Farooj al Zaeem is, pretty much, the best kind of restaurant made to resemble the worst kind of restaurant. If the neighborhood – one of Beyoğlu’s most unkempt snatches – doesn’t send you running, then the look of this place, like a knockoff polo shirt with misspellings, will signal that something here is not right.
Despite the wall of pre-folded fried chicken takeout boxes and all the signage dedicated to the house specialty, no one comes to this Syria-based chain without wiping a thin triangle of fresh pita through a few of the Syrian specialties, which are all executed so well here. Though the whole vibe of the place – cramped interior, cartoony sheriff rooster logo, uniformed staff, enlarged food photos with a corporate sheen – would tell you otherwise, this is actually a place where Syrians come to get proper, freshly made food that tastes like home. Zaeem is so authentically Syrian that some just pass through to say hello the Syrian way, a quick handshake and a kiss of the fingers.
Read the rest of the review at Culinary Backstreets .