Home Cookin'
    
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#31
Posted October 27th 2009, 9:29am
I'm amazed at how much bad American music I'm hearing. In the Roman Cistern? Eerie looking underground water facility - columns half under water, fish swimming around in the dark, medusa's heads, and Barry Manilow?

Today we started with coffee and Simit, the round bagle-esque breakfast food everyone seems to be eating on the run (a very few are drinking take-away coffee on the train to work, but many are chewing away on simit purchased from official simit vendors in red carts). Then we did a street food tour with the Turkish Culinary Institute, starting with more simit, moving on to fresh juice, then kokoreç - sheep insides (intestine wrapped around sweetbread, stomach, fat), grilled, then chopped up with pepper, tomato, cumin - cooked again then put on bread. It was good, though I wouldn't want a lot of it (I'm not an offal fan).

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kokoreç

Then çiğ köfte - minced raw meat kofte, without any actual meat (they really can't run around serving raw meat on unrefrig. carts, and it's illegal to do so).

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çiğ köfte

We had the toasted chestnuts on Istikial street, then we had icli köfte - fried meat inside a bulgar and meat shell kofte. Fried mussels and mussels with shells stuffed with rice pilaf. Another stop for chopped sheep head salad (no brains) and beers, then turkish coffee and candies. I'm pretty sure we won't need dinner tonight.

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Ingredients for Chopped Sheep Head Salad

I'm not sure I would have had the courage to eat some of these alone, since I wouldn't even know what it was, and most of these guys didn't speak English, and a few of them weren't licensed (sanitary, and good tasting, but not taxed and stamped).

Edited to add photos, etc
Last edited by leek on October 27th 2009, 10:19am, edited 6 times in total.
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Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
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#32
Posted October 27th 2009, 9:45am
Simit - the Turkish Bagel

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As leek says, they're very popular - and easily found being sold by street vendors. Yes, it was a delight not to be in the company of hordes of people riding public transportation, clutching their tumblers of Starbucks or other coffees. :twisted:
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#33
Posted October 27th 2009, 4:26pm
Tonight, we did manage dinner :)

Fine but forgettable food at one of Istanbul's older restaurants (Hacı Abdullah since 1188 or so) - then a nice dessert and coffee at Sütiş Kebap Dünyası ( İstiklal Caddesi No:13 ) . Lots of servings of Iskender Kebap going out. There was a guy in the back making thin pita bread by hand. Looked like a place we could come to and eat a meal at.

We had the Künefe and Ayva (Quince). Things are very well known, and seasonal - like here, quince is widely available only in the fall. Sure, you might can it, but fresh, and cooked with a lot of sugar, served just like that - only in the fall.

Afterwards we had a good time (and a beer) listening to music sitting outside at Cafe Turco - there are plenty of places like it along the side streets off İstiklal, close to the University, a guy playing guitar, people singing along, young girls and their young men admiring them, ah soulful glances :)

Sütiş Kebap Dünyası
İstiklal Caddesi No:13

Hacı Abdullah
Ağa Camii Atıf Yılmaz Caddesi 9a,
Beyoğlu, Taksim, Istanbul
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Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#34
Posted October 27th 2009, 4:44pm
Leek, I'm so glad that you bumped this thread with more information! I'd been meaning to find a window of time and sit down and read the whole thing through...unfortunately, windows are coming few and far between these days, but now I have even more that I'm excited to read about and will do so ASAP.
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#35
Posted October 28th 2009, 10:36am
Today we had lunch at Restaurant Kasap Osman mentioned upthread. Very nice guys, and good food. Worth the trek, and better than the sad dinner we paid a lot more for last night!

I'm not sure where we're going for dinner, but I'm kind of in the mood for a Pide with gyros meat (which still might not qualify as sausage pizza...) or maybe some manti :)
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Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#36
Posted October 30th 2009, 1:42am
Thursday was Republic Day, and a big national holiday, so Wed. night everyone was out to dinner and we ended up just having a meal where we could find seats! The first place we tried was out of everything (it is small, we'll try back tonight or Sat) the next 2 had no seats.

We still got quince for dessert though (at Sütiş fancier spot, also good, just two doors further up on İstiklal Caddesi - much more like a tea salon than a kebap place). Quince is, in fact, just this color when cooked. That's kaymak, a sort of clotted cream made from water buffalo milk, on top.

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Thurs we did the cruise along the Bosporus. The end stop is as Bill described, the walk up the hill to the castle is definitely worth it, and there are more restaurants up the hill (not sure if they are better or worse, but they have a different view).

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View looking back toward Istanbul

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Where the Black Sea meets the Bosporus

Thurs night we ate at the restaurant in our hotel, Mikla, mostly for the view of the fireworks. The food was good, an upscale take on Turkish food, given a modern spin. Very tasty, and nice to not have to wander around in the rain after dinner :) Plus gorgeous views. The fireworks were very cool over the Bosporus and had a light show as well - big searchlights waving all over the place off the bridge.

Mikla Restaurant
Meşrutiyet Caddesi, The Marmara Pera, Beyoğlu
Last edited by leek on October 31st 2009, 2:18pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#37
Posted October 30th 2009, 10:29am
You guys probably think we are doing nothing but eat! But we've visited the Istanbul Biennial art expo (held in odd years, and art that is also... odd) and several museums. If you go here, you must see the Mosaic museum. It's just amazing - they found this mosaic floor dating from the time of the Emperor Justinian, and you can see it in place.

We also did the museums near Topkapi palace - Archaeology and such. Just amazing things - of course the benefits of being the capitol of an empire for a really long time is the ability to commandeer all the best relics for your museums.

Of course, we did eat :) Having Borek for breakfast the past few days, and today we got to a little fish shop recommended by Istanbul Eats for lunch.

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We were going to get hamsi, fresh anchovies, but decided on larger fish and had simple and perfectly grilled sea bass and sea bream, and a seasonal salad. Yum! I'd def. recommend going here instead of over in the fish market - but beware, Wed. night they were nearly out of everything at 8:30 pm. It's a 2-table, 2-person operation.

Fürreya
Serdar-i Ekrem Sok. 2, Beyoglu (Kuledibi)
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Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#38
Posted October 30th 2009, 3:54pm
leek wrote:Having Borek for breakfast the past few days, and today we got to a little fish shop recommended by Istanbul Eats for lunch.

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We were going to get hamsi, fresh anchovies, but decided on larger fish and had simple and perfectly grilled sea bass and sea bream, and a seasonal salad. Yum! I'd def. recommend going here instead of over in the fish market - but beware, Wed. night they were nearly out of everything at 8:30 pm. It's a 2-table, 2-person operation.

