Istanbul’s Kurtuluş neighborhood is home to a number of slow-burners, establishments that may be hidden in plain view due to their plainness but that end up becoming some of our favorites. Gimmicks don’t fly in down-to-earth Kurtuluş, where neighborly ties are strong and home-cooked meals are preferred. Tucked on a side street in the middle of the quarter is a small eatery that exemplifies this tried-and-true character.
Behind windows that fog up quickly in the winter sit a handful of tables facing an open kitchen in what might be Istanbul’s coziest restaurant, Ben-u Sen, which showcases the divine ev yemekleri (home cooking) of the delightful Nuray Güzel.
Guests are greeted warmly by the 65-year-old Güzel, who sports a hairnet and a gleaming smile while presiding over a number of classic dishes that are cooked fresh daily, with endless love and attention to detail. Most are gone by the evening.
Read the rest of the review at Culinary Backstreets .