MondayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
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 money away, no matter how unstable the currency. But the real value of having it on hand is that it makes a return visit seem likely, even pending.
Our plans to return to Georgia were made, cancelled, rescheduled and cancelled again. It would seem our lari would never be much more than a filthy little memento, an IOU from the National Bank of Georgia for a khachapuri that would never be cashed in.
Then we read about Café Euro – now, sadly, closed – on Delicious Istanbul and felt inspired to head to Aksaray in search of somewhere to spend our lari. We had a hunch that where there was one Georgian restaurant there was bound to be another. We asked a bus driver who had just pulled in from Tbilisi where the hungry Georgians go and he directed us into a small alley of shops and up an AstroTurfed flight of stairs to Café Niko. Those stairs opened onto a wide porch that was also AstroTurfed and filled almost to capacity with Georgian men in beachwear – swimsuits, tank tops, Capri pants and flip-flops – drinking bottles of Tuborg and little Turkish tea glasses filled with chacha, Georgian grape moonshine.
The rest of this review can be found on CulinaryBackstreets.com, here.
All entries filed under this archive
9 responses - Posted 06.15.12
At 6 p.m. on a Monday evening, the dining room of Adana Ocakbaşı was nearly full and the wide grill in the corner was covered with skewers loaded with meat. While most restaurants, worldwide, were closed or waiting for a slow night to start, this neighborhood kebab house was busting ...continue
5 responses - Posted 06.02.12
We can’t prove it, but we suspect a network of tunnels lie underfoot in Beyoğlu connecting most of the meyhanes of Asmalımescit and Nevizade sokak to the same mediocre kitchen. We have tasted the haydari, patlıcan salatası, pilaki and lakerda at scores of meyhanes in this little dining district. Most ...continue
1 response - Posted 05.11.12
A recent article in one of Turkey’s English-language newspapers, describing plans by Mey İçki, Turkey’s largest producer of rakı, to introduce the anise-flavored liquor to Europe, left us both steamed and amused. As part of its efforts to promote the consumption of rakı, it appears the company – along with ...continue
7 responses - Posted 02.06.12
We generally wouldn’t recommend pulling yourself up into the back of a broken-down truck with no license plates that’s sitting in an empty lot down by the river, but Osman’s truck offers a rare glimpse of Istanbul if there really were no rules, and, not to mention, great views of ...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 09.28.11
A recent first-time visit to Merih Restaurant, a deservedly well-loved meyhane just outside Beyoğlu's Balık Pazarı, left us wondering what took us so long to discover this place. The restaurant’s location is partly to blame – with so many mediocre and touristy meyhanes to be found in the Balık Pazarı, ...continue
no responses - Posted 09.12.11
We always feel a bit like a cheating spouse when we walk past our longtime favorite – albeit dry – fish spot, Arnavutköy’s Adem Baba, towards Hayri Balık, a lovely little fish shack up the street. But sometimes, well after the brunching hour, we like to have something a little ...continue
11 responses - Posted 08.08.11
(Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by “Meliz,” an intrepid explorer of Istanbul's culinary backstreets who would like to keep her anonymity.) While the Princes’ Islands make for a great escape from the city, it’s been hard to think of them as a culinary destination. Until now. The new-offshore-kid-in-town, Heyamola ...continue
1 response - Posted 05.30.11
(Editor’s Note: This guest post is by Jennifer Hattam, an American journalist living in Beyoğlu whose personal blog can be found here.) My first encounters with Turkish fish menus were nothing short of perplexing, and not because levrek (sea bass), çupra (sea bream), kalkan (turbot) and the like were such unfamiliar ...continue
4 responses - Posted 05.01.11
(Editor's Note: In honor of the May Day workers' holiday, we are rerunning last year's post that takes a look at the dining possibilities at two union halls, Istanbul-style. Happy May 1!) Gazeteciler Lokali-Beyoğlu: The Write Stuff Journalists in Turkey are notoriously overworked and underpaid (at least that’s what Turkish journalists will ...continue