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
4 responses - Posted 07.02.12
(Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by Jeff Gibbs, a denizen of Istanbul’s Asian side and author of the very engaging blog “Istanbul and Beyond.”) It seems like every İstanbullu I meet has a secret ethnicity lurking in their past. One cousin’s father is a refugee from Bulgaria, a Kurdish ...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
3 responses - Posted 04.13.12
In the world of chicken breast pudding (a traditional Turkish dessert made with thickened milk and thin strands of poached poultry), elasticity is the quality that the confection is judged upon above all else. Tucking into a real tavuk göğsü requires full concentration, a good bit of dexterity and the ...continue
3 responses - Posted 03.05.12
Settling into our first cross-country journey in Turkey many years ago, we were pleasantly surprised by the comforts of Turkish bus travel. The young garson wore a proper uniform and dribbled cologne in our hands every hour or so. Tea was served regularly, accompanied by one of our early Turkish ...continue
17 responses - Posted 02.17.12
(Editor's Note: This guest post was written by Jeff Gibbs, a denizen of Istanbul's Asian side and author of the very engaging blog "Istanbul and Beyond.") On a dark and deserted street in January covered in swirls and swirls of snow, a bright pool of light shines from a ground-level window. ...continue
4 responses - Posted 12.06.11
(Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by “Meliz,” an intrepid explorer of Istanbul’s culinary backstreets and a frequent contributor to these pages who would like to keep her anonymity.) It all started with Laz böreği. It was not just any Laz böreği that showed up at the dinner party that evening, ...continue
16 responses - Posted 11.28.11
About eight years ago, in a cozy little dining room off of an open kitchen, we first encountered the chef Dilara Erbay, who, in her trademark Turko-English patois, barked orders at us and her kitchen staff, thoroughly charmed our table and, most importantly, created delicious, inspired food. Sticking close to ...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
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 09.02.11
For a hungry person in search of the culinary backstreets, an initial look at Yanyali Fehmi Lokantasi, a restaurant at the mouth of the Kadikoy market, does not inspire much confidence. By the door stands a chintzy plaster statue of a chef in a poofy hat holding his paunch. A ...continue