The New York Times has an enthusiastic review of the Turkish cuisine in Istanbul. Lots of choices from humble to high cuisine writes Liesl Schillinger. Her first trip to Istanbul was in 2004. When she returned recently, it was her fourth visit to the city on the shores of the Bosporus.
She started with Cavit, a meyhane (Turkish tapas bar, serving small plates, wine, beer and raki) on Asmalimescit Caddesi.
‘You don’t necessarily go to a meyhane for great food; a bonhomous atmosphere matters more. But Cavit offers both. From the street, it resembles a snug, wood-faced Alpine chalet, but seems to magically expand as you walk in. On a damp, cool night earlier this year, the second-floor dining room was packed to the (exposed) rafters. Murat, as he is known, waved me to a corner table where he and a lively entourage were already carousing, and called for a bottle of raki as a fleet of well-crafted standards began sailing onto the table: patlican salatasi (smoky, roasted eggplant purée with béchamel), tender braised squid, and lakerda — rose-beige petals of cured Black Sea tunny.
We delved into the house specialty, topik, a sweet and savory Armenian chickpea dish that has the smooth-grained, dense texture of halvah. Dotted with raisins and tahini, it melted on the tongue. Piping hot sardines arrived next. Each morsel was made of two silver fillets, placed back-to-back and grilled. On the plate, they resembled shimmering butterflies. We spritzed them with lemon and snapped them up, skins and all.’
Asmali Cavit, Asmalimescit Caddesi No. 16/D, Beyoglu; (90-212) 292-4950; 70 Turkish lira, or about $40 at 1.80 lira to the dollar for a generous assortment for two, without drinks or tip.
Her other recommendations:
Agatha @ Pera Palace Hotel
Sehzade Erzurum Cag Kebabi
Akdeniz Hatay Sofrasi
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