Friday, September 21, 2012

Cozy Pub & Restaurant Istanbul Turkey

For our final day in Turkey while untrained eye. We took a subway to Taksim, then a taxi ride to Sultanahmet and short walk to Divanyolu. Pradaoxally it's not so easy to find a restaurant in Istanbul near Sultanahmet is an interesting place that occupies a series of many restaurants and small store spaces along the street. Istanbul is a vibrant city full of surprises, one of those surprises is the food. While looking for place to eat, we stumbled into this place called Cozy Pub is located on the main street at Sultanahmed. One of the oldest restaurants in Istanbul. Its just near the tramway and on the main pedestrian street is just right behind the Blue Mosque (see picture) with great views from the terrace. The menus were straight forward with pictures on it. They have a large menu that can satisfy any taste: meat, seafood and vegetarian.
Dinner at Cozy Pub was spent in a cozy with candlelit nook so the pictures it wasn't clear.  Going back to the food!!! I chose to get a side portion of egg plant salad was nice and simply made; aubergine puree, olive oil with minimal seasoning  and great balance of lemon juice.
Next up, the second salad itself consisted predominantly of bite-sized pieces of smoked salmon with romaine lettuce, some sliced of tomatoes, pickle cucumber, onion and capers. They were fresh and it was a perfectly nice salad.
Then on to the main course; My husband, in particular, loves their stir fry shrimps with chicken meat and mixed vegetables which complement the pilaf and roasted potatoes. The stir fry dish have a solid spice flavor to them, which is either a great or a bad thing, depending how you feel about. This dish was absolutely savory and delicious.
We opted for kebabs and my daughter went with chicken kebab so flavourful and complemented the roasted potatoes and pilaf rice beautifully.
My son and I, we chose their lamb kebab which came with a plate of a pilaf rice and roasted potatoes as well. The lamb kebab was a little disappointing it was hard, dry and pretty under seasoned which predictably plain.
The final course of the evening was dessert. We had kunefe and kazandibi with ice cream to share. Breaking up traditional Turkish desserts with influenced French and Italian on their menu was a crepe and tiramisu. Just before we order our dessert someone came up and highly recommended to us was a kunefe that has not been included in the menu. They told us it was one of their secret Ottoman sweet dessert. Künefe which is made with shredded pastry filled with fresh cheese, baked, covered in light syrup and topped with pistachios. Künefe is served hot so the cheese is gooey, and this is absolutely phenomenal.
The kazindibi with ice cream was a burnt chicken breast budding was simply made; milk, sugar, potato starch, sugar, some spice and etc. etc. It sounds like an odd combination but it was so right. It was not overly sweet which was perfect and slightly smooth and chewy, like mochi. It's something you would eat last, felt very much like a palate cleanser.
The chocolate banana crepe, my husband had selected this plate. A generous amount of chocolate sauce that they've laced with whipped cream, next to a crepe stuffed with banana slices.
The tiramisu it was relatively decent. The service was slow, makes you feel thirst and order more drinks while waiting for the food to serves. Its almost late at night when we finished but the waiters who seemed always eager to please. The food was good and reliable except the lamb kebab. The atmosphere was clean cozy, romantic indeed and we ate on the roof top. The kazindibi and kunefe are definitely our favorite. It was incredible desserts that you have to try when you’re in Turkey.
Cozy Pub & Restaurant
Divanyolu Cd. No 66, Istanbul, Turkey

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Meşhur Köfteci Ali UstaTekirdag & Sütiş Taksim Istanbul Turkey

