Located on the Red Arrow Highway in Harbert, Michigan, Cafe Gulistan is in my top five favorite places to go for dinner in the region. Cafe Gulistan features a delicious Kurdish and Middle Eastern inspired menu filled with flavorful meat, seafood, pasta and vegetarian entrees.
The chef uses unique combinations of herbs, spices and fresh vegetables to create food that’s incredibly flavorful. Here are a few menu items to help you visualize the delicious flavor combinations and why you should take a drive to eat there:
My absolute favorite dish on the menu is the Ispanak. I’m not a vegetarian, but this vegetarian entree is incredible. It consists of crispy chickpea patties (almost like flat falafel) covered in sautéed mushrooms, onions, spinach and peppers and the most delicious garlic, mango, walnut coconut cream sauce ever. It’s served with Basmati rice flavored with fresh herbs and spices. I wish I had a photo to illustrate its beauty.
- The Shrimp Kebab is also super delicious. The jumbo shrimp are marinated in curry-lemon sauce and grilled. They’re then served over marinated seasonal vegetables, apricot chutney and the delicious seasoned Basamati rice.
- My husband’s favorite dish is the Chicken Dolma, which is stuffed chicken served over fettuccine noodles covered in a sun-dried tomato, garlic, alfredo sauce.
- My favorite chicken dish is the Antepli Yahnisi, which is marinated chicken breast chunks sautéed with onions, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, zucchini and potatoes over rice.
Entrees range in price from about $15-30. Don’t forget to pair your meal with an Efes, a Turkish beer, or one of the many Middle Eastern wines on the menu. All entrees are served with a basket of fluffy and delicious pita. In the summer, you can sit on the patio surrounded by lovely rose bushes.
Cafe Gulistan is about a 45 minute drive from South Bend. If you’re planning a visit, you may also want to check out Warren Dunes, some of the antique stores on Red Arrow Highway or in Three Oaks, and Greenbush Brewery or Journeyman Distillery for some post-dinner drinks. You could also see a movie at the Vickers. Make it a weekend and spend the night at the Lakeside Inn.
PS – If you’re wondering what my other top five favorite dinner restaurants are in the region, they’re Sunny’s Korean Restaurant and Patio, Rocky River Tap and Table, Venturi (Goshen) and Wheatberry (Buchanan) in no particular order.