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 »
Tag Results for 'meze'
More so than any other district in Istanbul, Perşembe Pazarı – the city’s hardware zone – brings together what we love most about this city: thriving street life, hard-to-grasp commercial enterprises, remnants of history and, of course, excellent hidden spots to eat. A chickpea and pilaf cart is pushed past a classic grilled fish dive into the rutted courtyard of an Ottoman-era han where nothing but springs are sold, hanging like heavy vines from pegboards outside tiny domed shops – that’s a typical Perşembe Pazarı moment. Continue »
The blackboard hanging outside Dexameni’s cramped kitchen reads, “Kindergarten-Bar-Nursing Home,” the title jokingly bestowed upon the café by the eminent novelist and poet Alexandros Papadiamantis. He was among the literati who made Dexameni their regular hangout shortly after it opened in the early 1900s – so regular that the place ended up serving as a home-away-from-home for all stages of life. Continue »
On a night out in Istanbul, we often find ourselves forced to make sacrifices in one or more categories of the overall dining experience. Great food at reasonable prices will surely be laid out in a room decorated in Anatolian kitsch. Bosphorus views and contemporary furnishings are a license to gouge and serve up flaccid renditions from the world kitchen. In the alcohol category, settle for rakı or suffer the consequences. This is an oft-repeated refrain that most people in Istanbul can join in on. Continue »
One of the great joys of spring and summertime in Istanbul is the chance to get away for a day to one of the Princes’ Islands, the car-free and forested archipelago that is a short ferry ride away from the city. The only downside to an island hop is actually getting there. Continue »
In our imaginary primetime lineup, a reality show called “Pimp My Kebab Salon” transforms a drab kebab shop into a grill palace suited to the tastes of the latter-day sultans. Surfaces are suddenly gilded in gold, fountains appear and everything is reupholstered under the watchful eye of the boisterous host with tacky taste. If this TV series existed, a much-loved classic episode would take place at Hatay Has Kral Sofrası, a zany kebab restaurant in a part of the Aksaray district filled with lots of other establishments selling food from Southeast Turkey. Continue »
Editor’s note: This guest review by Nicolas Nicolaides, an Istanbul-born Greek and Ph.D. student in history who moved to Athens as a child, offers a personal look at a famous Istanbul-Greek culinary landmark and its Athens outpost.
The Istanbul Greeks (aka Constantinopolitans) have some obsessions when it comes to food, and my grandma was no exception in that regard. Continue »
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 »
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 »