MondayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
On our way to dinner one Friday evening, we hopped in a cab headed for Tarlabaşı, a rather infamous neighborhood in the dead center of Istanbul in which many people still refuse to set foot.
The area was a longtime hotbed of Greek and Armenian artisans and tradesmen, once the backbone of Ottoman-era Istanbul’s commercial life, who erected rows of gorgeous European-style apartment buildings beginning in the 19th century. Many stand proudly today, while dozens of others are fenced off and awaiting renovation as part of an invasive gentrification project that seeks to remodel the now decrepit, impoverished Tarlabaşı.
By the end of 1970s, Tarlabaşı’s Greeks and Armenians had packed up and left the neighborhood and the country, following difficult decades of anti-minority policies and attacks. In their place came a motley crew of other disenfranchised people: Kurds fleeing conflict in the southeast of the country, Roma living on the fringes of society, transgender sex workers, economic migrants and political refugees.
Read the rest of the review at Culinary Backstreets.
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5 responses - Posted 12.11.15
In the great multicultural Anatolian kitchen, questions about the ethnic or national origins of foods are often cause for forks and knives to fly. A porridge called keşkek is a hot-button diplomatic issue between Turkey and Armenia, and we won’t even get started on the ongoing baklava debate. So what ...continue
no responses - Posted 10.29.15
On any given night, bustling, narrow Nevizade Street in the heart of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district buzzes with thick crowds of evening revelers searching for the best table while clean-shaven waiters in their customary uniform of pressed white shirts and V-neck sweaters attempt to lure the crowds into their establishments. Hyperactive as ...continue
no responses - Posted 08.06.15
Don’t people just love to fight about food? Punch-ups over which city makes the best pizza, brawls about what’s the right way to barbecue. Louis and Ella nearly called the whole thing off over the pronunciation of the word “tomato.” In this pugilistic spirit, we took our place at a couple ...continue
no responses - Posted 06.22.15
Think of Ramadan, which began in late June in many parts of the world, as a kind of monthlong biathlon that consists of an all-day race to beat back the hunger and thirst of fasting, followed by an all-night marathon of eating and drinking in order to fortify the body ...continue
44 responses - Posted 05.27.15
In Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish eastern provinces, breakfast is not just for breakfast anymore. Particularly in the city of Van, not far from Turkey’s border with Iran, the morning repast has been turned into serious business: the town is filled with dozens of kahvaltı salonları – breakfast salons – that serve ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.18.15
If Istanbul had a city museum, in the 20th-century exhibition we’d expect to walk into a life-sized recreation of Kenan Usta Ocakbaşı, a seminal grill joint in the Beyoğlu district. As visitors descended a few steps into the exhibition, sensors would trigger the harsh light of fluorescent bulbs overhead, illuminating ...continue
no responses - Posted 02.10.15
The fatty torik – the Turkish name for a large, mature Atlantic bonito, similar to the little tunny – courses the straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles for just a short period each year in November and December. Yet the people of Istanbul eat it year-round by preserving the ...continue
no responses - Posted 01.07.15
Times are changing in Tarlabaşı, one of the most culturally diverse, interesting and occasionally dangerous neighborhoods of Istanbul. The government’s billion-dollar Tarlabaşı 360 project aims to gentrify this area. Even with its seedy streets full of young ruffians and Syrian refugees, Tarlabaşı oozes with a charming ambiance like no other. Its ...continue
no responses - Posted 12.29.14
Most of Murat Kelle Paça’s clientele stumble in between 1 and 5 o’clock in the morning, after a boisterous night of drinking, concert-going and dancing. Located in the heart of Beyoğlu and surrounded by the best nightlife in Istanbul, if not all of Turkey, Murat attracts one of the most ...continue
1 response - Posted 10.27.14
Farooj al Zaeem is, pretty much, the best kind of restaurant made to resemble the worst kind of restaurant. If the neighborhood – one of Beyoğlu’s most unkempt snatches – doesn’t send you running, then the look of this place, like a knockoff polo shirt with misspellings, will signal that ...continue