WednesdayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
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 beautiful architecture, dating back to Ottoman times, is covered in layers of soot and filth that cover unmistakable beauty.
Most charming of all is its resident menemen chef, İsmail Amca (“uncle” in Turkish), one of the more adorable Turkish characters we’ve met. He enjoys his retired life making the elemental egg dish menemen on the corner of Kurdela Sokak, a bustling thoroughfare that on Sundays is host to Tarlabaşı’s colorful weekly bazaar. An Istanbul native, İsmail Amca used to work odd jobs in factories before he retired and opened up his little menemen shop just over two years ago. Bubbling with friendliness and with a warm smile that is unmatched by any, İsmail Amca instantly makes you feel at home in his dark and cramped little kitchen, which has only a couple of tiny chairs and tables scattered about.
Read the rest of the review at Culinary Backstreets.
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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
no responses - 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
no responses - Posted 10.15.14
The brothers Altu and Erol Aslan, who operate the Yeni Melek corner store on Ayhan Işık Sokak in Istanbul’s Beyoglu neighborhood, have a legitimate complaint against their next-door neighbor, Tarihi Kalkanoğlu Pilavcısı. The shop – morning, noon and night – really does reek of butter. For those unfamiliar with the ...continue
no responses - Posted 09.04.14
Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? In fact, over at Gastronomika, a new Istanbul culinary project, the food is served not only free of charge but also with an intriguing – and ambitious – backstory. As Gastronomika’s founders describe it, the project is “an open-source, long-term, community ...continue
no responses - Posted 07.09.14
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
no responses - Posted 05.29.14
The departure of Aret, our favorite garson in the city, had us reconsidering our love of this little cubbyhole meyhane where we've spent so many nights over the years. With our loyalty to Aret and his to us, would it not be cheating to return to Çukur when Aret now runs his own place just a ...continue
no responses - Posted 04.16.14
With all of the anticipation of local elections in March, the scandalous graft-laden tapes leaked via social media, the communication fog brought on by the ban of Twitter and YouTube and the subsequent call for a vote recount in many cities, this city’s stomach had good reason to be distracted. ...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 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
1 response - Posted 09.12.13
It is puzzling that Istanbul, a city of some 15 million people with an increasingly lavish lifestyle, a world-famous cuisine and a booming tourism industry, has so little sparkle when it comes to fine dining. We’re surprised that the Prime Minister himself has not jumped into the culinary scrum by ...continue