As the name suggests, Café Istanbul serves Turkish food. Which is lucky really, or you might be led to believe that kebabs are the only Turkish cuisine out.
Istanbul is a great place to go, if (like me) you are a picker. Notorious for my picking, my hand is constantly being slapped for ‘sampling’ other people’s food. Thankfully, Istanbul has huge selection of Mezes available, which are great to order en masse to try them all. Highly recommended are the Sigara Borek – delicious filo parcels filled with cheesy goodness ($8). Or, get a Meze platter ($17.50) and try the lot. Istanbul’s Turkish and Lavash breads are the perfect accompaniment.
Main meals range from $16 to $25 (for the eye fillet steak), and there are a wide selection to choose from. There are at least five lamb dishes, and a handful of each of beef, chicken and vegetarian, as well as a fish of the day. Highlights from the menu include the Ispanakli Borek – spinach, onion, mozzarella and feta filo parcels served with salad and dips ($16). When I went, the special was Kalamar salad – deliciously tender squid rings served with a Mediterranean salad ($18).
They cater well for big groups, with seating for 150, including two huge harem-like booths (make sure you book). Food is served fast and hot, and the waiting staff are tolerant – they barely bat an eyelid at drunk, ravenous students. The last thing I can decipher on my notes is “FUCK YEAH!!”, so it must have been a good one. Did I mention Istanbul is BYO?
156 Cuba St.
Ph 385 4998, www.istanbul.co.nz