moist and well-seasoned with green onions and parsley, and accompanied by cacik, the traditional cucumber yogurt sauce. Not to be overlooked is the light and smoky baba ghanoush, which was another favorite.
“When I was younger I always had a passion to cook,” said Ertane, “and I dreamed to have my little place in a small town with my family where we can serve authentic Turkish dishes to a new community.”
The casual restaurant is the second eatery the Ertane family has owned in Central Florida. The chef is joined at the restaurant by her son, who manages the business, and her daughter, a server.
Soon, the restaurant will undergo renovations to include a bar to serve Turkish beer and wine, and a belly dancer will entertain diners weekly. In the meantime, diners can opt for Turkish coffee and tea to complement the housemade desserts like baklava, rice pudding and revani.
In 2005, Ertane immigrated to New York City with her family and moved to Orlando the following year. They now think of the city as their home.
Nulan Sultan is located at 1 N. Eustis Street in downtown Eustis. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and closed on Sunday.
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