Leek, good report(s). Furreya was a restaurant I made a special trip to (from Sultanahmet) only to be told when I got there that most of what was on the menu was unavailable. I didn't risk it again. Gald you liked it. That Istanbul Eats website is full of excellent suggestions.
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#39
Posted October 31st 2009, 8:48am
Last night (Friday) was crazytown at all the restaurants. A holiday weekend so very very busy. Hint - if you want to eat at a particular place, especially if it's well known, popular, or in a popular area, make a reservation a day in advance, or even earlier in the day - especially if it's a holiday or weekend.

We did not. However we were able to find a place to eat, we were back at Refik mentioned upthread. Good food, but we were seated in a less-than-desirable location, and at the tourist table :) Which was fine, we had a nice conversation with the Swedish folk next to us, and recognized the German folk from dinner at another place a few nights back. Dinner was good again, especially the stuffed cabbage dolmas.

Lunch today was at Helvetia, a nice cozy place run by a bunch of young people. Afterwards we found out that they had won an award for Home Cooking from Time Out Istanbul, but reviews are mixed. We liked it fine. It's a typical place where you pick out the things you want from the "menu" which is just a bunch of dishes set out with examples. Mostly veggie, but some meat too. The soup seemed well received. The dishes definitely tasted homey and good. It wasn't the typical dishes we've seen at the drinking places around, the owners are supposed to be from the Black Sea region and the food is supposed to reflect that.

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Helvetia

Helvetia
General Yazgan Sokak 8a,
Asmalı Mescit, Tünel, Beyoğlu

We did make a dinner reservation for tonight, though it was much calmer, maybe due to the rain. We ate at Yakup. It is close by and was recommended by one of the hotel desk clerks. Very good, and while we weren't the only tourists, like most of the restaurants over here in Beyoğlu, it wasn't mostly tourists. It's a traditional place to have conversation and Meze and Raki. The food was good, the atmosphere was lots of fun as well. There was one guy sort of holding court, I think he might have been the owner. He was greeting people, and had a larger-than-life sort of way about him. A cat wandered in, it was not a good night to be a cat or dog out on the street - poor things just standing around looking pitiful!

That's our last meal here in Istanbul, other than a coffee and simit in the morning before our flight.

Yakup
Asmalımescit Sok. No:35/37 Tünel
_______________________________________

Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#40
Posted November 2nd 2009, 8:05pm
I'm enjoying this thread so much. It brings back memories of my only visit to Turkey many years ago. I particularly remember the cigari at breakfast, a dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce with cracked wheat, and some gondola-type boats on the
Bosporus offering grilled fish near a major city bridge. Perhaps it is time for another visit. I wonder when spring begins there, and if tulips are still the rage. Did anyone posting here get a taste of the stretchy orchid ice cream?
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Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
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#41
Posted January 17th 2010, 3:40pm
We are just back a few days ago from two weeks in Turkey, finally over the jet lag, and ready to share a few of our culinary adventures. It'll take more than one post to cover what we ate, but I want to start by thanking Bill and others at LTH for enhancing our food experience in Istanbul! And to say that no one who reads LTHForum should even think about going to Istanbul without eating at Ciya Sofrasi. Which we most certainly never would have gone to without Bill's description, and it was some of the best food we ate.

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I'll come back and say more after I upload a few more photos to Flickr and see if this photo posts as intended (it's my first photo).
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#42
Posted January 18th 2010, 1:58pm
I dove into the middle of our trip by posting the Çiya Sofrasi photo, since we didn't get there until near the end of our trip, but chronological order is overrated (and probably impossible if not irrelevant at this point) so let me continue.

We went to Çiya Sofrasi because Bill said it had the reputation of being the best restaurant in Istanbul, and Bill gave it a good report, and we wanted to explore the Asian side of Istanbul, and needed a destination. We walked ten minutes from our hotel to the tram, which we took to the ferry at Kariköy, and thence across the Bosphorus to Kadiköy, which is indeed (as Bill said) bustling and busy and obviously the real city, as opposed to a tourist area. Then I realized that I hadn't brought the good map, and our guidebook considers Kadiköy so off the track that it has no map whatsoever. Which direction to go? I mentally gave up on Çiya, and we just walked around. Bill said he wandered around markets selling fish, so when we saw fresh fish, I thought that was a good sign, and suddenly, there was Çiya Sofrasi, not looking at all like the mental image I had formed.

Alerted by Bill, we knew to expect self-service, but the waiter was also very helpful. We took a seat on the second floor, with an excellent view of the street below. Mezes are set out like a salad bar (right by the front door), which is how all mezes should be served, where you can see them and choose. They are sold by weight... and we all made complete pigs of ourselves.

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I'm a little embarrassed to insert this photo of a plate of half-eaten mezes; some people would think it looks a little gross. :shock: :oops: Now that I think about it, I had the perfect excuse to go back and get another plateful... :D Clockwise from the dolma: The dolma was very good, but not (in this company) terribly memorable; the salad next to it (not much remaining) was my personal favorite, pomegranate seeds, tomato, onion, parsley, and several other elements (why did I not take notes?), that was simply stunning, a brilliant combination of ingredients I would never have thought to put together, nor have I ever had anything remotely like it; greens like arugula, lightly dressed; a stuffed roasted pepper (I traded this away for more of the pomegranate salad, so I don't know what was in it); a very delicious mix of chopped olives, some kind of grain, onion, hot pepper, and greens and fresh herbs; and another meze based on a mix of totally unidentifiable greens and herbs. Every market we were at in Turkey had greens that we did not recognize, and Musa Dagdeviren (the chef) specializes in greens and herbs from the countryside that are not commercially available, so the variety here was even wider. (I suggest greens as the "next big thing" in American cuisine; the variety of flavors was outstanding, most are probably easily grown in small gardens or even pots (can't get any more local), and most probably they are all chock full of vitamins.)

After filling your plate with mezes (and having it weighed :oops: , and receiving a slip of paper with the cost -- the plate in the photo was 6 lira, or less than $4, when it was full), you step to the other side of the door and choose your main dish. Very sorry I did not get a photo of this. About a dozen or so large pots were arranged together (presumably on a stove that was keeping them warm, but the surface was totally covered, so I didn't see it), and a waiter/chef (?) listed off for you more or less what was in each pot, in fairly broken English. You then pointed out which one you wanted, and it was brought to your table by the waiter. Everything was more or less stew/soupish.

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This is what I had, and I might very well want it for my last meal before I die. Lamb and potatoes in a yogurt broth, with lemon and herbs and just simply one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. The broth had a depth and complexity of flavor that... well, I'm running out of superlatives.

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One son chose this, a lamb stew with onions, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, and yogurt.

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My husband had a lamb stew with okra, garbanzos, tomato, and peppers.

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The other son chose this, which the menu says is "Lamb casing stuffed with bulgur, onion, spices and lamb." He was not enthusiastic about it; I didn't try it -- I believe what happened is that my own dish was so incredibly delicious I kind of hunkered over it and and couldn't imagine anything tasting any better, so why try?

(In the future I will try to remember to take photos before things are half-eaten...)

