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Istanbul
Spring (Food) Break 2014: Istanbul

This year’s Nevruz celebration, an ancient welcoming of spring, may be remembered for its political significance in which a peace deal was struck between Turkish leaders and Kurdish rebels. But once the shoulder-shrugging, line-dancing, fire-jumping and ululating are over, the real bounty of the season will continue to be celebrated all over Turkey and in many Istanbul restaurants, from the chic to the shabby. Continue »

Istanbul
Erzincan Tandır Ekmeği: Village Loaves for City Folks

In the Kurtuluş district of Istanbul, we’ve lately been exploring links to older, nearly lost Istanbul culinary traditions. Spending time in the sweetshops, milk bars and şarküteri of this district, we’ve seen a glimmer, if faded, of the “Old Istanbul” that people remember from the 1950s and ’60s, when the city’s historic minorities – Greeks, Armenians and Jews – played a prominent role in the culinary scene of the city. Continue »

Istanbul
First Stop: Ana Sortun's Istanbul

Editor’s note: In the inaugural post of our new recurring feature, First Stop, we ask Chef Ana Sortun of the much-beloved restaurant Oleana and bakery Sofra in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she heads first for food when she arrives in Istanbul.  Continue »

Istanbul
Trileçe: The Balkan Cake of Mystery

It’s hard to imagine Istanbul without its pastane windows stacked high with trays of ivory-colored flaky mille-feuille and coolers lined with row after row of chocolate-topped éclairs. And of course, the sweets scene in Istanbul would not be complete without the much-loved profiterole. Continue »

Istanbul
Karaköy Lokantası: A Dockside Winner

When Karaköy was still “the docks” and filled with shop windows advertising boat tickets to Odessa alongside cubby-sized import and export offices, Karaköy Lokantası felt like a culinary mirage. Continue »

Istanbul
Mourning in Istanbul: The Bread of Political Affliction

Since coming to Istanbul more than a decade ago, we have come to associate a loaf of the city’s iconic crusty white bread with satisfying lunches in an esnaf lokantası, using chunks of the humble loaf to sop up whatever was left on our plate. Since Tuesday, though, a loaf of bread has become something else in Istanbul: a symbol of both mourning and protest. Continue »

Istanbul
Grills and Thrills: Istanbul's Top 5 Kebab Restaurants

If there are an estimated 17 million souls in Istanbul, then there are at least that many opinions on the best kebab house in town. There are stodgy oak-paneled rooms with country-club appeal, where well-dressed businessmen marvel at heaping plates of delicious grilled meat. And there are 24/7 hole-in-the-walls, where lines form out the door for kebab that is just as tasty and expertly cooked. Continue »

Istanbul
Çiya Sofrası: Loquat Kebabs and Mesopotamian Truffles at Istanbul’s Culinary Shrine

For us, one of the highlights of spring in Istanbul is a visit to Çiya Sofrası, the Asian-side eatery that is very likely the best restaurant in Istanbul. It’s certainly not the fanciest or most cutting-edge place in town, but we rarely leave Çiya without having a profoundly new and memorable taste experience. Continue »

Istanbul
The Salepçi of Sütçüler: The Hard Life of a Sweet Trade

By the name of the place, you’d expect the Sütçüler (“Milkmen” in English) district near Isparta in southern Turkey to be a dairyland paradise, thick on the ground with men carrying buckets sloshing fresh milk, cheese wheels stacked in cool dark sheds, verdant hills freckled with cows. But there are no milkmen in Sütçüler, at least not in the wintertime. Continue »

Istanbul
Barba: Fun House

Editor’s note: [We're sad to report that Barba closed on March 28, 2014.] We’re going on a Global Bar Crawl this week, and today we’re stopping at a building in Istanbul that has five floors of bars and clubs. Tomorrow we head to Mexico City for some mezcal. Continue »

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When it comes to exploring a city's authentic dining scene, while the stomach should ideally serve as the best compass, the truth is that it's hard to find your way without good local advice. That's where Culinary Backstreets' food walks come in.
Istanbul Eats: Exploring The Culinary Backstreets
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