Istanbul’s Aksaray neighborhood harbors an unfortunate reputation derived from its seedy nightclubs and the heavy presence of illegal brothels, which turn profits from sex trafficking. But as the city continues to transform at dizzying speeds, Aksaray’s status as an underbelly has begun to be overshadowed by that of a diverse, exciting culinary destination. Streetside Syrian cafés churning out cheap and reliable falafel and shawarma; a handful of Uighur restaurants serving dishes of spicy peppers and succulent morsels of beef bathing in handmade noodles prepared to order; and Georgian drinking dens , where chacha, a grape-based moonshine, is brought out in plastic water bottles alongside juicy, lovingly made dumplings, are just a few of the international cuisines that can be sampled in Aksaray.
While we have explored the neighborhood and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly at many of these places, a no-frills Turkish kebab and wing joint kept grabbing our attention. Dürümcü Mehmet’in Yeri (“Mehmet the Wrapmaker’s Place”), located smack-dab in the middle of Aksaray between the recently opened Yenikapı metro station and the city’s T1 tramline, is relentlessly packed and about as lacking in frills as one can get. Naturally, our interest was piqued.
Read the rest of the review at Culinary Backstreets .