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Feb 12
Reviews (Eats)
Fıstık Kebap: Much Love for Lahmacun

Love that lahmacun -- photo by Ansel Mullins
Let’s face it: lahmacun is easy to get excited about. It checks all of the boxes of a perfect savory snack – crispy-oven fired crust, light and spicy meat spread, with a fresh green topping and a tangy spray from a lemon. It’s like an artisanal pizza with a Middle Eastern topping wrapped around a side salad – for the cost of a shoeshine.

How anyone could not love lahmacun is beyond us. Still, we hear they are out there. The only explanation is that they never had a really good one. Meaning they never set foot in Fıstık Kebap, the be-all and end-all lahmacun of Istanbul.

Located on the Bosphorus in the upmarket district of Arnavutköy, Fıstık has no use for the pretensions that its address may indicate. This is a down and dirty neighborhood kebab joint with a small seating area and a bustling delivery business. According to the overworked man at the oven, İbrahim Usta, more than 500 lahmacun pass over his paddle everyday. Fıstık also serves the usual kebab selection – Adana, Urfa, chicken – but the main attraction is the lahmacun.

We challenge those not so hot on lahmacun to resist oohing and ahhing as Ibrahim usta slides his paddle into the oven and fetches out a fresh one. The brick oven’s rage renders the crust a bubbled, crispy fantasy – charred here, still soft and pulsing like a soufflé there.

He’ll roll it into a wrap if you like or quarter it before plating it with a small salad for dressing. With a cold glass of şalgam, or fermented turnip juice, this quick bite is the perfect segue from lunch to dinner, or dinner to breakfast. İbrahim mans the oven until midnight.

Address: 1. Cadde No.40, Arnavutköy
Telephone: 212-263-5884

(photo by Ansel Mullins)

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8 Responses to “ Fıstık Kebap: Much Love for Lahmacun ”
  1. I live very close by to Fistik and their lahmacuns are very good..but don’t risk it with the rest of their food.

  2. Ah, the curse of Fistik. Whenever they have good kebabs, they have not-so-good lahmacun or vice-versa. But I guess things will be different from now on, considering the brand new management and crew.

  3. Have you guys tried their fıstık kebap with real pistachios in it? A couple of years ago, we were some quite regulars for the sake of that kebap, yet I never tried their lahmacun. And I haven’t been to the place for some time. Oh, I miss that little, funny upstairs hall with posters of Manhattan on the walls 🙂

  4. Directions from the ferry stop, please. I can’t find it on Google Maps. Thanks.

  5. istanbuleatsenglish

    Mar 23, 2010

    Your best bet is to look for Abracadabra, which is on the main coastal road just near the ferry stop. Walk inland past the entrance to Abracadabra and turn right on the next street. Fistik is one block over.

  6. Many of Istanbul Eats reviews are mapped in Google Maps “Istanbul Eats”
    Fistik Kebap is here:,29.043434&spn=0.00108,0.002645&z=19

  7. This joint is legit and reinforces my prejudice that the southeast produces the best food in Turkey (these guys are from Antep). I have “risked it” with their food, including their spicy and rich cig kofte, and it’s all delicious. The lahmacun is fantastic, I go un-traditional and get the kasarli lahmacun (that is, with cheese). The ezme (spicy salsa) is on point. The name-sake fistik kebap is not a traditional kepab, but is some sort of pide-kebap hybrid. Imagine kebap wrapped in kasar (melty cheese) wrapped in pastry and topped with pistachio dust. Really good, and is the most expensive thing on the menu at 15 TL.

    Abracadabra closed, so don’t plan on using it as a landmark. Just follow the inland road and you’ll see Fistik K. on your right if you’re heading north through A.koy.

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