It is a bit of a contradiction, yet most welcomed, that the hidden and most casual eating spots are the ones that serve the best kind of food. Mutfak Dili (translating to ‘Kitchen Language’) located in the back streets of the Karaköy neighborhood near the famous Perşembe pazarı (the area lined with hardware stores), is exactly one of these places, exuding the vibe of a family kitchen rather than a restaurant.
After a walk through Tersane Caddesi, where the sidewalks are strewn with the items of hardware stores that line the streets, a right turn into Ziyade Sokak leads to a poster pointing toward Mutfak Dili. The blue and gray exterior of the little restaurant appears with a large sign marking its presence. Inside a kind of spotlessly clean demeanor, high ceilings, wooden tables and chairs, and walls decorated with pictures of customers, all merge to create a welcoming atmosphere.
Run by Hayguhi Hanım and her husband Levon Bey, Mutfak Dili is always crowded with the local and hungry shop owners and wandering tourists; a harbinger for the quality of the dishes. Classic Turkish home cooked meals such as Salçalı Köfte (Turkish meatballs with herbs and spices topped with a tomato paste sauce) and Patlıcan Oturtma (eggplant and ground meat casserole with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic) are all prepared as if by the hands of a loving mother. For dessert, the Sakızlı Muhallebi (milk pudding with mastic) and Cevizli Bülbül Yuvası (bird-nest shaped pastry with walnuts and syrup) add a sweet ending to a satiating home cooked meal. Everyday the menu changes according to seasonal ingredients and can be found at the restaurant's website.
On special occasions, such as Easter, Hayguhi Hanım prepares Armenian dishes, such as topik (made with crushed sesame seeds, chickpeas, potatoes, onions and spices) that are made to order. Tersane Caddesi, Ziyali Sokak No. 10, Karaköy; P: (0212) 254 11 54