The only positive thing about the torturous annual visit we make to Istanbul’s main police station in order to renew our residence permit is the chance to drive through the low-rent Aksaray neighborhood.It’s home to dozens of intriguing off-the-beaten-path restaurants, most of them opened by migrants from other parts of Turkey. On our last trip through the area, we noticed a large, newish-looking sign belonging to a restaurant called Akdeniz Hatay Sofrası.
Hatay is the name of Turkey’s southernmost province, an area bounded by the Mediterranean and the border with Syria. Until the 1930s, the Hatay region was actually part of Syria, and the food from there is closer in spirit and flavor to what is found on menus in Aleppo or Damascus. Hatay, the restaurant, is run by a family that hails from the area and does brisk business serving up authentic and very good food from the region. On the several occasions that we’ve been there, the two-floor restaurant was packed with large groups, mostly families who also originally came to Istanbul from Hatay, sitting at long tables covered with countless plates of food.
Read the rest of the updated review at Culinary Backstreets .