FridayFiled under Features
After four years of publishing weekly dispatches from Istanbul’s culinary backstreets, we are still regularly surprised by new discoveries, impressed by the staying power of old standards and shocked by how quickly so much can change. For better or for worse, it is that dynamism that Istanbulites line up for, and the city never seems to run short on it. Heading into 2013, we are licking our chops in anticipation of the expected and the unexpected, which are always sure to be delicious, or at least interesting. Here we present our Best Bites of 2012.
Chacha at Café Niko
As good as the food is in Istanbul, the city is sadly lacking in the drink department. Given the choice of absurdly overpriced wine and industrial fermented swill, we’d often contemplated a dry existence – that is, until our life was changed by a bottle of black-market chacha. At Café Niko in Aksaray, the first cup of this homemade Georgian grape spirit made us blush self-consciously at the thrill of a drink on the wild side.
The rest of this post can be found on CulinaryBackstreets.com, here.
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no responses - Posted 09.10.12
In a desk drawer at Istanbul Eats HQ is an envelope of leftovers from days when life was less sedentary: Tajik somoni, Kyrgyz som, Cypriot pounds, a wad of Macedonian denar and a small stack of Georgian lari. As with the last bite on the plate, it’s impossible to throw ...continue
4 responses - Posted 10.03.11
(Editor’s Note: This guest post was provided to us by Olga Tikhonova, who writes a wonderful blog about Istanbul food and life in Turkey. To her credit, Olga has managed to track down what had long been a holy grail for Istanbul chowhounds: a local restaurant serving authentic Georgian food.) (Editor's ...continue
no responses - Posted 08.01.11
For an Istanbul restaurateur, to count among your regulars a cadre of doctors appears to be a sign of achievement worth bragging about. Among the many restaurant tips we have received is one that led us to the subterranean Ilkadim Lokantasi, backed up by the promise that doctors are known ...continue
no responses - Posted 06.27.11
Southeastern Turkey’s culinary Mecca of Gaziantep is best known for its baklava and kebabs. But lately we’ve been thinking that it’s soup that may actually be the city’s real crowning glory. Not just any old soup, mind you, but beyran çorbasi, a stupendously delicious lamb-based broth that is usually slurped ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.09.11
In our imaginary primetime lineup, a reality show called “Pimp My Kebab Salon” transforms a drab kebab shop into a grill palace suited to the tastes of the latter day Sultans. Surfaces are suddenly gilded in gold, fountains appear, and everything is reupholstered under the watchful eye of the boisterous ...continue
2 responses - Posted 08.09.10
Like Turkish foreign policy, we could easily be accused of “tilting east” these days. Just after making our way to Fatih’s Öz Kilis, we soon found ourselves trawling the streets of the nearby Aksaray neighborhood in search of food from another southeastern Turkish city near the Syrian border, in this ...continue
6 responses - Posted 03.19.10
Considering the fact that Iran is a next door neighbor to Turkey and that so many Iranians call Istanbul home, we’ve always found it more than a bit baffling that there are hardly any Iranian restaurants in the city. Imagine New York with all but a handful of Mexican restaurants? ...continue
1 response - Posted 06.01.09
In eastern Turkey, a lamb is consumed literally from head to tail, with hardly any part of the animal going uncooked. One of the specialties from the region, particularly in the area around the picturesque city of Mardin, is kaburga – breast of lamb – a cut akin to short ...continue
12 responses - Posted 04.20.09
The only positive thing about the torturous annual visit we make to Istanbul’s main police station in order to renew our residence permit is the chance to drive through the low-rent Aksaray neighborhood, home to dozens of intriguing off-the-beaten path restaurants, most of them opened by migrants from other parts ...continue