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Kilyos Fish & Grill

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KilyosFrom the outside, Kilyos Fish & Grill isn’t much to look at. Tucked in a somewhat ragged looking strip mall on Bustleton Ave., you’re likely to drive by it a few times before you notice the blue and yellow “Fish Grill” sign, with the anchor and ship wheels. But whatever you do, don’t give up because when you finally find it, you’ve reached the pearl at the center of a rocky oyster.

Fish & Grill is a BYO that offers simple, healthy Mediterranean Turkish cuisine. Named for Kilyos beach, a northern suburb of Istanbul, Fish & Grill’s nautical décor feels a bit like someplace you might find down the shore, though not quite as touristy. It attracts an older crowd and wouldn’t even be in contention as a hipster hangout; but if you’re looking to have some quality food and a relaxed conversation, this is your spot. The Canca family, who own and operate Fish & Grill, seem to really understand the value of people having a meal together. The dining room itself is spacious, with ample room between tables. So you can move comfortably and have at least semi-private conversations. And the wait staff is attentive, but not intrusive. We were there for nearly two hours and never felt rushed.

Fish & Grill’s menu includes a full array of traditional hot and cold appetizers, a few salads, and a couple of soups. As the name would suggest, the restaurant specializes in fresh, whole grilled fish—trout, red snapper, sea bass, dorado, and daily specials. If, however, you’re like me and a whole fish (with its head, tail, eyes, and all) is a bit too intimidating, there are salmon and shrimp options; and I’m told the owner will happily filet any of the whole fish if you ask. There are also beautiful lamb dishes and some tasty chicken plates.

We started with the cold appetizer platter, including an eggplant tomato salad, baba ganoush, hummus, ezme (diced veggies, with spices, olive oil, and lemon), and lebni (a homemade yogurt with veggies, walnuts, and spices). All of the salads were fresh and flavorful. I couldn’t keep my fork out of the eggplant tomato, which was chunky and tender. For the entrees, we chose the surf and turf (baby lamb chops with king shrimp), whole grilled branzino, and a pan-fried chicken dish. Everything was surprisingly light, focused on the freshness of the food, with only a delicate touch of oil and spice. The lamb, which I generally find heavy and greasy, was tender and cooked to perfection. The shrimp melted in my mouth. The fish was flakey and tasty, and the chicken was juicy and well cooked. Each meal came with rice and roasted seasonal vegetables (a squash/zucchini blend), which was lightly seasoned, tender but still crisp, and not heavy on the oil.

When it comes to dessert, stick to the traditional Turkish dishes and you won’t be disappointed (the baklava was quite good). On the other hand, the less traditional feta cheesecake and flourless chocolate cake were only so-so, nothing special, and actually a bit anticlimactic after such a delicious meal.

Finally, Fish & Grill’s prices are very reasonable, considering the quality and freshness of the food. Most entrees are between $12-$15, desserts and appetizers are about $5, and I didn’t see anything on the menu over $18 or $19.

Turkish restaurants in Philly are few and far between. Lucky for us, the handful we do have are pretty darned good, and Kilyos Fish & Grill is definitely one of them. I suggest you make your way out to Bustleton the next time you’re craving some really good hummus or a melt-in-your-mouth piece of fish. Just remember to keep your eyes peeled.

 

 

 

Address: 

Kilyos Fish & Grill

9825 Bustleton Ave.

Philadelphia, PA 19115

(215) 677-2224

www.kilyosfishgrill.com

Hours: 

Monday: closed

Tuesday: 4:00pm - 9:00pm

Wednesday & Thursday: 11:00am - 9:00pm

Friday & Saturday: 11:00am - 10:00pm

Sunday: 1:00pm - 8:00pm

 

Cards accepted