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Turkish restaurant dishes out authentic fare

Date Posted: 2006-11-02

The Turkish okanta Kelebek owner is from Nagoya, imainland Japan, but went to school here, married a local woman, and began working for an Okinawa restaurant group.

Kimihiko Koshida turned his love for both classical Japanese literature, which he studied at Ryukyu University, and food into a vocation as well. The lure of travel led him to Turkey during his academic days, where he fell in love with the cuisine.

After a stint learning the arts and crafts of cooking with Jimmy’s Restaurants, he began to dream of having his own restaurant on Okinawa. Turkish food was his choice, and he spent a year at Aichi Expo in mainland Japan to work with Turkish chefs at a Turkish restaurant to “get it all down right.” His dream became reality in August, when Turkish Lokanta Kelebek opened its doors in Nishihara. Lokanta means restaurant, and Koshida has worked to make everything authentic Turkish. The restaurant, for example, does not serve any pork dishes.

Kelebek specializes in Turkish shishkebab. The most popular shishkebab, made with rump meat, is ¥1,450. The beef is marinated overnight in a special Turkish sauce to absorb moisture and seasonings, then cooked. Koshida says it’s a real favorite with the ladies. Another specialty is grilled beef, Doner Kebab. The beef is cut to order, one order at a time, then topped with Turkish butter rice, for only ¥900.

The restaurant also offers sandwiches of pita bread and vegetables, together with doner kebab, for ¥450. The Isukendel Kebab, a house specialty, mixes Doner Kebab with tomato sauce blended with yogurt, for ¥1,350.

A tasty dessert is Dondorma, a sticky ice that’s both healthy and good tasting, for ¥350. The sticky ice is first put on a skewer, then yogurt is added. Kelebek also serves EFES, a Turkish beer.

The restaurant is open everyday except Wednesday. Lunch hours are 11:30am~3pm, with the last order at 2:30pm. Dinner hours are 6~11pm, with the last order at 10pm. A Doner Kebab with rice, salad, soup and Cay black tea is the daily lunch special, for ¥900. Dinner specialties are Lamb Shish Kebab for ¥1,450, Chicken Shish Kebab for ¥1,000, and Doner Kebab with Rice for ¥900.

The restaurant is located in Nishihara. To get there drive south on Hwy 330 to Nishihara Intersection and turn left. Continue until you come to a traffic light on top of a hill and turn left again. Continue down the hill until you see the red sign of Kelebek on your right.

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