Istanbul has plenty of kebab joints, but places serving cağ are sadly hard to find. Originating in the eastern Anatolian province of Erzurum, the kebab looks like a horizontal döner, but tastes otherworldly. Continue »
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We first wrote about classic souvlaki joints a year and a half ago, and since then, those spots we recommended have only become more popular. We can’t take all the credit, however; as we mentioned in our primer, the humble dish has undergone a renaissance of sorts, and there are now all sorts of places you can find it – from hip and fashionable boîtes to traditional holes-in-the-wall. Continue »
With all of the anticipation of local elections in March, the scandalous graft-laden tapes leaked via social media, the communication fog brought on by the ban of Twitter and YouTube and the subsequent call for a vote recount in many cities, this city’s stomach had good reason to be distracted. But one cannot survive on a diet of daily news alone. In case you all forgot, Spring is here.
Editor’s note: For our First Stop series, we asked Toronto blogger Peter Minakis, who writes about Greek cooking and dining at Kalofagas, where he heads first for food when he arrives in Athens. Minakis is the author of The Everything Mediterranean Cookbook and his latest book, The Big Book of Mediterranean Recipes, is due out by the end of April. Continue »
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 »
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 »
In Istanbul, we’ve noted an inverse relationship between a restaurant’s atmosphere and what’s coming out of the kitchen. In most cases, as furniture design goes slick, as bathrooms get properly lit and ventilated, as the wait staff becomes customer-savvy, the quality of the kitchen inevitably goes down. Continue »
At 6 p.m. on a Monday evening, the dining room of Adana Ocakbaşı was nearly full and the wide grill in the corner was covered with skewers loaded with meat. While most restaurants, worldwide, were closed or waiting for a slow night to start, this neighborhood kebab house was busting through a bumper rush of early birds in for a quick lamb chop or two on the way home. Continue »
Istanbul’s after-midnight dining options tend to be of the offal variety – tripe soup, chopped lamb’s intestines – thought to be curatives after a night of hard drinking. Luckily, not all late-night eats in the city involve innards. At Dürümzade – a grill joint positioned right on the fringe of the rowdy, bar-lined streets of the Beyoğlu’s fish market – we’ve found a dürüm, or Turkish wrap, that’s equally satisfying at 2 a.m. or 2 p.m. Continue »