Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Memorable Eats in Istanbul

The husband and I were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit Istanbul for one of my best friend’s weddings.  . .and what an amazing and beautiful city it is!  Of course – there is the incredible history and tradition, extremely friendly locals and blend of culture/ethnicity which we got to experience by way of the cuisine.

Three most memorable meals:

Day 1. Dinner at Haci Abdullah just off the main shopping district in Taksim after drinks with the bride & groom and bride’s family at a nearby bar.  Honestly, this meal was one delicious blur as there were so many different dishes, and yes, I may have been a bit tipsy.  The cuisine was traditional Ottoman style and luckily we had a native ordering for us.  There were two rounds of courses- an assortment of cold dishes including an artichoke salad, various stuffed peppers and stuffed grape leaves followed by several hot dishes such as a slow cooked lamb shank, meatballs and rice pilaf.     

Day 2 (and 3).  A brunchy lunch at Taksim Lades, a standard Turkish restaurant catering to both locals and visitors where we devoured a smorgasboard of food- fried eggs with sausage, fried eggs with lamb, clotted cream & honey (and the very reason why I insisted on going back for another breakfast), and fresh vegetables and olives drizzled with extra virgin olive oil- for USD$20!!  The freshness of the ingredients- namely the eggs and tomatoes- was remarkable.

Day 4 (and 6). Lamb and Liver kebap wraps at Durumzade, a hole in the wall kebap joint a few blocks from the boisterous bars in Beyoglu.  You order single or double order of your choice of meat which is then grilled over coals, seasoned with parsley, sumac, onions and tomatoes before being wrapped and placed over the grill one last time before serving.  The result is a simple, perfect meal for $3-5.