Dessert was fine not very memorable, a piece of candied pumpkin and a piece of candied citrus. There were other desserts on the menu; we didn't have the guts to try "Walnut Dessert: green walnut shell is processed with limestone" which seemed to have lost something in the translation.

About now, we were saying, who is this chef? What is the restaurant we are eating in? What exactly is going on here? Is this food really Turkish?

The answer in the next post.
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#43
Posted January 18th 2010, 3:17pm
As the waiter brought our check, he also handed us a little booklet about Çiya Sofrasi and Musa Dagdeviren, the chef.
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Dagdeviren is cooking Turkish regional cuisine, with his own twist; finding old recipes and local specialties, and then building on them. Turkey is a large country, with many distinct regions and influences.

The booklet goes on for about 20 pages (half print, half photos); I could post more of it if desired, but now that I have found the link, below, I think most of the information is on the website.

http://www.ciya.com.tr/index_en.php?

The link includes menus (not always translated), photos of food (not half-eaten), and even a map that comes up under the contact link. I believe the name tabbed to the right after each item on the menu is the city or region it is from. What I most want to know, of course, is the names of all the greens and herbs, but that does not seem to be included, and I'm guessing, would be in Turkish and not necessarily translatable, anyway.

The next night was our last in Istanbul, and the dinner that we most wanted to repeat was Çiya (the cedilla by the way means that it is pronounced "cheeya"). We considered it well worth the walk to the tram, the tram to the ferry, and the ferry to Asia (tram, 1.5 lira, ferry at most 2 lira, thus the roundtrip, about $4.50 - public transit in Istanbul is great). They comped us some little glasses of blackberry juice, with was very tasty; we think they recognized us (or maybe it was just because we heaped our plates so high with mezes). When two of us ordered Turkish coffee after dinner, they brought the other two complementary ginger and cinnamon tea with ground hazelnuts floating on top.

The second night, when we ate on the first floor, I noticed framed copies of articles from Bon Apetit, etc., on the wall. But I would not say that this felt like a fancy place, or like the kind of place that would hand out a little bio book on the chef. It simply felt like a place where really good, adventurous food was prepared and served in a reasonably comfortable setting and a very reasonable price. All four of us ate for about $60, including a plate each of mezes, a main dish, two desserts to share, and two Turkish coffees. Very inexpensive, considering the quality.

Across the street are two other restaurants owned by the same chef, Çiya Kebap and one other. These we saved for next time.

Next door to Çiya Sofrasi, for those who are as obsessed with books as with food, is the best bookstore we found in Istanbul (best meaning, best English selection at the best prices (books can be very pricey in Turkey)) -- a used bookstore, just to the left, as you are facing the restaurant. Be sure to check out the basement.
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#44
Posted January 18th 2010, 10:12pm
The second most interesting place we ate, after Çiya Sofrasi, was this place, whose name I am just discovering as I check it out on Istanbul Eats:
http://istanbuleats.com/2009/08/dogu-turkistan-vakfi-as-evi-east-meets-east/

Dogu Türkistan Vakfi Aş Evi (or East Turkistan Foundation Food House) makes Deeta's look upscale; I really wish I had had my camera, as this place had character as well as great food. One of my sons found it, from something either Bill or Leek said, and then some research on Istanbul Eats, and decided that we should go there one night when we needed something a little different. The boys wanted to walk, but I insisted on a cab because we were heading to a neighborhood we didn't know, after dark. Well. If not for the cab driver, we would never have found the place. As Istanbul Eats notes, it is in the courtyard of an old madrassa; what Istanbul Eats does not say is that the street is little more than an alley and there is no sign whatsoever.

We had learned by this point to write out an address and hand it to the cab driver; he set off, then indicated that he didn't quite know where he was going (indicated through gestures and a few words; he didn't speak English). The website says "Eminonu" which is a neighborhood we knew we had been to and not that far away, but apparently it is a rather sprawling area. No matter, we had brought the phone number! Cab driver called on his cell, and proceeded to have a long conversation, with lots of "evet, evet" and "tamam, tamam" (yes, yes, ok, ok) and then got off the phone and said, in English, "Blah, blah, blah, no directions." So he drove to where he thought it was, and hopped out, and asked some people on the street. Hopped back in, and drove us into two progressively smaller alleys. We're looking at each other, is this right? Then the cab backs out of the alleys and back to the street, driver hops out again, asks the people on the corner, indicates we should get out, and walks to an unmarked door in an undistinguished wall along the first alley, opens the door, and strides into a large courtyard. While the cab driver was rousting a janitor in one wing, my sons saw a lighted door and proceeded another way. Yeah, okay...really? Well, the lighted door was the entrance, they were obviously happy to see us, and welcomed us into.. a very small series of three rooms, each with exactly two tables, furnished in student style.

Menu, we gesture? No, they gesture. What to eat, we ask? Lagman and manti, they say. Just what we wanted! Tea arrived, and while we were sipping it and waiting, a young man arrived who spoke only slightly broken English. Probably he had just finished his dinner in another room; he was a student at the nearby university, asked to translate, happy to practice his English. He was a delightful dinner companion, and told us all about the restaurant -- primarily for homesick Uighur students at the university, of whom there are many. Turkey is happy to welcome Uighurs as fellow Turkic Muslims; it's easy to get a visa, Turkish is easy to learn (but you have to pass a language test before you can get a job), and there is a sizeable community that has fled China. He wanted to know about the US: was H1N1 as terrible as the Chinese media said?

The food was all made fresh on the premises, and very delicious. There is a description if you follow the link to Istanbul Eats, above, and I don't think I can add anything substantial. The lagman was mildly spiced, and very good. The manti were large - two or three times the size of Chinese potstickers - stuffed with lamb and onion, and came with red pepper, yogurt, and vinegar to put on top. Delicious. The bill for four of us was perhaps about $20, if that.

Before we left, two students in the next room who were the only other patrons at that hour began playing music on a couple of Uighur instruments.

Our new student friend walked us to the main street to help us get a cab, which was a good thing, because none of the cabbies in the area spoke any English, and we had quite a time conveying, even with the student-translator, where we wanted to go. (This was not typical, though if we had language trouble anywhere, it was with cabbies.)

Excellent food, interesting cultural exchange, and I am so pleased to have sons who hunt up this type of place and consider it a high point of the trip.
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#45
Posted July 14th 2010, 2:59am
Leek,

Thanks for the kind words on our site, istanbuleats.com
As you noted in your post, DTVAE is tricky to find. We'll be upgrading all of our posts with maps in the coming weeks so please stay tuned.
If you ever make it back to Istanbul, you'll have to make it out to Sutluce, Istanbul's answer to Back of the Yards, for a grilled sweetbread sandwich.
As a Chicago native, I am constantly craving Mexican food. And there is none to be found here. But in a pinch I close my eyes and bite into a tantuni, thin spicy wrap of fried beef bits and peppers, in Karakoy and am momentarily transported back to the taco stands at the new Maxwell Street market (is that even there anymore?) or some of the spots I used to frequent on the Eastside.
Istanbul is a grazing paradise and it is unfortunate that the almighty tourism industry dictates that foreign visitors must eat mediocre overpriced kebab, while locals get to gorge on all things delicious. I am glad our site helped you find a few good bites despite it all.
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GNR Sultan
#46
Posted January 6th 2011, 3:52pm
To prepare for İstanbul, I read through almost all of Istanbul Eats. I have to say their recommendations were very good for the most part.

