Pasha Mezze is one of my favorite restaurants in Norfolk. I recently had a wonderful opportunity to meet the owner/chef, Sibel Kaynak. I was immediately touched by her warmth and sweet nature. Originally from Turkey, she received a strong cooking foundation from her mother. With a passion for fresh food, Sibel got her start in business selling locally grown, organic produce out of her garage. Armed with unique recipes, fresh turkish spices, and local sustainable produce, she opened her first restaurant “Pasha Mezze” 10 years ago. An ardent believer of making everything from scratch (including vinegars), Sibel’s food philosophy truly impressed me and has much in common with the Taaza Table focus on fresh food.

Sibel has observed that vegan dishes have been increasing in demand consistently over the years.  This has prompted her to focus more on creating compelling Turkish vegan dishes using the freshest ingredients she can source including kale, beets, lentils, and exotic spices. Her popular Quinoa Cakes and Maiden Cakes can now be found in the fresh refrigerator section of Whole Foods and other grocers. While visiting Pasha, I had a wonderful opportunity to observe how the delicious Red Lentil Maiden Cakes are made in the kitchen. Filled with spices like cumin, turkish red chiles, mint, parsley and salt, these cakes are vegan delights.

Learning about Pasha’s dishes sure did built up my appetite and to my surprise, Sibel treated me to a special mezze platter along with Turkish tea. The Mezze platter included all my favorite mediterranean dishes: hummus, tabuleh, roasted eggplant, walnut dip, kale and beet salad, lentils, quinoa cake, and maiden cake. Wow!  It was delicious!

I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to meet Sibel and learn about her background. Thanks for everything Chef Sibel; I am looking forward to many more food indulgences at Pasha!!

When you next find yourself in the Ghent area of Norfolk, please do visit Pasha Mezze:

350 W. 22nd Street, #114, Norfolk, VA 23517