Monday, 3 December 2012

Eating Istanbul: The collective

The food in Istnabul was pretty epic. I've already blogged about the food tour, best kebab and pide in Istanbul as well as my favourite meal at Ciya. Here's a wrap up of everywhere else that we ate during our week in Turkey.

Antiochia, Asmali District

The small Antiochia is located in the Asmali district. If I had more time in Istanbul I definitely would have liked to have eaten in more of the places in Asmali. I picked up some tips of side doors which led up to third floor restaurants that only the locals knew about, but sadly one week wasn't enough time to try them all.....

Antiochia serves feed from the city of Antakaya in Southern Turkey. We were both pretty stuffed with plane food so decided to share a lamb kebab which came served with four small meze of yoghurt, aubergine, humus and red pepper paste. I remember fresh, light and well balanced flavours.

Aubergine ice cream

For dessert I couldn't resist the aubergine ice cream on the menu. What arrived turned out not to be aubergine ice cream, but some sweetened dried aubergine served with a clove ice cream. 

Asmalı Mescit Mah.
Minare Sokak No:21
Phone: +90 (212) 292 1100

Zubeyir, Beyoglu / Taksim

We went to Zubeyi on second evening after Somer tipped it as being the Istanbul version of my local Turkish Meze Mangal.

The multi level restaurant has charcoal grills cooking food to order on both the ground and first floors. When we arrived both these levels were full so we had to take a table on the far less atmospheric second floor. I also forgot my memory card which meant no photos of the evening (apart from the above dodgy iPhone pic).

We shared a mixed grill, of which the kofta was the most enjoyable. All of the meat definitely had quite a lot of smoke which was great.

My local Meze Managal is fantastic and I was hoping that because we were in Turkey this place would be even better. I think I prefer London's finest which isn't a bad thing as it is much closer for me to get to when I fancy some grilled meat!

Zübeyir Ocakbaşı
İstiklal cad. 
Bekar sok. No:28 

Sofyali 9, Asmali
 Calamari salad, ground walmuts with cinnamon 
covered in ground chickpeas and yoghurt
Sofyali 9, located just round the corner from Antiochia, was probably my favourite place in this 'round up' list of restaurants. Somer described it to me as 'his local' when he's in Istanbul and with their excellent meze it isn't hard to see why. 

No sooner had we sat down than the waiters were at or table with an enormous tray of cold meze to choose from. I found this a little unnerving and would have preferred to have been able to look at the main menu first, but we got stuck in and chose the three cold meze you can see above.

Once we'd had a little longer to look at the menu we added three additional warm meze and a salad from the menu.

 Chard leaves stuffed with meat and rice

The stuffed borec was the standout dish. The card (not vine) leaves were also enjoyableas was the special meze of ground walnuts with cinnamon covered in a thin coating made of ground chickpeas.

Follow Somer's advice of sticking to the meze and avoiding the main courses and you should really enjoy this place.

Sofyali borek (meat filled borek pastry)

Sofyali 9
Asmalımescit Cad. 
Sofyalı Sok. No:9 34430

Khorasani, Sultahamet

Festiki (pistachio) kebab

Khorasani is located right in the heart of the Old Town and less than five minutes walk for the Aya Sofya and Blue Mosque. As you'd expect in the heart of the tourist district the restaurant has adapted to the Western style. Out is the concept of small meze to share and in is the more familiar - for the Europeans - starter, main course and dessert.

The presentation might be Western, but the flavours were all pretty on the money. I enjoyed the Festiki (pistachio) kebab. While the Gavurdagi Salatasi / Mountain Salad of fine cut tomato, parsley, onion, walnuts and pomegranite sauce not only looked a treat, but tasted pretty good too.

You could definitely do a lot worse if you are in Istanbul's Old Town and want to avoid the mediocre tourist food.

Gavurdagi Salatasi

Alemdar Mh.  
Ticarethane Sokak No:39

A big thanks to Somer from the wonderful Efendy restaurant in Balmain, Sydney, who provided me with lots of suggestions and recommendations before I headed to Istanbul. Without Somer's help I don't think I would have eaten nearly as well!

Why not check out the map of all the places I ate, visited and stayed while in Istabul?

No comments:

Post a Comment