I heard about this place, It’s notorious and famous for its delicious meatballs (köfte). After getting very bored with only buffet meals. We were so pleased when we arrived and entered the restaurant. The place was packed with locals but the service was quick and attentive. On an unassuming corner on main road.  Meshur Köfteci Ali Usta was casually elegant open-air it creates bright and roomy ambiance and it had a lively atmosphere.
For the first course, we were served the shepherd salad of onion, cucumber, tomatoes with parsley.
The second course was the daily soup, this being Turkey, we were of course provided with an entire lentil soup which was a bit bland and watery.  
And then came lamb kopte with sigara böreği or Turkish cheese spring rolls, garnish the plates with some sort of vegetable or salad. The meatballs itself it might be look like the skinless longaniza it reminds me of home. The difference though, is that kofte meatballs can have any variety of meats, and spices added to it. However, is the way this dish is cooked-grilled to perfection. Skinless longaniza can also be prepared with different types of meat, which have a peppery salty, sweet and sour taste, similar to hamonado. The kofte tekirdag is typical of soft consistency, however lacked a little flavor and were a bit dry and  slightly bland disappointment.
Well all the the choices we were given on the tour itself, not much seafood. They also offered up some pretty grilled chicken kebab marinated with saffron a tangy and tart spice essential in Middle Eastern cuisine. It quickly became one of my favorite dishes in Turkey. The chicken kebabs are tender juicy meat  has a nice creamy little sauce. The food that ensued was one of the best we’ve had after a long time on track with buffet meals.
Meshur Köfteci Ali Usta
Ertugrul Mh.  59100 Tekirdag/Tekirdag Province, Turkey
0282 261 3590
My daughter and I was having eye surgery at the Memorial Hospital in Istanbul because of the bus accident on our way back to Istanbul. We have been staying at the Sheraton Istanbul Maslak Hotel for a couple days. My husband and our son went to Taksim and were brought us a typical Turkish meal would be complete without eating more kabob, known in Turkey as the kebap. chicken, lamb and kofte, which is a spicy meatball, that I was looking forward on our entire journey in Turkey. Sütiş is located on the Taksim Square in Istanbul featuring various meat dishes, salads, and a huge selection of sweet desserts. They will let you choose some small, large or half portions so you can taste the wide variety of grilled meat they combine.
One quick note on the fresh vegetables and salad pictured here. The salad shines in its simplicity and dressed in olive oil  was a bit bland but good!
Finally we have to mention their Pide which is described fairly as Turkish pizza. I suppose that's the nearest description. It's a shape oblong bread base with few toppings then it's folded over around the edges. We had one with a very tasty sausage and cheese lovely and melted, and one with mince both were amazing.
I was envious of the mixed grill such as meat balls, lamb shish kebab, chicken kebab, isknder kebab with grilled reb bell pepper and green chili. Perfectly cooked, every single piece was coated with sauce, oozing with grease and accompanied by bulgar rice and mashed potato. All are quite good and are a good budget choice for lunch or an affordable dinner.
I did not try the döner wrap but, I was surely that it was good!
And they did was bring out a Turkish bread which is crusty on the outside.
Out of all the desserts; We sampled lokum in different flavor like rosewater with pistachios, hazelnuts.
Pistachio baklava deserves credit. Unleavened dough is crisp, flaky and a light not-too-sweet. Something that I can make in my own kitchen. The food at Sutis was great and reasonably priced. If you're looking for good place to try! Without a doubt, this was the best meal we have had. Well recommended this restaurant.
Sutis Taksim
Istiklal Caddesi No. 7 Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Iris Hotel Canakkale Turkey

For several days in Turkey, I’ve had all kinds of experiences in hotels, some good others not so good. The Iris Hotel is located near Canakkale beach far from the crowds. When we arrived at the place, it was about 2 hours  before sunset.
We were brought to their eating place and had buffet dinner!  Ask for a room with a balcony as it is lovely to sit outside.
They have a outdoor swimming pool which is very nice way to relax after a whole day tour in the Ancient City of Troy.
The hotel has a full of pines, fruits-pomegranate trees and shaded lightly with olive trees. I adorned the garden.
It was unbelievable, especially since it was a warm, clear night with only a light breeze perfect weather for sitting at a table near the seaside to enjoy dinner with beautiful sunset views from the restaurant. As for the buffet, there is a nice variety of items. Most of the food was vegetables but in the many stews, pilavs and salads with tons of olive oil. Maybe most of Turkish don't eat too much meat. Apparently the buffet food we felt the same just like every other hotel buffet dinner and breakfast as well.
And now, the first course of the evening: A mixture of tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini and chopped green chilli salad and sliced Turkish fresh feta cheese on top. Perfectly balanced with onions and parsley tossed in fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
The buffet also has a soup item. Today’s soup is a red lentil soup also known as kırmizi mercimek çorbasi which is seasoned with dried mint and oregano.
Despite my initial desires to fill up more on vegetables, then moved on the row of vegetarian delights. Where I grabbed a small scoop of acuka, baby okra, marinated mushrooms, artichokes, steamed baby spinach, aubergines mainly stewed in a pepper and tomato sauce. For a bit of added substance I accompanied my stuffed surprises with a barbunya pilaki-borlotti beans. Apparently beans are one of the things that Turkey is famous for.
I was always pretty full after the mezze but I did have main courses. They mainly consisted of light chicken stews with tomato and red bell peppers, lamb stew, deep fried fish fillets with rice. There were 2 chefs stood by the buffet in a main course section and serving hot dishes from heating trays.
There’s a dessert table, which included a decent selection of sweets and prepared melons, fresh apricots and much more.
I was not motivated to eat a lot of desserts. It was too sugary then I pick one, as you can see, is a classic rice pudding au gratin (firin sütlaç) which wasn’t too bad. It was creamy with rice texture and a light sweetness. Over all was a decent meal, despite being a buffet, the quality of the food does not suffer there's something for everyone.
Iris Hotel
Mola Caddesi No:48, Canakkale 17070, Turkey 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Grand Belish Hotel Kusadasi Turkey

