Offal minds in Istanbul

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Offal, you either love it or hate it. I love it. Every piece of it, sweetbreads, brain, liver, intestines, heart, testicles, tripe, trotter… When growing up I had the best of offal on my table; lamb brain salad with olive … Continue reading

Eating on the streets of Istanbul!

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I love street food! Love it! Simit, chestnuts, çiğ köfte, döner, kokoreç… You name it, I love it! So I have my stops at various neighbourhoods for different bites depending the time of the day… They are dear to me with … Continue reading

Artichoke, the stage is yours!

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Artichoke chips, paté, zeytinyağlı enginar, sauteed artichokes…. Artichoke cooked every way, for all, from all. It may sound ridiculous to you but artichoke is the king and queen of the vegetables summoned, for me. Not a true vegetable, but belonging … Continue reading

Asmalı Cavit comes to the rescue!

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To how many of you I recommended Asmalı Cavit I really do not recall, since it is the one place I love going over and over again, it is one of my safest places where I always reserve the same … Continue reading

Menemen, eggs so delicious!

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During his college years, he told me they -5 to 15 people!!!- used to stop at Lades (2) Lokantası (just across Lades Lokantası ) for lunch, just to have this menemen. I can imagine the small place filled with students … Continue reading

Lades Lokantası – Istanbul

It is calm inside, free from the enormous Beyoğlu clatter. Walk through the dining saloon, on your right you get to blink to the desserts, and before you reach to the kitchen cold olive oil dishes are ready to steal your tummy, all plated looking very  appealing.

On the hot plate, stews, vegetable dishes, soups, pilav and meat dishes of the day waiting to be picked and to be devoured by the hungry ones. Pick yours and do not forget the tandır, lamb meat cooked in its own jus hours, getting crispier outside, while maintaining to be moist inside.

Their milk desserts like kazandibi is worth a try, it has the right amount of sugar and starch, burnt top leaving you with a caramelized-milky aftertaste.

No music just the spoons and forks scraping the food and a lovely murmur hanging in the air. A typical esnaf lokantası – tradesman restaurant – where everyone knows the specialty of the day like ciğer on Tuesdays or döner on Mondays and Thursdays.

It is a fool proof, safe food away from home, you may become a regular like the rest of their customers.

Address: Sadri Alışık Sk. No:14, Beyoğlu, Istanbul

Phone: (212) 251 3203

Service Hours: Closed Sundays, the other days open through the day.

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Şahin Lokantası – Istanbul

Walking down the Orhan Adli Apaydın Sokak, if you see a crowd of suits and white collars, people gathered, waiting hungrily or smoking happily then you are in front of Şahin Lokantası.

Serving since 1967, Ismail Şahin, known as Şahin Usta or Baba, holding his business together, cooking, talking to customers and sitting on his small desk to cash the bills. The chef is working with him for 32 years, and doing a great job.

When you enter the restaurant, you go directly to the kitchen counter, where you can see a colorful layover of the dishes like çoban kavurma, rice pilaf, lentil soup, chickpea stew, big tray of Izmir köfte topped with hand cut potatoes, tavuk kapama, fırın makarna, kadınbudu köfte and many more. Most of the dishes are cooked in oven. The chickpeas are melting in your mouth, you do not need to add any salt or pepper, the taste is perfect. İzmir köfte, the köfte is  a little spicy, soft, leaving you with a mouthful of flavor. All the ingredients are top notch. He even did not change his butcher for 30 years, nor the  grocery.

You feel you are eating at home. Food from the heart.

Save some space for kadayıf, if it is on the menu that day. The kadayıf is like falling from a grandmother’s hand. Thick, crunchy on the top, moist and silky and soft in the middle with a layer of walnuts, then the bottom is a little burnt, the Golden brownish color. The syrup is just right amount and right sweetness. You can have a whole – believe me the smallest portion is even big- piece of it, yet you continue living.

If you want to have a morning soup, you should go there till 10.00am, or you will be left empty belly. Mondays işkembe – tripe soup, Thursdays paça – trotter soup. The trotter soup is to die for, smooth, silky, well cooked, texture wise perfect.

One important reminder, you may not find all the dishes after 1.30pm, so act up.

Prepare to wait, share your table and eat hearty home cooked meal.

Address: Orhan Adli Apaydın Sk. No:11/A, Tepebaşı, Beyoğlu, Istanbul

Phone: (212) 244 2543

Service Hours: Opens early in the morning for soup service till 5.00-5.30pm. Closed on Sundays.

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