Mari: The Cosmopolitan
In the great multicultural Anatolian kitchen, questions about the ethnic or national origins of foods are often cause for forks and knives to fly. A porridge called keşkek is a hot-button diplomatic issue between Turkey and Armenia, and we won’t even get started on the ongoing baklava debate. So what to make of this cuisine that draws influences from every corner of the former Ottoman lands, a territory stretching from the Balkans to North Africa? The answer might be in a simple term that’s becoming popular among Turkey’s minorities. The word Türkiyeli means “of Turkey” and differs significantly (and quite intentionally) from the word Türk, which often adds ethno-religious shades to nationality.
We find Türkiyeli to be an apt description of most things in this country, and certainly of the restaurant Mari, whose heritage is anything but simple: owned by Armenian and Jewish business partners, the venue is frequented by a diverse clientele that includes many Istanbul Armenians. Nevertheless, Mari wears its identity loosely and is not trying to be anything but a good restaurant with a kitchen turning out well-made, traditional favorites. Hold the culinary nationalism, and dig in.
Read the rest of the update review on Culinary Backstreets.
Post Tags: alcohol served, Armenian cuisine, Beyoğlu, lakerda, meyhane, meze, Sephardic cuisine, vegetarian, wine