After the Ephesus tour we proceeds straight to Grand Belish Hotel located on the long beach at Aegean coast. We arrived in hotel just in time for a dinner. After checking out our room we waded back through the to the restaurant. However, by the time we got there all we wanted to do was check out near by the hotel if any kebab or grilled restaurant. But we arrived almost past 8 o' clock in the evening. We decided to join with our group, eat quick and go to sleep early to get a head start and head on Troy.
View from our bedroom
Standard Twin Room
The room is quite basic and clean; good enough as a temporary, There are robes and towels on the dressing table which you can use if you intend to use their pool.
The view from the hotel pool and it was taken early morning during breakfast.
The restaurant had a lively atmosphere and it was crowded and overflowed with young and adults European tourist. The menu consisted from a multi-level display case full of Turkish Mediterrenean dishes, like veg-salads with various sauces , cold pasta, meats, fresh cheese and herb mixture, breads and sweet pastries.
I chose to start with the soup (süzme mercimek çorbasi) it was piping hot and tasted wonderful!
As for my appetizers, I had a cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots mixed greens, chilli pickle and a light yogurt dressing.
After finishing the salads, I headed down to the salad section for the second round. With over a dozen salad items, I had a hard time to select a few items. So I decided that I had to try some cold pasta or macaroni salads, cheese, roasted red bell peppers with chopped black olives.
Later on my husband saw that there were fresh fish being grilled outside the restaurant, right by the outdoor dining area. He finally returned to the table and bringing me with this local fish simply grilled.
The main buffet items may not have been that hot, but the specialty items, such as the stew meat section was certainly as fresh as it could get. For my main, I selected the lamb with carrots-mushroom-potato stew and beef stew, mainly consisted of light stews with tomato, some bulgur rice.
But then of course there was some dessert to be had. I fill my plate just a few, I wasn’t able to finish everything. But did get to take a few bites from each dessert. Instead I have to think to myself… I don’t want to load up on the desserts it was so sugary sweet. The leche flan it was one bland bite after another and some Turkish sweets that we've seen. Like; vezir parmağı tatlisi and ayva tatlisi, it basically tastes like fine sugar and honey syrup that melts on your tongue. It was overly sweetened and you know while eating it that it must be so unhealthy.
There was a complimentary breakfast buffet waiting for us in the morning. I am a foodie person but I only can eat a little. I got some hotdogs, hams or salami I guess, tomato with cheese, mozzarella, cheese and herbs, orange juice and compliment to my morning coffee! The ham and hotdogs it was chewy, rubbery, taste like plastic. Probably the most worst breakfast we ever had. So all in all it was a decent meal. The place is suitable for families, company dinner and big groups of diners. By the way, drinks are extra here even water you have to pay extra.
Grand Belish Hotel
Alacay Mevkii Davutlar Kusadasi. Turkey

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Aziziye Restaurant Kusadasi Turkey

The Aziziye restaurant is located only 8 kilometer away from Kusadasi and few kilometer away from Ephesus Antique City and sacred place of Virgin Mary. The interior is a stylishly contemporary but traditional a sense of cosiness, spacious enough to accomodate groups. They had at least shops situated right next to each other.
We ate at this restaurant as part of our Biblical Tour of Ephesus. The semi-buffet dishes were modified to suit local tastes you will be able to find items ranging salads, casserole chicken, aubergine, potatoes or vegetables cooked in olive oil and more are displayed on serving trays. For appetiser, we started off with this light salad of cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, fennel and green chilli pickle tossed in balsamic vinegar was simple yet refreshing.
The red lentil soup with very subtle and exquisite flavors has an even, smooth consistency which is just meant for soaking the bread in.
And though there are some veggies stew and salad items. I usually end up enjoying the lentil salad and vegetable dishes more than the protein items.
On my curiosity I try the yogurt drink a foamy and bubbly Ayran. I'm not gonna say negative or positive comment about this drink. Have you ever tried Ayran? I would love to hear from you.
The one meat dish, a simple chicken stew paled in comparison under seasoned and a dab of saffron rice and mixed vegetables.
 At the end of the meal have a small cup of Turkish coffee for extra order.
As for the Turkish desserts, I had a few desserts and share with my family, were all a little bland and overly high in sugar. Overall I really liked the atmosphere and the food didn't involve anything grilled and nothing special but pretty good regardless.