Here’s a rundown of the places I visited in İstanbul. First, some breakfast joints.

Van Kahvaltı Evi
Pictured: Breakfast spread
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It’s hard for me to give Van Kahvaltı Evi a fair shake because I had so many great breakfast spreads on my trip to Turkey. Compared to the variety of cheeses, olives, jellies, fruits and vegetables I had at my relatives’ houses, the spread at VKE seemed a little weak. The cheeses and jellies were high quality, but there just wasn’t very much to go around. The gözleme was crispy and light, and the sesame bread was nice and soft, so clearly the kitchen takes pride in putting out a quality product. The individual ingredients were all better than what I was served at hotels, but lacked the abundance and variety that I usually associate with a true Turkish breakfast. I suppose I’d recommend this to someone who’s looking to see how good the individual components of a Turkish breakfast can be, but I think the hotel breakfasts (which were free almost everywhere we stayed) were authentic enough to capture the essence of kahvaltı. The highlight of the experience was the cup of sahlep my wife ordered. Sahlep is a drink made from orchid root. It’s served with milk and topped with cinnamon. The flavor is somewhat unique, but it’s similar to a warm, liquid pudding in a cup. The version a VKE was excellent, probably since orchid root is harvested near the city of Van. According to wikipedia, orchid root is endangered, so they no longer export it out of Turkey.

http://istanbuleats.com/2009/04/van-kah ... fast-club/

Sinem Börek Salonu

This is a pretty typical bakery specializing in böreks. It was located near my hotel in Beyoğlu so we stopped by a couple times for a quick bite. They have 4-5 different böreks that you order by weight. Then they either cut it up and serve it in a plastic tray with forks or package it up in a box. There are lots of bakeries similar to Sinem throughout Beyoğlu,.

http://www.sinemborek.com/

Kaymakcı Pando
Pictured: Bal Kaymak
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Bal kaymak (honey with clotted cream) is a staple of Turkish breakfast. Served with a tulip glass of hot black tea and a loaf of crusty, spongy white bread, it’s an excellent way to start a day. I had bal kaymak at 4-5 places during my entire trip, but none of them were anywhere near as good as the one served at Kaymakcı Pando in Beşiktaş. The clotted cream there had the texture of soft butter and an unparalleled rich creaminess. Beşiktaş is a little off the beaten path for a standard tourist trip to İstanbul, but it’s a fun area with lots of shops, and the best kaymak I’ve ever had. Worth the trip!

http://istanbuleats.com/2009/04/kaymak- ... nly-cream/

Mehmet Demir's Breakfast Cart

There are lots of simple food trucks on İstiklal Caddesi, but this one definitely sticks out. It's a larger cart and the line was longer than at all the others. They serve two types of sandwiches. One is made with deli meats, olive spread and fresh Turkish string cheese and the other is made with clotted cream and honey. Both are served on a fresh loaf of spongy white bread. The sandwiches are substantial, definitely enough to tide you over for a good long while. Definitely a good choice for a quick bite on the run.

http://istanbuleats.com/2009/05/mehmet- ... heel-deal/

Lades 2
Pictured: Pastırmalı Menemen
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Pictured: Tavuk Göğsü Kazandibi
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I saved the best for last. By dumb luck our hotel was a couple doors down from Lades 2 so we ended up there 4 times. They specialize in two of my favorite Turkish dishes: menemen and kazandibi. Menemen is a simple egg dish made with onions, green peppers, tomatoes and your choice of spicy Turkish sausage or pastırma. The key to good menemen is for the eggs to be a little soupy so you can dip bread into it and sop up all the greasy, salty flavor of the meat. Lades not only made great eggs, but they were on the ball with cup after cup of hot tea and fresh white bread. Kazandibi is a baked pudding that Lades makes with shredded chicken breast (tavuk göğsü kazandibi) to give a spongier texture. They make by far the best rendition of the dessert I’ve ever had. The top is well burnt to provide plenty of caramelization and the pudding itself is actually chewy so you can savor every bite. If you’re looking to try this Turkish delicacy, this is the place.

http://istanbuleats.com/2010/11/lades-2 ... asy-spoon/
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#47
Posted January 6th 2011, 5:55pm
turkob wrote:Here’s a rundown of the places I visited in İstanbul. First, some breakfast joints.


Nice installment, and I look forward to more.

I'm sort of on the path to learning when it comes to Turkish cuisine, but I have to say they do a mighty fine brekkie, the Turks. One of the better ones 'round the globe (though I will say the American breakfast holds its own).

One of my favourite restaurants here in Boston, Cafe Istanbul'lu, serves up a terrific breakfast, their pastırmalı menemen looking not much different from yours above, and is one of my favourite dishes.

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Cafe Istanbul'lu
237 Holland St
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 440-7387
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GNR Sultan
#48
Posted January 13th 2011, 4:47pm
İstanbul is absolutely jam-packed with quick, cheap and delicious food options.

Umur Restaurant
Pictured: Uykuluk (sweetbreads)
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We got a little lost looking for this place in the Sütlüce neighborhood of İstanbul. What we discovered, however, is that all the restaurants on the waterfront specialize in sweetbreads. There were at least 5 restaurants advertising their house specialty uykuluk in large letters. Per the recommendation from Istanbul Eats we finally found Umur Restaurant. We ordered a couple plates of the grilled sweetbreads along with the traditional dark purple drink, şalgam, which is made from pickled black carrots. The sweetbreads were tender though a little under seasoned, but a terrific bargain. The restaurant is across the street from the water taxi station so it's a pleasant ride down the Golden Horn, but I don't know that I'd go too far out of my way for this particular plate of sweetbreads. The uykuluk sandwich you can get on the street was plenty good enough for me.

http://istanbuleats.com/2010/07/umur-re ... ymus-time/

Grand Bazaar
Pictured: Saç Kavurma Sandwich
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One day we were looking for a quick bite to eat in the grand bazaar, but it was surprisingly hard to find something that wasn't geared towards tourists. Unfortunately the addresses provided in Istanbul Eats were essentially impossible to find since it's such a maze. Eventually we found ourselves in a part of the bazaar that sold cooking equipment and tools, so our prospects were looking better. Along the road we found a nondescript little shop specializing in saç kavurma which is small chunks of lamb cooked with tomatoes and peppers on a thin metal pan called a saç. This rendition was absolutely fantastic with seriously assertive spicing and fresh bread. The same shop offered fresh squeezed pomegranate juice which was a wonderful, sour and sweet complement to the spicy meat. All of this for the bargain price (even by Turkish standards) of 5YTL. I just wish I could find it again.

