FridayFiled under News
It was at a dinner at Mikla, one of Istanbul’s fanciest restaurants, that we identified a turning point in this city’s restaurant culture, one which might finally favor the informal, traditional and often overlooked local eateries that are the heart, soul and lovely underbelly of this city. In one brief description of an appetizer it was noted that the butter used was sourced from Beşiktaş Kaymakçı. Pando’s butter at Mikla? Worlds collided.
Reading those words, we pictured a future when heavily endowed chefs, like Mikla’s Mehmet Gürs, champion small, local producers like Pando – a dairyman who is one of Istanbul’s most celebrated makers of kaymak – and by doing so ensure the longevity of those small, fragile businesses. At that moment, we were sure that Pando, at least, was protected.
Though Pando, who has earned the love and respect of generations of İstanbullu with a full lifetime of slinging dairy goodness from the same shop in Beşiktaş, may be an institution, he is also a renter. His father was a renter before him, since 1895. The secret to a good kaymak business might be the wealth passed down through generations of his family, but the inheritance included the burden of a landlord-tenant relationship. And this summer, an eviction notice came.
Read the rest of this story at Culinary Backstreets.
All entries filed under News
1 response - Posted 07.14.14
Ankara may be Turkey’s political center and Istanbul its cultural and economic one, but ask Turks what their country’s culinary capital is and the answer will invariably be the same: Gaziantep. An ancient city not far from Turkey’s southern border, a meeting point between the Arab Middle East and Turkish Anatolia, ...continue
no responses - Posted 03.13.14
Since coming to Istanbul more than a decade ago, we have come to associate a loaf of the city’s iconic crusty white bread with satisfying lunches in an esnaf lokantası, using chunks of the humble loaf to sop up whatever was left on our plate. Since Tuesday, though, a loaf of bread has ...continue
no responses - Posted 01.02.14
Turkey’s European Union membership bid may be stuck in the mud, but a different dynamic is at work on the food front. To wit: the European Commission has granted Gaziantep baklava a spot on its list of protected designations of origin and geographical indications. It’s the first Turkish product and ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.04.13
As a chill sets in and heavy clouds roll over Istanbul, turning the Bosphorus battleship gray, we say goodbye to the luscious strawberries and blood-red tomatoes in the market. Fall marks the start of hamsi season, a time when small anchovies fill the nets of fishing boats on the Black ...continue
1 response - Posted 10.11.13
Situated on a geographically blessed spot where the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara meet, Istanbul has long been associated with fishing and, especially, the eating of fish. In culinary terms, after all, is there anything more iconic in Istanbul than eating a freshly grilled fish ...continue
no responses - Posted 07.31.13
We are very proud to have been included in a New York Times article about small group culinary tours that appears on the front page of today’s Dining section. Looking at food walks in Istanbul, Paris, Rome and a few other culinary capitals, the article hails the arrival of a ...continue
no responses - Posted 06.03.13
We generally prefer to keep our nose in a bowl of soup and out of the political arena, but over the weekend, Istanbul’s politics seeped through the cracks in our windows, in the form of teargas and general mayhem. As longtime foreign residents of Istanbul, we’ve found it relatively easy ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.23.13
Istanbul Eats, together with Caravansarai Art Space, is hosting a monthlong celebration of Perşembe Pazarı’s esnaf lokantaları (tradesmen’s restaurants) by launching a competition. And you are invited! The month of June is dedicated to revealing and enjoying the hidden (or sometimes very visible) treasures of Perşembe Pazarı, a hardware-selling neighborhood in ...continue
1 response - Posted 04.26.13
In the realm of Turkey’s small businesses, the esnaf lokantası (tradesmen’s restaurant) hovers above everything like a uniting holy spirit. A good one certainly is divine in nature. Take just about any old esnaf lokantası, and you’re sure to encounter a community that only exists at that particular spot on ...continue
1 response - Posted 02.18.13
As we've previously chronicled, the Tünel end of Istanbul’s famed İstiklal Caddesi was some two years ago the site of a heated burger war. It all started when a former Turkish basketball-player-turned-restaurateur who had spent time studying in California opened up Mano Burger, a mostly successful recreation of the kind ...continue