Istanbul’s Top 5 Beaneries – #3: Fasuli
(Editor’s Note: This week we are celebrating the white bean, that humble legume that reaches levels of incredible complexity and flavor when in the hands of Turkish cooks. Until we visited some of Istanbul’s shrines to the baked bean, we generally regarded the dish as something eaten out of a can beside railroad tracks. But Turkey takes this humble food, known as “kuru fasulye,” seriously; that means chefs in tall toques carefully ladling out golden beans in a rich red gravy onto monogrammed flatware, served by waiters wearing bowties and vests. Even in the least formal of Istanbul’s beaneries, the guy manning the pot has the air of a high priest knowing that his incantations alone conjure something unusually delicious out of a simple bean. This is no hobo fare. This week, to celebrate the bean, we are counting down our five favorite places in Istanbul to get “kuru fasulye.”)
The beans at Fasuli Lokantası glow unbelievably orange, as if the chef slipped a little something radioactive in the pot. Whatever the recipe, these beans are among the best we’ve had in Istanbul. Stiffened by a whole lot of butter, the gravy and bean almost achieve the same creamy consistency. The cool crisp raw onions and pickled hot peppers are a welcomed balance to the richness of the dish, although their aroma stays with you long after your meal. Host to a loyal lunch crowd, this white-tablecloth establishment serves up other Black Sea specialties including muhlama, a sort of Turkish fondue; stuffed chard leaves; and corn bread. The location, across the street from Tophane’s nargile cafes and near the Karaköy waterfront, is an added bonus.
Address: Kılıç Ali Paşa Caddesi 6, Tophane