http://istanbuleats.com/2009/07/the-gra ... -the-food/

Pera Sisore
Pictured: Chef's choice
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This is nice spot for a quick lunch in Beyoğlu, though I was a little disappointed by the meal. They specialize in the cuisine of the Black Sea, which is something I really don't know much about. Based on the write-up and pictures from Istanbul Eats, I'm guessing that their offerings vary quite a bit from day to day. We let the chef choose from the pretty large array of steam tray options and the plate was piled high with food. Unfortunately the meat was quite tough and the potatoes were bland and overpowering. There really weren't very many vegetable options the day we visited which seems pretty different from what we were expecting, and made the meal feel heavy and kind of clumsy. The food had a very homemade quality to it, and I'm guessing this is the kind of place that can really crush it when they're on, but sadly, this was not the case the day we visited.

http://istanbuleats.com/2009/04/pera-si ... sea-magic/

Kızılkayalar
Pictured: Islak Burger (wet burger)
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I'd never heard of a wet burger before and I didn't think much of the writeup I read on Istanbul Eats about this place (apparently it was on No Reservations as well). But as luck would have it, the airport shuttle dropped us off in the middle of Taxim Square and right there, across the street, was Kızılkayalar peddling two lira wet burgers at a frantic clip. Hungry from the flight and needing to lay a base down before a night on the town, everyone in my group got one burger to tide us over. Wow. This was unlike any burger I'd ever had before. The wetness of the bun most resembled a drenched italian beef (the way I like it) with a distinct tomato-ey flavor. The meat was a seriously spiced patty of rich, squishy lamb completely unique in both texture and flavor. This place is open 24-7 and no matter the hour we saw people lining up to grab a wet burger. The one burger to tide us over quickly became two or three. This is the perfect food stop before you embark on the pinball machine that is İstiklal Caddesi.

http://www.kizilkayalar.com.tr/4.htm
http://istanbuleats.com/2009/12/istanbu ... et-burger/

Dürümzade

Turks call wraps dürüm, probably because they're made from durum wheat (I'm guessing). In the busier pedestrian areas throughout the country there are hole in the wall joints specializing in kebabs and köftes of different kinds served with your choice of white bread, pita bread or a wrap. So I guess what I'm saying is that you can get grilled meat in a wrap just about anywhere, and a lot of them are pretty damn good. Dürümzade was highly recommended on Istanbul Eats so I figured I'd visit to see what the top of the genre looks like. On the one hand everything was done correctly. The meats were well seasoned, my favorite was the chopped liver with tons of garlic and onions. The wraps were soft and the toppings (cabbage, pickles, etc) were all crunchy and fresh. Washing it down with a bottle of creamy ayran, this is as good as street food gets. On the other hand, I failed to see what made them stick out. They were a good 5-6 blocks off the main drag and were pretty empty when we got there at about 10PM. Maybe this place really gets going after the bars let out, but as far as I could tell, other places closer to the bars and clubs were doing better business at that hour. It's the type of place I'd be glad to know about when I'm looking for a bite in the area, but not something I'd walk half way across Beyoğlu to get. They were featured on No Reservations, so I'm a little curious as to what Bourdain thought the draw was.

http://istanbuleats.com/?s=durumzade

Tarihi Karaköy Balıkçısı

After all the great seafood we ate in İzmir, my friends were clamoring for more seafood when we got to İstanbul. While seafood is prevalent on menus, restaurants specializing in seafood were a little hard to find in downtown. We did, however, happen across one excellent option in the Karaköy neighborhood, just across the Golden Horn from Sultanahmet (turns out Istanbul Eats found it too, those guys are thorough!). Tarihi Karaköy Balıkçısı is a small storefront serving a quick lunch to the workers that work nearby. They seemed surprised when a group of 5 Americans walked in the door, definitely a good sign. They had 5 types of fish on the menu, so we ordered one of each and a couple bowls of the fish soup. The fish soup was somewhat similar to a chowder with big hunks of fish and potatoes in a creamy, fishy broth. It's exactly the type of thing I imagine is being served near docks all over Europe and the US. The fish was all fresh as was to be expected, served with bitter greens and lots of lemon. The one notable option was the bass cooked in parchment paper that had a flakier texture and lots of flavor imparted by the tomatoes and onions that cooked along side the fish in the pouch. This was a great stop for a quick, affordable seafood lunch in the remarkably local neighborhood between tourist central (Sultanahmet) and party central (Beyoğlu).

http://tarihikarakoybalikcisi.com/
http://istanbuleats.com/2010/11/tarihi- ... k-in-usta/

Street food around Eminönü
Pictured: Balık Ekmek
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Right next to the bridge connecting Sultanahmet to Karaköy is the Eminönü boat terminal where hundreds of ferries come and go throughout the day. It's a bustling area teeming with locals catching commuter ferries and tourists catching Bosphorus tours. Under the bridge are dozens of restaurants selling what appears to be overpriced tourist fare (with exceptional views of the Golden Horn). Right in the middle of action, though, are two stands selling some of the best street food we had in İstanbul. As soon as you get close to the terminal you can hear fish sizzling on grills. Simply called balık ekmek, which translates to fish bread, the fish sandwiches sold all around Eminönü are a simple but delicious treat. The sandwich is made with grilled, fatty, salty fish (similar to mackerel, heck they could be mackerel) and topped with raw onions, tomatoes, bitter greens and a squeeze of lemon. I'm a lover of all fatty fish and this was a memorable treat I went back for a couple times. Around the corner is a stand selling Turkish doughnuts called lokma. They're simply balls of fried dough dipped in syrup. Be sure to wait for fresh ones to come out of the fryer, they decline fast. But when they're fresh, they're really the only way to get that wonderful taste of fish and onions off your breath (not that you'd want to). I wish my daily commute included a stop by such wonderful street food stands!

