Tag Archives: Turkey

Karadeniz – Istanbul, Turkey


Karadeniz Restaurant

(90)  212 258-6290
Başka Şubemiz Yoktur
Istanbul, Turkey

12:00pm  7:00 pm – daily

After visiting the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, we walked around the corner to a very touristic arcade bereft of the food options we’d come to expect as our due in Istanbul! The market was a small passage full of shops selling higher quality handcrafts (for the most part), at very high prices with only a few places worth.  We were going to write off the whole market when ….

Towards the end of the passage we came upon a group of men eating some exceptionally yummy looking food, and us being quite hungry at the time, started staring and wondering where did they get their delectable dishes!  Not a minute passed when the men, with true Turkish hospitality, asked if we wanted to try it!  Of course we did 🙂  After a single scrumptious sample, we got the convoluted directions and after a short walk (and couple of wrong turns) we ended in a closed alley with a few local cafeterias, of which  our destination – Karadeniz – was one.  Oh how lucky we can sometimes be 🙂

We ordered the kiremitte kebap, a lovely stew of tomatoes, herbs an eggplant;  – that dish what we had sampled from the men in the arcade.  The Çoban Chopped Salad and a Pide Turkish pizza.

If you are in the area, and wish to eat like locals, then a side bar at Karadeniz is a must.

Karadeniz_005kiremitte kebap
Karadeniz_002Çorba, a red lentil soup with lemon
Karadeniz_004Çoban Chopped Salad



Çiya – Istmbul, Turkey


Çiya Restaurant

(90)  216 30-3190
Caferaga Mah. Güneslibahce Sk. 48/B  –
Kadiköy, Istmbul, Turkey


11:00am  10:00 pm – daily

Located in Kadiköy, on the Asian side of the Bospherous, Çiya is not an obvious place, but is quite renowned.  We had the luck of chatting with Yonca Erol manager of the Sekerci (Confectioner) Cafer Erol and after exchanging passionate  stories of food, she literally held our hand and walked us up the hill, via narrow streets, all the way to Ciya.  There, she introduced as vegetarians to Zeynep Çaliskan (part owner and wife of Musa Dağdeviren) and ordered for us.  The exquisiteness and the flavours and freshness of every ingredient were astounding throughout our entire meal.

Opening in 1987, the excllelence quickly expanded.  There are now 3 of thier restaurants on the same road –   Ciya Sofrasi, Ciya Kebap & Ciya Kebab II (where you can get about 40 different kabob flavours!)

Chef/ proprietor Musa Dağdeviren has amazing knowledge in the various traditions of Anatolian, Ottoman, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Turkish, Seldjukian, Armenian, Ottoman, Syrian, and Jewish foods.  He has lectured at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, California and written articles in about by every major food publication – worldwide.

Fortunately for many of us chef Musa and his lovely wife Zeynep Çaliskan have decided to share with the world the results of his extensive research in the culinary traditions of this vast region.  This is distilled into a seasonal publication called Yemek ve Kültür (Food and Culture) The Magazine is beautifully designed with traditional folkloric illustrations

Highlights for us included:

  • Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses
  • Cheese and spiced apricot phyllo ‘cigars’
  • Stuffed dried eggplant
  • Carrot and pistachio fritters with chili yoghurt sauce
  • Oregano Thyme tea – as a digestif;
  • grape extract
  • “lahmacuns” – a kind of thin-crust pizza baked with mince, onions and tomatoes
Ciya_016lavaş bread
Buda (wheat meze),  Sikma Kofte  (bulgur onion and yogurt dip)
Ciya_021Sikma Kofte  (bulgur onion and yogurt dip), Seaweed, Mahammara (red peppers and walnuts dip), Moa Mara (curry pasta),  Risvat otu yogurt bulgur soup
Ciya_017Nebrus (keme mushroom kebab),  Zaffron cheese, Sibma kefta (bulgur balls)
Ciya_024Black mulberry extract
green elixir of mint, apple & parsley
above from left Zeynep Çaliskan & Yonca Erol from Cafér Erol
Yemek ve Kültür
Yemek ve Kültür
Yemekve Kültür


Şekerci Cafer Erol – Istanbul, Turkey

8(above photo Kapat – pistachio paste © Şekerci Cafer Erol)

Şekerci (Confectioner) Cafer Erol

(90)  216 337 1103 Yasa Cad. No:19
Kadiköy, Istanbul, Turkey

7:30am  10:00 pm – daily

Yonca Erol  is foremost a charming woman; she is also a member of the Cafer Erol family, and the manager of  the Şekerci Cafer Erol.  Founded in 1807 this magnificent confectioner store as expanded to five branches around Istanbul.   Yonca was more then happy to chat and lecture us on the different techniques used in the production of their wonderful sweets.  After a thorough tasting and aquiring a variety of gifts for friends and family – Yonca walked us all the way to Ciya, her favorite food spot in Kadiköy (but more about that on a different post :).

2(above photo mix akide candy © Şekerci Cafer Erol)

Cafer Erol  is lined with widow refrigerators holding delectable looing chocolates, filo pastries, halvas, honey cakes, marzipan and a 100 other sweets.  On top of beautiful large glass jars with brass tops, are filled Ottoman sweets.

One such is the “Akide” pulled sugar.  The Erol’s are flavored with honey, real fruit extracts, fresh spices and nuts.  To the untrained eye the might seem like ordinary candy flavored with synthetic components and lots of unhealthy corn syrup; but these confections are exceptional due to technique and the quality of the fresh ingredients.

Our favorite Akide was the bergamot. This candy is made according to the old traditions –  cooking the sugar in copper cauldrons over wood fire to a specific temperatures.  Once it starts cooling and before it fully hardens the flavors are added, and the sugar is pulled.  This is what gives the candy it’s outer shine. We brought some home in some of the fantastical gift containers on offer; a fez hat and sultans’ turbans as well as copper bowls

6(above photo Turkish delight with hazelnut © Şekerci Cafer Erol)

Turkish Delight, or Lokum, is a sweet dating from the 17th century.  It was initially made with honey, molasses and flour.  Through times eventual erosion, the basic components changed to refined sugar and starch; to help it acquire a silkier texture.  Cafer Erol produces about thirty different flavors of this national sweet.

Be sure to swing by, say hello to Yonca and to give a little gift to your sweet tooth!

14(above photo Turkish delight with walnut © Şekerci Cafer Erol)
3(above photo akide candy © Şekerci Cafer Erol)
4 (above photo fruit jelly © Şekerci Cafer Erol)
sekerci-cafer-erol_005 Şekerpare – honey cake


 sekerci-cafer-erol_002Bergamot oil akide candy