WednesdayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
We could devote a weekly column to the culinary treasures of Istanbul’s polyglot Aksaray district and probably never have to worry about running out of things to say. The area is jam-packed with places to eat, and while we’ve written about many of them, Aksaray just keeps on delivering.
Having previously covered the Syrian, Georgian, Azerbaijani and Uighur restaurants that make Aksaray a true patchwork of culinary destinations, our most vulnerable soft spot still lies in the strip of kebab restaurants inspired by the cuisine of southern Turkey’s Hatay and Urfa and located adjacent to the metro station.
Be it a grand feast of meze and chicken slowly baked for hours in a salt structure shaped like a miniature igloo at the Hatay-inspired Has Kral, or the Urfa specialty of grilled lamb skewers served tableside at Ciğeristan, we keep coming back for these drawn-out, delicious meals that fortunately manage to not break the budget.
Read the rest of the review at Culinary Backstreets.
All entries filed under this archive
no responses - Posted 03.16.16
Tucked away in an alley in Istanbul’s Aksaray neighborhood, Şirket Alahdab is a small grocery store overflowing with Syrian staples: pickled baby eggplants, dried leafy greens, cans of clotted cream for desserts. When we enter the store, Istanbul temporarily fades away and Damascus or Aleppo take its place. “All real,” ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.13.15
Editor's note: In the latest installment of our ongoing series First Stop, we asked Stavriani Zervakakou, chef of the restaurant Karaköy Gümrük in Istanbul, where she stops first for food when she returns to Istanbul. (We've written previously about her First Stop in Athens.) Lamb liver skewers in the Aksaray district’s Horhor ...continue
no responses - Posted 10.13.15
Istanbul’s Aksaray neighborhood harbors an unfortunate reputation derived from its seedy nightclubs and the heavy presence of illegal brothels, which turn profits from sex trafficking. But as the city continues to transform at dizzying speeds, Aksaray’s status as an underbelly has begun to be overshadowed by that of a diverse, exciting ...continue
no responses - Posted 06.05.15
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.It's home to dozens of intriguing off-the-beaten-path restaurants, most of them opened by migrants from other parts of ...continue
no responses - Posted 07.21.14
Looking at a map of the southern Caucasus, you’d expect Azerbaijan to be the next big thing in the world of food, sandwiched as it is between culinary heavyweights Georgia and Iran, connected as it is in so many ways to Anatolian Turkey. Previous trips to that country have not ...continue
no responses - Posted 06.13.14
Anyone who has spent time in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia (or, “the ’Stans”) will have developed a deep and lasting appreciation for the cuisine of the Uighur, a Turkic people spread across the region whose homeland, Uygurstan, lies across the border in western China. In Dushanbe, faced with ...continue
no responses - Posted 03.06.14
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, ...continue
1 response - 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 01.08.14
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
no responses - Posted 09.18.13
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 çorbası, a stupendously delicious lamb-based broth that is usually slurped ...continue