Karadeniz Pide Döner ve Lahmacun
Pictured: Döner Kebabı
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I haven't talked much about the döner (which means spinning much like gyro in Greek) kebabı I had on the trip. Honestly, I didn't eat very much. For one, I've visited Europe a handful of times in the past couple years, and I've had a lot of good döner off the street. Also, there are so many different kinds of kebabs I wanted to try that I just couldn't justify having standard issue döner when so many interesting options were available. Lastly, when I did eat döner, I had it İskender style served with pide, yogurt and tomato sauce at sit down restaurants. All that said, I couldn't go all the way to Turkey without having some döner sandwiches off the street. In the tourist areas, practically every other storefront serves döner, and honestly, most of them look pretty bad. There are a couple things to look for when choosing a place to eat a döner sandwich off the street. Perhaps most importantly, throughput. Döner tastes best when it's constantly spinning and the meat is charred. If when you order a döner they have to turn on the machine, that's a bad sign. Also, I didn't have a single french fry on my entire one month trip to Turkey, I wasn't even offered one. However, in the tourist districts, french fries are served at nearly every restaurant. If the place is serving fries, there's a good chance you're getting substandard döner. We stopped by one of the Istanbul Eats recommended döner joints in the Beşiktaş neighborhood. As you can see from the picture above, this was early in the day, and they're expecting to sell a lot of döner sandwiches. I particularly liked that they were in no rush to shave the meat, they waited until it was nice and charred before taking the knife to it. I'm partial to kokoreç (grilled sheep organs), but it's hard to argue that a well made döner isn't a wonderful treat in it's own right.

http://istanbuleats.com/2009/10/doner-heavy-rotation/

Can Ciğer
Pictured: Edirne Ciğeri
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Turks love liver. There's a saying in Turkish that translates to the corner of my liver (ciğerimin köşesi) and means my darling. Not sure if there's any relationship between this saying and the wonderful liver preparations found in Turkish cuisine, but either way, Turks love liver. And so do I. The best liver I had on the trip was at a restaurant specializing in Edirne style liver where their love for liver is famous. The liver is cut into thin slices, lightly breaded and heavily spiced then grilled to crispy perfection. It's served with raw onions and tomatoes and the mandatory tall glass of ayran (yogurt drink). Can Ciğer (pronounced jun jee-yer), in the Beşiktaş neighborhood, made a superlative rendition of this dish. The liver was at once crispy and yet moist on the inside with lots of spice. I didn't get a chance to visit the liver joints in Beyoğlu, which are probably a lot easier to visit for tourists sticking to the beaten path, but if you're anywhere nearby, this place is worth visiting.

http://istanbuleats.com/2009/08/can-cig ... er-in-you/

Marko Paşa
Pictured: Mantı being made
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I really wanted to find a place that served mantı so my friends could try it. Mantı is essentially Turkish ravioli stuffed with ground meat and topped with garlic yogurt. All the Istanbul Eats recommended places were pretty far from the city center, and as it so happened a couple doors down from our hotel was a place that specialized in handmade mantı and gözleme. All day you could see an older lady rolling out dough and folding mantı one by one, so I figured it's fresh if nothing else. As it turns out, earlier in this thread, Bill recommended this place as well, so with apologies I have to say this was by far the worst meal I had in Turkey. When we entered the restaurant I noticed that the place was full of tourists. This surprised me because for the most part Beyoğlu had way more locals than tourists. Nonetheless we sat down and ordered a couple gözleme, a couple plates of mantı and a couple kebabs. The gözleme (similar to a quesadilla) was quite tough, which is mind boggling because presumably it was rolled out that day. The filling was the lowest grade sucuk and cheese that I didn't even know existed. Then came the mantı, which once again was shockingly bad. What are they putting in the dough that made is so bland and tough? It's flour, water and salt. I'd never had a bad mantı in my life until this trip. They put dried mint on top (who thought that was a good idea) and the meat was completely under seasoned and fatty, clumsily made from top to bottom. Lastly the kebabs were atrocious. Somehow the meat was overcooked and the eggplant undercooked. If you've never had undercooked eggplant, avoid it like the plague. It was tough, bitter and stringy. As we were leaving, the waiter asked me (in Turkish) where we were from. I said the US, and he said, yeah, we don't get many Turks in here. Oof.

Next up, sit down dinner places.
Last edited by turkob on January 13th 2011, 4:49pm, edited 1 time in total.
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GNR Sultan
#49
Posted January 13th 2011, 4:49pm
tatterdemalion wrote:One of my favourite restaurants here in Boston, Cafe Istanbul'lu, serves up a terrific breakfast, their pastırmalı menemen looking not much different from yours above, and is one of my favourite dishes.


Damn, wish I'd known about that place when i lived in Somerville. I still haven't mastered menemen, it's tougher than it looks.
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#50
Posted January 14th 2011, 11:22am
Terrific stuff, turkob. Continued thanks for your labors.
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GNR Sultan
#51
Posted January 20th 2011, 1:00pm
I was surprised that we needed a reservation every night we were in İstanbul. We were able to make a reservations the same day for the most part, but if we tried to show up without a reservation we were turned away more often than not.

Çukur Meyhanesi
Pictured: Three cold mezes: yoğurtlu semizotu (purslane with yogurt), zeytin yağlı kereviz (olive oil celeriac) and muammara
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Pictured: Yaprak Ciğer (liver)
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Pictured: Hamşi Izgara (grilled anchovies)
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My favorite dinner in İstanbul was at Çukur Meyhanesi, one block off of İstiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu. A meyhane is a Turkish tavern where they serve a large variety of meze that are meant to be eaten with rakı. This particular meyhane had a small indoor area (which is where we had to eat because there were no more outdoor reservations left when I called that afternoon) and lots of outdoor seating. This place is busy every night with people eating and drinking well past midnight. They have a menu with most of their options pictured on the side, but it's better to wait for the waiter to come out with the tray of meze options. Just point at the ones that look good and within a couple minutes meze will be brought to your table along with a bottle of rakı and a loaf of spongy white bread. They do a particularly nice job with yogurt meze (such as the purslane pictured above) that are made with a creamy tangy yogurt and plenty of garlic. We also ordered the yaprak ciğer (translates to leaf liver) and the grilled anchovies as recommended by Istanbul Eats. The liver was tender with a distinct minerally taste yet pretty spicy, it was outstanding served next to the yogurt dishes. The anchovies were meatier than we expected but they were browned well and a nice light way to round out the meal. The meyhane experience is something I miss most about Turkey.

http://istanbuleats.com/2010/01/cukur-m ... met-hamsi/

Hacı Abdullah
Pictured: İmam Bayıldı
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This restaurant was recommended by a friend's co-worker and it was close to our hotel so we stopped by one night. We had a reservation but the place was pretty empty except for a couple tables of American tourists (it was a Wednesday night, though many other places were packed). Apparently it was recommended by Lonely Planet. I noticed that the other groups seemed not to be having a good time. The wait staff seemed uninterested in them and their food looked uninspiring. When I started speaking Turkish with the waiter he seemed to perk up. I have no way to know for sure, but there seems to be an anti-tourist vibe in the place. All that said, our food was fantastic. They have three stations in the middle of the restaurant. One is for cold meze, one is for warm dishes (mostly stewed meats) and the last is for dessert. They have a pretty large menu, but the waiter grabbed the menus out of our hands and instructed me to come with him to the food stations. Hacı Abdullah has been around for over a hundred years serving a post-prayer dinner to the worshippers at the nearby mosque for generations. They serve traditional Ottoman cuisine and just as traditionally there is no liquor on the menu. We started off with a couple different types of dolmas (stuffed vegetables). These were the best dolmas I've ever had, with apologies to my relatives. Dried eggplants stuffed with rice and currants, green peppers stuffed with ground beef and tomatoes, zucchini stuffed with dill rice and the king of all dolmas İmam Bayıldı which translates to the priest fainted. İmam Bayıldı is an eggplant stuffed with stewed onions and tomatoes and lots of garlic. All of these dolmas were moist and complex, truly highlighting how a stuffed vegetable can marry two foods together so beautifully. The next round was the stewed meats, each with a unique sauce. My favorite was the lamb beğendi which is a slow cooked lamb with tomatoes and onions dipped in a creamy eggplant puree made with bechamel sauce. Finally for dessert we got an order of the ekmek kadayıfı (bread dessert) and the ayva tatlısı (quince dessert). Both were soaked in a rich syrup and topped with clotted cream. I have to say I enjoyed Hacı Abdullah more than I was expecting and it set a new bar for how good dolmas can be. I'd say if you visit, skip the menu, and go to the middle of the restaurant and get guidance from the chefs behind the counters.

