In an opinion piece published recently in the Latitude blog of The New York Times, veteran Turkey correspondent Andrew Finkel’s brutally honest appraisal of the state of “New Turkish Cuisine” called much of Istanbul’s restaurant establishment – down to the customers – into question. We’ve had similar misgivings after meals in some upscale nouveau meyhanes where fussy food and too much attention to interior design ends up spoiling an atmosphere that is supposed to be fun. Continue »
Tag Results for 'meze'
The mezedopoleio – a type of venue where mezes are passed around for all to eat – is traditionally associated with students more interested in getting drunk on cheap alcohol than savoring a nice meal. But tough times require hard drinking, which means that mezedopoleia have recently made a massive comeback in Athenian life. In the historic Kerameikos area, Saladin is a venue that does double duty, fulfilling the traditional function of the mezedopoleio while taking the food component up several notches. Continue »
Editor’s note: This post was written by “Meliz,” an intrepid explorer of Istanbul’s culinary backstreets and frequent Istanbul guest contributor who would like to keep her anonymity.
While the Princes’ Islands make for a great escape from the city, it used to be hard to think of them as a culinary destination. That is, until Heyamola Ada Lokantası opened. The restaurant is a perfect storm of inspired food, chill ambiance and small-label Turkish wines, all at ridiculously low prices. Continue »
It wasn’t quite as dramatic as Meg Ryan’s big moment at Katz’s Deli in When Harry Met Sally, but a low-register, guttural moan of pleasure was detected from our table when we tasted the shredded celery root in yogurt, a house specialty meze at Çukur Meyhane. And we weren’t faking it. Continue »
Editor’s note: This guest post was written by Nicolas Nicolaides, an Istanbul-born Greek who moved to Athens in 1988. Nicolaides is a Ph.D. student in history at the University of Athens whose research focuses on the Karamanlılar (Greeks from Central Anatolia).
Once a resort town on the outskirts of the Greek capital, Phaleron – only a few miles from downtown Athens – is now well incorporated into the city’s urban fabric. Continue »
The economic crisis that has plagued Greece for the past five years has led to changes on the Athenian culinary scene, including the opening of three new types of venues that seem to be reflective of the times. The first two – cupcake places and frozen yogurt shops – are imports from abroad, perhaps indicative of a population in need of something sweet, comforting and affordable. On the other hand, the third trend, wine bars, digs deep into Greece’s roots, representing a fascinating phenomenon in a country that is one of the world’s oldest wine-producing regions. Continue »
In the great multicultural Anatolian kitchen, questions about the ethnic or national origins of foods are often cause for forks and knives to fly. A porridge called keşkek is a hot-button diplomatic issue between Turkey and Armenia, and we won’t even get started on the ongoing baklava debate. So what to make of this cuisine that draws influences from every corner of the former Ottoman lands, a territory stretching from the Balkans to North Africa? Continue »
The fatty torik – the Turkish name for a large, mature Atlantic bonito, similar to the little tunny – courses the straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles for just a short period each year in November and December. Yet the people of Istanbul eat it year-round by preserving the fish in a light brine, something it seems they have been doing for millennia – the Byzantines even minted coins with an image of the fish. Making lakerda is more than a means to preserve bonito for the rest of the year, however; it’s part of the city’s culinary instinct. Continue »
Editor’s note: This is the second installment of “Best Bites of 2012,” a roundup of our top culinary experiences over the last year. Up next is Mexico City.
Greek wine has always been a bit of a hidden gem, excellent but produced in small quantities and thus more expensive when exported; as a result, it still has not gotten the international attention it deserves. Hopefully, the crop of wine bars that have recently sprung up in downtown Athens will help more people get to know Greek wines.
We can’t prove it, but we suspect a network of tunnels lies underground in Beyoğlu that connects most of the meyhanes of Asmalımescit and Nevizade Sokak to the same mediocre kitchen, resulting in unexceptional mezes at scores of venues in this dining district. Following a number of tips, our search for a standout meyhane led us to the unassuming Asmalı Cavit on Asmalımescit Caddesi, where we’ve consistently had outstanding food. This traditional meyhane bucks the trend toward mediocrity with subtle but significant tweaks that, for us, make the meal. Continue »
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