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May 08
Reviews (Eats)
Şimşek Pide Salonu: It’s Better with Butter

Pide hut - photo by Monique Jaques

Turkey’s take on the pizza comes in two distinct varieties. There’s the Arabesque lahmacun, a round, ultra thin-crusted snack topped with a shmear of finely ground meat and seasoning. Then there’s pide, a more substantial canoe-shaped creation that’s a specialty of Turkey’s Black Sea region. In Istanbul, pide joints are almost as common as blaring carhorns, but Şimşek Pide Salonu won our loyalty for its consistently outstanding made-to-order pide and convenient location. Passing the time at one of Şimşek’s outdoor tables on this quiet, sunny side street just off of Taksim Square is a pleasure in itself. Add to that a few pide and you’ve got a party.

To simplify the ordering process, Şimşek’s menu features a pide pictograph. As pictured, the item in question comes in three general forms: round like a pizza, the more traditional oblong, open-faced pide, and the calzone-like kapalı pide. The main components remain the same, regardless of the shape: dough plus toppings, assembled and then fired in a pizza oven.

At this particular venue we prefer the “open” pide with a few toppings. The usta, or master, rolls the dough out long and thin and pinches up a ridge along the edges, forming the crust, which will bubble up and crackle around a chewier center, much like a good Italian pizza pie. Then comes a generous helping of Black Sea blond-colored kaşar cheese, a rich but mild cow’s cheese that hints at mozzarella. Depending on your preferences, he adds tomatoes, peppers, pastırma (slices of cured beef) or ground beef. If you so desire, he’ll even crack an egg over your pide before sliding it into the oven on a long wooden paddle.

A few minutes later the pide emerges with a nicely browned crust and soft, moist center. The final touch is a thorough glazing with melted butter. The Black Sea region is known for its top-tier dairy products, and the food from there certainly tries to prove that point. However, we suggest a pat of butter, rather than a dousing. Just tell the chef, “az tereyağı.” That said, we would agree with the usta at the oven, who explains, “It’s just not pide without butter.”

Address: Taksim Caddesi 8, Taksim
Telephone: 212-249-4642

(photo by Monique Jaques)

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10 Responses to “ Şimşek Pide Salonu: It’s Better with Butter ”
  1. Kırçiçeği, in Ortakoy, is a pide-chain from Izmir. They make Aegean style pide, which is lighter and crispier than the Black Sea style. It’s worth giving a try.

  2. kırçiçegi doesn’t really good enough for tasting or eating.. its expensive n they havent got good service …

  3. mehmet uysal

    May 25, 2009

    For the real pide,getting tastfuly delicious,you have to test LIDER PIDE, ümraniye 0216 4155955,Pls test and write the comment.Pls try Kavurmalı-Soğanlı.

  4. In İstanbul, these are the best places that you can eat pide .Nizam Pide ( Beyoğlu),Fatih Karadeniz Pidecisi (Fatih) and Bafra Pide (Kızıltoprak).Besides pide and lahmacun,there is also etli pide, it should also be tried.

  5. I really like your site. I’m a foodie from NY interning in Istanbul for the summer. I’ve enjoyed your recommendations like the Fasulye Lokanta (amazing!) & Van Kahvalti Ev (also awesome!). So tesskur ederim. One small complaint about this post… I went with a friend the other night to try and eat there and we couldn’t find it. Is this place only open for lunch? If you could mention this type of thing in future posts that would be great. Again, thanks for your hard work (and eating)!

  6. Thanks for the comment and the great feedback. Glad we’ve been able to contribute to your time in Istanbul. As you suggest, we will start noting if a place we review is only open for lunch.

  7. I wanted to go eat at the kofte place you recommended in Taksim, but they were all out! I accidentally found this place and finally tried it. It was definitely delicious and just blew the other two pides I’ve tried out of the water, truly a delicious pide and the location is indeed incredibly convenient. Just make the first right turn as you get onto Istiklal from Taksim Square, its right there.

  8. I confirm, Lider Pide in ümraniye is truly deliscious and I go there many times after work. My belt is not thanking me… 😉

  9. Best pide I have tasted in Istanbul. Made with love. The little things done really……. really well.

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