http://www.haciabdullah.com.tr/

Antiochia
Pictured: Pepper spread, eggplant salad, muammara
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Pictured: Beyti Kebabs
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Antakya (as it's called in Turkish) is a region in southeastern Turkey that borders Syria. They're famous for their cuisine that features pomegranate syrup, unleavened bread and cracked wheat. Antiochia is a hip restaurant with modern Turkish pop music playing, sleek decor and small grocery section selling jarred pickles and pomegranate syrup. While the cuisine definitely has modern flares, the food still accents the traditional flavors of Antakya. We started off with six or seven different meze. The spicing on the different pepper spreads (one had cheese and walnuts, the other cracked wheat and garlic) gave them lots of kick that played well with the sourness of the pomegranate syrup. Also they served hummus which you don't typically see on Turkish menus and a wonderful smokey eggplant salad. For entrees we got an assortment of juicy, grilled kebabs served in a chewy flat bread that was grilled so the outside was crispy. We finished the meal off with Antakya's classic dessert, künefe, which is a sweet cheese topped with shredded wheat, covered in syrup and topped with clotted cream. This dish is so famous that it's made in Antakya and shipped across the country. It was fun to see modern İstanbul mixed with traditional regional cuisine.

http://istanbuleats.com/2009/08/antioch ... and-taste/
http://www.antiochiaconcept.com/

Çiya Sofrası
Pictured: Mix of cold meze
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I don't have much to add to the many posts about Çiya Sofrası. It's in a really fun neighborhood, Kadiköy, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, I definitely recommend saving some time to walk around the market and check out some of the bars (play some backgammon and smoke a nargileh!). In the restaurant there are two stations, one for cold food sold by the kilo and one for hot food sitting in steam trays. Turks love variety and this type of dining makes it easy to try many different dishes. The prices were remarkably affordable and we got to sample Turkish wine since they don't serve rakı. I have to say that while the food was definitely Turkish in its flavor combinations and ingredients, the dishes featured unique pairings like quince with lamb. Particularly for me and my friends who had been in Turkey for close to two weeks at this point, Çiya Sofrası was an excellent way to try a different side of Turkish cuisine. However, I have to say that for a person with only a couple days in Turkey, I wonder if Çiya Sofrası is a great choice. They serve dishes you can't get at any restaurant anywhere else in Turkey which makes it a great destination for lovers of Turkish food, but if you're short on time, I think you'd be better served sticking to more traditional fare.

http://www.ciya.com.tr/
http://istanbuleats.com/2009/05/ciya-lo ... ry-shrine/

Abracadabra
Pictured: Braised Octopus
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It was a solid 30 minute cab ride up the Bosphorus to the Arnavutköy neighborhood of İstanbul to get to Abracadabra. It's an upscale neighborhood with a handful of waterfront restaurants. The setting was beautiful, lots of outdoor seating close to the serene Bosphorus straight. The waiters were excited about the chance to practice their English so for once on the trip I let me friends do the ordering (with lots of guidance from the staff). In nearly every way it was a wonderful meal. Nice leisurely pace, plenty of rakı, attentive staff that enjoyed speaking with us about the food. Unfortunately, as nice as everything else was, we just didn't like the food that much. Nothing was done poorly, but the restaurant's attempt at Turkish fusion fell flat. In a lot of ways, my friends remarked that the food resembled what you'd get at a modern American restaurant with a Mediterranean focus. For instance, we ordered a pastırma börek which is a very traditional Turkish appetizer. This version, however, came as a very thin and crispy stick of fried phyllo dough with a sliver of pastırma and a Thai chili dipping sauce that was very sweet and overpowered the spices in the meat. The octopus was tender but it was braised in a heavy tomato sauce that was more fit for beef than seafood. I appreciate that the restaurant is offering flavors that are definitely unique to Turkish palates (it was also Turkey's first organic restaurant), but for a group of Americans who've had new Mediterranean cuisine done well and poorly a number of times, the meal was a disappointment.

http://www.abracadabra-ist.com/
http://istanbuleats.com/2009/04/abracad ... bosphorus/
Last edited by turkob on January 27th 2011, 2:23pm, edited 1 time in total.
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GNR Sultan
#52
Posted January 27th 2011, 2:14pm
I posted about the rest of my trip to Turkey in Türkiye
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#53
Posted January 27th 2011, 11:30pm
First off: Thanks to tatterdemalion for letting me know about this forum. He suggested I hop on here to talk about my adventures in Istanbul last year. Here's a piece I wrote for another site:


Letter From An Istanbul Kitchen Part 1: Kasap Osman. Osman the Butcher Plys His Meat Trade in Sirkeci


I researched restaurants quite a bit before coming to Istanbul. I first read about Kasap Osman on Istanbul Eats [ http://istanbuleats.com/2009/06/kasap-o ... r-fatigue/ ]

When the cabbie offers to take me to Sirkeci for 25 lira I nearly bust a gut. I’m in the shadow of Hagia Sofia and could hit Kasap Osman with 2 good throws if you count the rolls.

I’m not a taxi taker unless I’m thoroughly beat or seriously in my cups so I respectfully decline his offer [after briefly considering rolling him] to relieve me of my hard earned money through usury and 5 minutes later I’m strolling past Sehzade Erzurum Cag Kebabi [ http://chowpapi.com/?p=151 ].

I muster up some serious inner reserves to resist stopping and wildly devouring a bowl of their crazy good red lentil soup [the best soup I've had in Istanbul] but manage to muscle past and am quickly seated on Kasap Osman’s patio.

I’m afforded a view that quickly reminds me that I’m far from USA. To wit, a stream of men lined up at a fountain carefully washing their feet before entering the nearby mosque. I’m reminded of a story a friend told me of her uncle, a devout Muslim from Izmir who was relieved of his nice shoes he’d parked out front of a mosque while he worshipped. He had to walk home barefoot and the family took great amusement at his plight.

