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Jul 29
Reviews (Eats)
Read Between the Buns 4: Egg & Burger

(Editor’s Note: After previous installments of our “Read Between the Buns” series — a look at Istanbul’s burgeoning burger scene — we received complaints that we failed to consider a spot called Egg & Burger. We recently had a chance to try things out there and now return with a review to add to the burger series.)

We are still trying to figure out what to make of Egg & Burger, the much-touted burger joint in Istanbul’s refined Tesvikiye district.  Decorated in black and white tiles, Coca Cola memorabilia and heavy chrome stools and tables, Egg & Burger looks just like a Checker’s or a Rally’s – that is, a cheapo grease trap with a “nostalgic American” look. There is even a neon “Diner” sign out front. But the resemblance runs out there.

At 20 TL per cheeseburger, this place is pricing itself well beyond any diner we’ve been to and into the league of the boutique burger.  Further exploration of the menu proved more confounding. The sandwich section is headed by a big taco icon. But there are no tacos at Egg & Burger. There is, however, a Spanish omlette and a bratwurst and something among the pasta listings called “fagottini”. Other things you will find at Egg & Burger (and no other diner in the world) include panini sandwiches, “ravioloni” and a hamburger salad.

But when we found out that the namesake burger came with paper-thin cut French fries and a fried egg that is inserted between the patty and the bun, this place totally lost us. In general, we applaud culinary hedonism, but this is the sort of threesome we just can’t go for; no can do. This is a burger joint with an identity crisis.

Alongside a sad excuse for a chocolate milkshake, we ate our Egg & Burger cheeseburger – not bad but not great. While eating it, we couldn’t stop yearning for the real American roadside burger stand that Egg & Burger was trying to look like or the greasy spoon diner that it claimed to be. The only nostalgic moment we had during the meal was the harrowing experience of going down to the bathroom at Egg & Burger. Nudging past boxes piled to the ceiling, nodding to a fry cook on break sitting on an overturned bucket and then squeezing into a tiny dank bathroom with sticky floors we found Egg & Burger’s only bit of authentic Americana in the place: filth.

With the 27 TL per person we dropped at Egg & Burger, next time we will happily feed the entire family kofte.

Address: Ahmet Fetgari Sokak 38/A, Teşvikiye
Telephone: (212) 296-9633

(photo by Ansel Mullins)

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10 Responses to “ Read Between the Buns 4: Egg & Burger ”
  1. It’s too bad this place didn’t do it right, but egg on a burger can be genius if done correctly… In Porlamar, Venezuela, they have hamburger stands on the streets that serve an array of toppings that would make a kumpircu green with envy. I got mine with a fried egg, ham, cheese, both grilled and raw onions — and still got a quizzical “that’s it???” look from the vendor. Harika!

  2. Hello,
    I may have misunderstood but what is wrong with fagottini except that they are a bit out of place in a burger bar ?

  3. Nothing wrong with it, but it was jarring to find one of more “obscure” varieties of pasta on the menu of a place dressed up as a classic American diner

  4. have you guys ever eaten a “bomba” in turkey? i haven’t seen it on the stands for a while but i think it is the greatest fried egg sandwich (and believe me, i hate eggs) and egg&burger must have got the idea from “bomba”.

    i usually trust your reviews, but if egg&burger is half good of “bomba” then it can’t be that bad, i can give it a try. (but this filth thing concerns me)

  5. I haven’t tried the one with the egg in it but i went for a plain cheeseburger in Egg & Burger this weekend. I think they should definitely remove those thin wriggly fried chips from the burger! The meat patty was juicy (as i ate some of it without any bread or potatoes) but it was not possible to taste anything other than starch with all those potato chips between the buns.

  6. Pokerci Hoca

    Aug 5, 2010

    I’m sorry you didn’t like their burger. I tried the onion & mushroom burger and the cheeseburger and enjoyed both. The prices are high though, you’re right about that. Dukkan Burger is probably a better choice.

  7. honkytonkyman

    Aug 7, 2010

    it’s the best burger in town. period!

  8. I was hoping for more to come with the “read between the buns” series mostly because there are so much more good places that make good hamburger. You should at least try and review “Kırıntı” and “Num Num” on this area. They’re not just burger joints but make good burger to my thinking. Can i hope for a #5-6?

  9. Having lived here for 10 years, I am often disappointed in the “burgers” I have sampled over the years since they are usually kofte burgers. We recently at eat Egg and Burger, and I had the “lady burger” and I have to say, it was damn good, and better then some of the burgers I sampled at home this summer in Washington State. I was on a mission to find that perfect burger, and some were worse than this burger joint’s burger.
    I think the price of the lady burger was around 12 TL, still expensive for a “diner” burger, but for me, worth every kurus since I felt this was a burger with that clean, unencumbered burger taste, often sought after and rarely found: meat, sauce, lettuce and tomatoes (I took the fries off, though they were good).
    Dukkan is also good, though not always consistent, and there is a burger joint in Kanyon that is also tasty, but I have to say, Egg and Burger–the lady burger at least–has been the best so far.

  10. I live in Istanbul.

    It’s very expensive.. Per Burger must be 8TL or 10 TL.

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