Shop Talk: Anatolian Kitchen gets TV chef; a look at Vina Enoteca

News about restaurants new and old in Palo Alto

In this week's Shop Talk column, Daryl Savage takes a closer look at new Italian restaurant Vina Enoteca, and talks to the owner of Anatolian Kitchen about his recent culinary coup: a new chef straight from Turkey.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS? ... Mix together three young children; blend in two restaurants, one old, one new; add a heaping 80-hour work week, and that is the recipe for the current life of 35-year-old Rocco Scordella. As co-owner of the month-old Vina Enoteca, along with the already-established Tootsies, the little Italian cafe next door, Scordella's ubiquitous presence in the restaurant, along with his excitement, cannot go unnoticed. "We don't sleep much," said Scordella, referring to both him and his wife, Shannon, who is his business partner in the two restaurants. Vina Enoteca, at 700 Welch Road in the Stanford Barn, bares little resemblance to its former occupant, California Cafe. A nearly three-year, top-to-bottom renovation has transformed the 7,200-square-foot-space into a work of art. Minimally but elegantly decorated, the restaurant has what Scordella calls a "rustic, modern look." During the massive remodel, the second floor was removed to create a spacious, airy look, complemented by floor-to-ceiling windows. A 40-foot-long, red-brick wall, built in 1886, separates the dining area from the bar, and is a stark reminder of the rich history of the building, which is classified as an historic landmark. "The brick wall is part of the original Stanford family farm. You can still see where the windows were," he said.

Serving authentic Italian, farm-to-table cuisine in a palatial atmosphere is what separates Vina Enoteca from other restaurants in the area, according to Scordella. "We're more upscale than most other Italian places and our customers feel like they're getting quality dishes. Plus, everything is made in-house." Pointing to several viewing windows into the kitchen, he said, "Our specialty is fresh pasta and you can watch it being made." And beginning in 2017, the restaurant will begin serving Sunday brunch. Scordella also has plans for the adjacent Tootsie's. "It's been about 10 years since we opened there so it's time to revive and refresh. We'll start remodeling sometime next year. It will still be a sandwich shop but we're going to expand on our baked goods," he said. The scant, 680-square-footage of Tootsie's will remain the same, according to Scordella, "but we are able to free up space for our lunch and catering now that we have a full production bakery in Vina Enoteca."

TV CHEF COMES TO ANATOLIAN KITCHEN ... Anatolian Kitchen, the Turkish restaurant at 2323 Birch St. in Palo Alto, just got a little more authentic. As the restaurant enters its seventh year, owner Dino Tekdemir has scored big time. He was able to snag one of Istanbul's most renowned chefs. Labeled in his country as a distinguished chef and Turkish TV personality, Korhan Buyuksuda, whom Tekdemir describes as a "bigger-than-life personality," arrived at Anatolian Kitchen this week. It is there that the new chef is creating a special menu for the restaurant, featuring "Old World Ottoman cuisine, techniques and flavors," Tekdemir said. "The dishes he will be making are very unique with the use and mixture of exotic spices. We will be upscaling our menu with traditional Ottoman food that evolved along the historic spice roads crisscrossing historical Ottoman Turkey."

It wasn't easy for Buyuksuda to get to the U.S. from Turkey. "We had to hire immigration lawyers. There was lots of paperwork. And it cost a lot of money and time too. It took a full year to get him here," Tekdemir said.

In the meantime, Tekdemir is actively searching for a second location for Anatolian Kitchen. The intent is that the new chef will eventually work in the new restaurant. Tekdemir is hopeful he will find a space in Palo Alto, but has now extended his search throughout the Bay Area. "So he (Buyuksuda) is living with us for now, but depending on where I find a new spot for the next restaurant, that's where he will move to," Tekdemir said. Buyuksuda is familiar with American culture and language because he attended culinary school in the U.S, according to Tekdemir. Since that time, he has worked at several high-end hotels in Istanbul as an executive chef and had his own TV cooking show in his native Turkey. Said Tekdemir, "We're very excited everything has worked out and he's finally here. Finally."

Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? Daryl Savage will check them out. Email

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3 people like this
Posted by Mama
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Mama is a registered user.

I've tried Vino Enoteca. Food was delicious but very pricey for what you get. I came away hungry after one lunch. Had ordered a salad and pasta dish. The pasta was $22! Delicious but a VERY small portion.

3 people like this
Posted by Abigail
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 15, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Vino Enoteca is Extremely pricy. Who wants to spend $50 for lunch?

I wish they had simple dishes not pricy for the staff who works around and for the patients/families who are trying to get some lunch when they are around at Lucile Packard Children's Hospiral or Stanford Hospital.
There aren't enough options around and everyone hoped theirs will be the one.

Wonder how long will they exist with this attitude.

Like this comment
Posted by Rocco Sordella
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 31, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Hello Mama and Abigail,
thank you for your feedback.
We are currently working on bringing a prix fix menu for lunch for a quicker service and more reasonable price.We are shooting to stay below 30$.
We totally understand the concern on spending 50$ for lunch, we do proudly use the freshest ingredients around and all the pasta is made in the house which comes with a high labor cost.
Also starting this monday we will start our Happy Hour from 4until 6 with great drinks and bar snacks.

Hope to see you soon

2 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 10, 2017 at 2:29 pm

We very much liked the food as well on our first visit but were caught off guard by the prices. We'd love to go back, but we see your restaurant as not a "go to" restaurant, but more of a special occasion restaurant. There are lots of restaurants in San Francisco and in this area where they make their own fresh pasta and don't charge these prices.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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