On the list of UNESCO’s Creative Cities for gastronomy, Gaziantep is well-known for its rich and colorful culinary scene. If you don’t have the time to visit this city in southeastern Turkey, go to one of the remarkable Gaziantep restaurants in Istanbul to taste the legendary cuisine.
Located in Acıbadem on a busy street on the Asian side, Antebi is quite unassuming on the exterior, much like any other smart kebab restaurant. However, when you open the menu, you quickly spot the signs pointing towards the Southeast. Zahter, içli köfte, lahmacun, and the liberal use of sumac, pistachios, and nar ekşisi all give it away.
Open Tuesday-Sunday, noon-9:30pm. Acıbadem Caddesi No. 84/A, Acibadem; T: (0216) 340 78 20
One of the most renowned names in the kebab business in Istanbul, Develi opened their first restaurant in Samatya (now closed) in 1912, but have since spread across the city. All meat is fresh and seasonal. Specialties include simit kebab made with fine bulghur and mixed spices, Ali Nazik Kebap, and kebab made with keme (Antep truffles).
Open Monday-Saturday, noon-11pm; Sunday, 10am-11pm. Tepecik Yolu No:22, Etiler; T: (0212) 263 25 71; or find information for other branches on www.develikebap.com.
Made famous by the Turkish TV series ‘İkinci Bahar’ (Second Spring), Ali Haydar is much more than a former show set. A genuine Turkish meyhane, it dishes up first class mezes, juicy kebabs cooked on the open grill, and heavenly pistachio filled katmer dessert.
Open daily, 11am-midnight. Gümüş Yüzük Sokak No.6, Samatya; T: (0212) 584 21 62
Gaziantep Burç Oçakbaşı
The Grand Bazaar is filled with tiny restaurants overcrowded with tourists, yet they still serve tasty food. Located on a narrow side street, the Gaziantep style meats (especially the Ali Nazik Kebab) at this unassuming lunch spot are deliciously juicy, and the few seats are always filled with people hungry for more.
Open Monday-Saturday, 8:30am-7pm. Parçacılar Sokak No.12, Grand Bazaar; T: (0212) 527 15 16
In the East of Turkey, breakfast can be just as heavy (and as fiery) as the rest of the meals, particularly if you opt for the classic beyran soup. And that is exactly what most of Dürümcü Emmi’s customers come for. This 24-hour restaurant also makes a good late night choice if you’ve had one too many on Kadıköy’s ‘Bar Street.’
Open daily, 24 hours. Mahmut Baba Caddesi No.11, Hasanpaşa; T: (0216) 348 18 86
Kaşıbeyaz offers Istanbul diners a very rare thing indeed – a seaside restaurant that does not serve seafood. Housed in a large building on the Yeniköy neighborhood on the European shore, Kaşıbeyaz features a glitzy interior and an outdoor terrace. Try one of the Southeastern specialties, such as the Fıstıklı Kebab with pistachios, or the Sadrazam Kebabı which is served with sweet and sour pomegranate sauce.
Open daily, 9am-11pm. Köybaşı Caddesi No.10, Yeniköy; T: (0212) 299 50 00
This longstanding venue specializes in regional dishes from Gaziantep, including kebabs. Housed in the Mabeyinci Ziverbey Villa located in Kısıklı, the location stands out with its mix of Neo-Classical and Ottoman-Seljuk styles. The garden features ancient pine trees and fragrant magnolias.
Open Monday-Saturday, noon-11:30pm, Sunday 10am-10pm. Eski Kısıklı Caddesi No.7, Altunizade; T: (0216) 422 55 80