MondayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
It wasn’t quite as dramatic as Meg Ryan’s big moment at Katz’s Deli in When Harry Met Sally, but a low-register, guttural moan of pleasure was detected from our table when we tasted the shredded celery root in yogurt, a house specialty meze at Çukur Meyhane. And we weren’t faking it.
We stop into scores of meyhanes, or traditional Turkish tavernas, and eat more yogurt mezes than we care to report, all for the sake of finding that one masterful meze among the goopy masses. Most mezes in Istanbul are fine, but very few can be considered orgasmic.
Çukur Meyhane, a small, slightly shabby, basement meyhane in Beyoğlu’s Galatasaray area, certainly does not look like the kind of place with any shining stars on the menu. On one of our very first visits, the floor seemed to be covered in a mixture of sawdust, table scraps and some cigarette ash. The tiny open kitchen occupies one corner, while the VIP table – where a group of old-timers can be found watching horse races on TV, scratching at racing forms, cursing and cheering – takes up a slightly larger area.
The rest of this previously featured review can be found on CulinaryBackstreets.com, here.
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1 response - Posted 01.14.13
We are unabashedly fanatical in our love of hamsi, or anchovies, a late fall/wintertime specialty whose arrival we eagerly await each year in Istanbul, where the tiny fish are most commonly served pan-fried, grilled or in pilaf. But as any hamsi aficionado knows, for the best anchovy-eating in Turkey one ...continue
no responses - Posted 01.07.13
Dear Istanbul Eats, I’ll have an eight-hour layover in Istanbul and was wondering if you have any suggestions for places to go for a good Turkish breakfast and lunch. I love to eat at small, local places serving authentic food. I would prefer restaurants in the Yeşilköy area, as I have ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.26.12
We can’t prove it, but we suspect a network of tunnels lies underground in Beyoğlu that connects most of the meyhanes of Asmalımescit and Nevizade Sokak to the same mediocre kitchen, resulting in unexceptional mezes at scores of venues in this dining district. Following a number of tips, our search ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.12.12
The arrival of fall in Istanbul usually means one thing for us: hamsi season is about to begin. Hamsi, of course, are the minuscule fish (Black Sea anchovies) that Istanbulites are mad about, and the coming of fall and the cooling of the waters of the Black Sea mark the beginning ...continue
no responses - Posted 10.15.12
Diners in Istanbul are spoiled with options for fresh seafood. But most venues are mere caricatures of places like İsmet Baba, where traditions have been kept sacred for more than 50 years. While many other such restaurants are kitschy, İsmet is gritty and authentic. Located in Kuzguncuk, a charming neighborhood ...continue
2 responses - Posted 07.30.12
In the evolutionary process of the Istanbul fish restaurant, there was a moment in the late 1990’s when the amphibious, shore-hugging boat restaurants crawled out of the Bosphorus and became land dwellers. Overnight, yellow Wellington boots became black loafers as seafaring grill men became restaurateurs and waiters. Some rue the day ...continue
1 response - Posted 04.25.12
Istanbul's Princes' Islands, a lovely archipelago just off the city's Asian shore, offer what we believe to be the best travel bargain anywhere in the world. Whenever we're in need of a vacation but can't afford the airfare, a ferry awaits to take us to the islands. For the price ...continue
no responses - Posted 04.18.12
Turns out New Yorkers are only now discovering what Turks have known for eons: that the humble anchovy is absolutely delicious (particularly when lightly coated in flour or cornmeal and fried). As an article in today's New York Times explains, anchovies -- known as "hamsi" in Turkish -- are being ...continue
5 responses - Posted 01.11.12
Dear Istanbul Eats, I've heard and read so much about the historic Pandeli restaurant in Eminönü's Spice Bazaar, including that it's nothing more than an overpriced tourist trap. Have you been there recently? Is it worth going to? Concerned in Cincinnati Dear Concerned, Thanks for the great question. Pandeli is indeed a venerable spot ...continue
4 responses - Posted 10.31.11
The arrival of fall in Istanbul for us usually means just one thing: hamsi season is about to begin. Hamsi, of course, are the minuscule fish (Black Sea anchovies) that Istanbulites are mad for, and the coming of fall and the further cooling of the Black Sea’s waters mark the ...continue