ThursdayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
If there are an estimated 17 million souls in Istanbul, then there are at least that many opinions on the best kebab house in town. There are stodgy oak-paneled rooms with country-club appeal, where well-dressed businessmen marvel at heaping plates of delicious grilled meat. And there are 24/7 hole-in-the-walls, where lines form out the door for kebab that is just as tasty and expertly cooked.
Any credible best-of list will take for granted that what is coming off the grill is fresh and well-prepared, which leaves the determining factors somewhere outside of the sense of taste and more to a sense of personal style.
We want to feel comfortable eating with our hands and don’t mind if the table next to us gets loud as the rakı bottle makes its rounds. We want to be able to sit at the grill or at least close enough to feel the heat on our backs, reminding us of the valuable work of the usta preparing our food. We don’t want to see a menu or hear any fancy kebab names; ordering should resemble an exchange at a butcher shop – just cuts of meat.
That said, there are places that excel at certain specialty kebabs, such as offal, that we include not as a novelty but because sometimes no lamb chop can satisfy a hunger pang for liver.
Find out what our Top 5 kebab restaurants are at Culinary Backstreets.
All entries filed under Reviews (Eats)
no responses - Posted 02.04.14
Turkey as a country does not deal in absolutes, even though some of its more bombastic citizens are known to. So when one hears the numerous bewildered complaints about Istanbul’s dearth of falafel and hummus, the correct response is not “Turkish food is not chickpea-compliant,” but “You are not going ...continue
no responses - Posted 01.23.14
“I’m not a missionary, but I am not doing this just to make a profit. People must see that there is mantı outside of Kayseri, there’s Crimean Tatar mantı, as well,” explained Gülben Resuloğlu, in front of her restaurant in the leafy Feneryolu district of Istanbul’s Asian Side. If Martha Stewart were ...continue
no responses - Posted 01.17.14
Istanbul is a dynamic city, where conditions can change so quickly and completely that it’s easy to forget the way things used to be. The new reality can be so strong and ever-present that the past feels like a hazy dream, if that. But no, this is not an article ...continue
no responses - Posted 01.08.14
Near the Aksaray metro station, set back from a loveless part of Istanbul crossed by wide roads and overpasses, the kebab is flourishing. Over the past few decades, waves of migration have brought a particularly southeast Anatolian flavor to the otherwise drab apartment blocks and government buildings of this part ...continue
1 response - Posted 12.23.13
Breakfast in Erzincan We were strangers in a strange land – eastern Turkey’s Erzincan, to be exact – and Yalçın Kaya welcomed us into his cheese shop with such gracious fervor that it didn’t surprise us to find out that this Anatolian cheesemonger moonlights as an imam. "Have you had breakfast?" the ...continue
2 responses - Posted 12.03.13
When we last visited Cemal Bey, he was sitting behind a desk in a small, bare office on the second floor of a decrepit building near the Egyptian Bazaar in the city’s old quarter (he has since moved). Three large burlap sacks filled with what look like jumbo-sized yellow raisins ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.29.13
These days, writing about Istanbul’s old-school restaurants can be heartbreaking work. No sooner do we find out about a classic lunch spot than it turns out the place is about to be closed down to make way for yet another development project. Meanwhile, Istanbul’s relentless drive to modernize and “clean ...continue
2 responses - Posted 11.18.13
Around the time that hamsi, our favorite little fish, appear in the markets of Istanbul in late fall we become restless for the Black Sea-style cooking we’ve been missing since the previous season. Hamsi (fresh anchovies) are not the only thing to eat in a Black Sea restaurant, but eating ...continue
1 response - Posted 11.13.13
Editor's note: Culinary Backstreets' Migrant Kitchen: Taste of Iran event took place in Istanbul on Monday, and to mark the occasion, we're featuring this review of one of Istanbul's few Iranian restaurants. Considering the fact that Iran is a next-door neighbor to Turkey and that so many Iranians call Istanbul home, ...continue
no responses - Posted 10.29.13
Outside of Kristal Ocakbaşı, a small grill joint tucked away on a side street in the Pangaltı neighborhood, Obama sat greeting the regulars who streamed in to watch a soccer game while feasting on kebab. “What’s the news, Obama?” asked one man with shoulder-length white hair. “Selam aleykum, Obama,” said ...continue