Established in 1876, Hacı Abdullah Lokantası may have moved locations a few times but it has long been a fixture in the Beyoğlu restaurant scene. It is very proud of its history, which has been passed on for well over a century from master to apprentice. The decor at the entrance is pleasant, with large jars of pickled fruits and vegetables lining the walls. The large room at the back is a bit more glitzy, even verging on tacky.
Hacı Abdullah serves Turkish and Ottoman cuisine and the menu changes daily, featuring a selection of some 150 varieties of hot and cold meze options, soups, and main dishes. Not surprisingly for Ottoman cuisine, the focus of the main dishes is on meat, with a wide range of grilled dishes, including hünkar beğendi (pureed eggplants with lamb) and kuzu tandır (tandoori-style lamb). Yet, vegetarians will never be at a loss for something to eat here, with a very good selection of hot and cold olive oil dishes (zeytinyağlılar), soups, and salads on offer.
The restaurant is also famous for its fruit desserts, specifically its baked quince, served with a side of kaymak (clotted cream), as well as fruit compotes. Jars of these delicious mixtures, as well as those of pickles and condiments, dominate the window display and can all be bought to take home with you. They also make Hacı Abdullah easy to spot from the street.
Hünkar beğendi (pureed eggplants with lamb)
Kuzu tandır (tandoori-style lamb)
If you are walking along İstiklal Street from Taksim towards Galata, keep an eye out on your right for the Ağa Cami and turn right down the street after it. You are now on Atıf Yılmaz Caddesi (Sakızağacı Caddesi) and just past the entrance to Mama Shelter hotel you will find Hacı Abdullah on your left.
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