Where to eat the best lahmacun in Istanbul!


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I crave for lahmacun, all the time, every time! The abusive smell of the mincemeat mixture, the crispiness of the dough and the first bite! I love lahmacun! Who doesn’t?! But I don’t settle for any. Here are my four lahmacun restaurant in … Continue reading

Sarma kokoreç with orzo…


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One great surprise today was the kuzu sarma I came across at Çiya… It was the first of the season, cooked with orzo, it was a true delicacy!  And have to admit it was one of the best things I had at … Continue reading

The colorful Göztepe Pazarı


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Pazar changes its color like seasons. Fruits, flowers, vegetables even the stalls selling homemade produce change… spring is one of the liveliest times and as the summer approaches, I was not surprised to see the heap of clothing switched to heap of … Continue reading

Turşu! Pickles…


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In Turkey we love eating pickled vegetables especially during winter time. With grilled fish, bulgur pilaf, soup, bean or chickpeas stew, as well as any other hearty meal, giving them a little zest. Most of the households love making their … Continue reading

Dondurmacı Yaşar Usta – Istanbul

You bite into the half lemon, catch that thought, then add sip of lemonade, there, you have the perfect tangy slurp of  the lemon ice cream of Yaşar Usta. It is not a shy from lemon ice cream, it is old school. Like all his  other fruit ice creams.

When we met with Yaşar Usta and his ice cream years ago, the melon was my first love. I felt like I am smelling a melon in a pazar. He brushes the skins of melons one by one before using them, he is a passionate man, Yaşar Usta. He does his job with perfection and love.

The strawberry ice cream is better then eating strawberry, for me.  The mulberry -these days may be you can put your hand on some- is sweet with the crunchy little seed popping between your teeth, the water melon – when in season- is great after a full dinner, like a cool breeze in a hot summer night, the orange -mostly in winter- is well, orange! Not to forget sour cherry, raspberry and fig – again when they are in season-. All fruit ice creams are made with fruit and sugar. No milk, pure fruit. Like eating a frozen fruit only better, thicker and richer.

For his milk based ice creams he uses sugar, salep and buffalo milk. The caramel is one of a kind, it is the burnt flavor taking me away, to my childhood and I want to stay there. I almost cried when I first tasted it!

The walnut ice cream is better then any walnut dessert, he also makes tahin ice cream, which has its own customers, you feel eating a cold spoon of sesame paste, only nicer, smoother.

He experiments and does all sorts of ice cream, he believes it tastes good. For all of his ice cream he neither uses additives, nor coloring, nor preservatives. He does with the best ingredient which is available.

Ice cream is never simpler, tastier, better. A true artisan my Yaşar Usta is!

Address: Prof. Dr. Ali Nihat Tarlan Sk. No:34, Bostancı, – yes that small stall in front…

Service hours: Late spring early summer he opens his stall, then when autumn starts turning winter he closes. Open around noon till midnight, mostly. He makes home delivery, during winter, when his small stall is closed for the season.

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Sorry, but no: Kanaat Lokantası – Istanbul

I held myself so long for this entry. It makes me sad as I  write because, Kanaat Lokantası is one of the oldest esnaf lokantası, tradesman restaurants in Istanbul. But the other day, again and again the same thing happened.  Within the last years the quality of the ingredients, the service and the taste of the food, quality dropped insanely.

The rice dishes are undercooked and greasy at the same time, no taste, the meat dishes has a little meat inside and sorry but no taste again, with the chewy meat, the stews are oily and full of tomato paste. You feel like you are full with oil at the end of the meal. Plus, the price per quality ratio is high. No need to return again…

Halil Lahmacun – Istanbul

Two facts about lahmacun.

Must be thin.

Must be crispy.

And must be delicious.

Some with garlic, some with onion. Always good quality flour, meat and a know-how.

Tiny restaurant, Halil Lahmacun has been serving to Istanbul locals since 1980. Their success is the sustainability. The lahmacun is crisp, little burnt on the edges, as for the  ingredients you can taste the onion, the meat, the dough, all at the same time, lovely.  The smell of the cooked thin dough is homey.

Two chefs, usta, working busily, complementing each other. While one kneads and makes little balls of dough, and thins it with a rolling pin, passing on the other chef,  who finishes it by spreading the meat mixture on the dough while stretching it with his fingers.  Then the lahmacuns are laid on the long shovel and hop in the big burning oven.

Served with parsley and lemon on the side, believe me you do not need them.  Just order spicy or plain. Or if you are not in your meat mood, try their peynirli pide, pide with typical Turkish cheese – beyaz peynir – parsley and eggs.

The menu is simple yet fulfilling your lahmacun hunger. That’s why you are at Halil Lahmacun.

Address: Güneşlibahçe Sk. No:26/A, Kadıköy Food Market, Kadıköy, Istanbul

Phone: (216) 337 0123

Service Hours: Open everyday from 11.00am – 11.30am till 9.00pm-9.30pm

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