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Asena Restaurant Brings Authentic Turkish Cuisine to Alameda

By Kelly Church

Serving authentic Turkish cuisine, Asena Restaurant is owned by Mustafa Yildirim in Alameda, CA. Yildirim said he grew up around "wonderful food" and his restaurant is a replication of that style of cuisine. After moving to the U.S. to obtain his MBA, he began working in his family's restaurant. Once he received his degree and married his wife, Yildirim opened Asena Restaurant with his business partner.

"We built it from the ground up and are proud of it, and of our long and successful history in Alameda," Yildirim said. "We want our patrons to feel like they have come into our home for a meal. We strive to be welcoming and warm."

Everything made in Asena Restaurant is made start to finish in house. The fish is bought fresh every day, and meats and vegetables are from high quality vendors. Yildirim's philosophy is that starting with the best, freshest ingredients every day makes a meal even better.

"I'm proud of everything that we make and especially so of our fresh pastas and raviolis," Yildirim said.

Pasta dishes include house-made gnocchi with porcini mushrooms and a fire-roasted bell pepper cream sauce; gulf prawns with homemade lemon fettucine and a lemon sauce; and Muscovy duck ravioli with an orange béchamel.

Other items on the menu include sandwiches, all served on flatbread with a small green salad. The eggplant sandwich highlights grilled eggplant, fire-roasted peppers, pickled onion, feta cheese and house-made pesto. The grilled steak sandwich also has caramelized onions, fontina cheese and a horseradish aioli.

"We also offer one of the most comprehensive wine lists of any restaurant of comparable size," Yildirim said. "And we've redone our craft beer menu to include some excellent new favorites, including a fantastic beer from Turkey."

Asena Restaurant has been in business for more than 20 years and continues to invest in the community not only by offering quality food, but also by donating money, time and services to schools, youth groups, churches and other organizations.

"When you own a business in a community, you owe a huge debt of gratitude towards the people that support you," Yildirim said. "We are extremely grateful for our patrons and their business. Additionally, as human beings working and living together in community, we are called to be responsive to our brothers and sisters in need."

To see Asena Restaurant's full menu, visit asenarestaurant.com.

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