Kasap Osman is famous for Iskender kebab. I’ve had plenty of the fake stuff but this is supposed to be the real deal. The best in town and outside a trip to Bursa, the most authentic to be had.

I reckon it must be.

Thin, wide slices of lamb doner are spit-roasted with charcoal then seared and bathed in a tomato gravy. The lamb, tender and rich is balanced with the acidic tomato. Served with yogurt, green chiles and quartered tomatoes, it’s an intense plate of food.

For a starter I get the lentil soup and it’s fine but not in the same league as Erzurum. A well earned dessert comes after the long hike to Beyoglu, up-up-up the hill towards Taksim.

I purposely walk as many miles as possible each day in Istanbul to keep my appetite raging. With thousands of restaurants and only 2 weeks of eating you have to utilize as many tools as is possible.

The narrow alleyway where Kasap Osman resides is a serious eaters dream. A brace of small restaurants dot the street, dealing all manners of Turkish deliciousness. Clearly, further investigation is warranted on my next visit to Istanbul.



Address: Hocapasa Sokak 22, Sirkeci
Telephone: 212-519-3216

Original article here: http://chowpapi.com/?p=296 including a photo of the restaurant
Avatar
#54
Posted February 13th 2011, 11:06pm
Digging up some more Istanbul words from last years trip:

Letter From An Istanbul Kitchen Part 2: Van Kahvalti Evi. Short Order Kurds in Cihangir

I can eat breakfast morning, noon and night. The traditional Turkish breakfast however [ bread, jam, olives and cheese ] leaves me cold.

I was raised in the American South and our custom dictates fried eggs, country ham, grits, sawmill gravy and biscuits shot through with lard, be served in the morning hours [ or the evening hours if you're my dad who loves to make breakfast for supper ].

I’ve read [ http://istanbuleats.com/2009/04/van-kah ... fast-club/ ] that the Kurds from the Lake Van region of Turkey really show and prove when it comes to the first meal of the day so I decide a visit to Beyoglu’s Cihangir neighborhood is in order.

The small cafe’ looks like it was spirited out of Portland, Oregon or Austin, Texas and the staff look like they were abducted from a Sonic Youth show at a loft in Brooklyn.

So far so good.

I’ve planned on a traditional Kurdish breakfast but once I spot a dish featuring sucuk, tomatoes and peppers, all bets are off. The rest of the menu reads like a paean to Alice Waters with all the organic goodies one can dream of or want.

My dish is served in a small, iron pan fresh from the broiler. It’s wonderful. The top flight farm eggs have been barely scrambled, mixed with chiles, sausage and tomatoes then broiled til barely set. Clearly a short order Kurd on a mission has been set to task in the back of the house.

A giant basket of breads comes with a cracked wheat bread, a white flatbread and and an odd roll that’s like a mini-boule. My server looks like a young Sonia Braga with a thick shock of curly hair cascading down her back.

Dessert is a small dish of strawberry jam [they're out of blackberry] and a chilled glass of Ayran which tastes like the best buttermilk ever.

A sidewalk breakfast on a chilly Istanbul morning at Van Kahvalti Evi is a fine way to usher in a day of adventure in The City.


Original article appeared here: http://chowpapi.com/?p=307

Pic of exterior of restaurant as well as contact information.
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#55
Posted April 16th 2011, 9:25am
great stories here! enjoy every post :)
_______________________________________

Breaking Cell Phone Repeaters news. I recommend
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#56
Posted July 27th 2011, 1:52pm
Ciya was everything people on this board said it is and more. The mezze bar is amazing, with the standouts being the two yogurt dishes. The stews were fantastic as well. My only regret is only getting to go once, and not going with more people to try many more of their delicious entrees.
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#57
Posted July 27th 2011, 2:20pm
I did not realize this thread existed until now. I love Istabul, its my favorite city. Im surprized there are no pictures of the old ladies at the camlica tepesi making the little pies... Everything else is making me want to plan another trip to istanbul soon!!!
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#58
Posted February 23rd 2012, 9:51pm
Mr. lemoneater and I are traveling to Istanbul in March, and hopefully visiting other sites around Turkey. If there are any LTHers planning a trip and would like to meet up for quite possibly the world's most delicious cuisine, send me a PM!
_______________________________________

"To get long" meant to make do, to make well of whatever we had; it was about having a long view, which was endurance, and a long heart, which was hope.
- Fae Myenne Ng, Bone
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#59
Posted June 8th 2013, 2:08pm
It's been a long time since I visited Istanbul - more than 20 years - but I remember the cuisine as being one of the high points of a 5 month trip. Those of you who are following the news of events in Istanbul might be interested in the views of Ansel Mullins and Yigal Schleifer, who write about Istanbul street food. (I am acquainted with their work through Kyle Long and Jamie Barys of UnTours Shanghai and Culinary Backstreets, Shanghai, with whom I've done several explorations of Shanghai's street food.) The impact of development on Shanghai seems to parallel that of Istanbul in some ways, removing traditional lane houses and food streets in favor of mall construction. Hopefully, there are some in power who will respect the need to preserve these humble neighborhoods and institutions from extinction.

"All the Old Familiar Places, RIP" - Istanbul edition, from Culinary Backstreets:

Read here and here for a food reporter's view of recent events and the impact of development that erases establishments such as this one, an esnaf lokantası, or tradesmen's restaurant.
.
_______________________________________

Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
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#60
Posted June 8th 2013, 8:58pm
Josephine wrote:It's been a long time since I visited Istanbul - more than 20 years - but I remember the cuisine as being one of the high points of a 5 month trip. Those of you who are following the news of events in Istanbul might be interested in the views of Ansel Mullins and Yigal Schleifer, who write about Istanbul street food. (I am acquainted with their work through Kyle Long and Jamie Barys of UnTours Shanghai and Culinary Backstreets, Shanghai, with whom I've done several explorations of Shanghai's street food.) The impact of development on Shanghai seems to parallel that of Istanbul in some ways, removing traditional lane houses and food streets in favor of mall construction. Hopefully, there are some in power who will respect the need to preserve these humble neighborhoods and institutions from extinction.

"All the Old Familiar Places, RIP" - Istanbul edition, from Culinary Backstreets:

Read here and here for a food reporter's view of recent events and the impact of development that erases establishments such as this one, an esnaf lokantası, or tradesmen's restaurant.
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Thanks, Josephine. I appreciate the update. I have such fond memories of Istanbul, so many of them revolving around the small restaurants and vendors described in the "Old Familiar Places" article. It's sad to see the charming, old places pushed out. I do wonder at times if there are young people still willing to run some of these little places. But it would seem there are enough who want these places to preserve them. That said, Le Titi de Paris here in Arlington Heights got bulldozed because the city wanted a strip mall with a Qdoba, a Great Clips, and a coffee shop. So I guess it's pandemic. Pity.
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