The Akdeniz Hatay Sofrasi restaurant represents by all means a corner in Turkish cuisine. This is where you will find kebabs of one meter, burning clay pots with the most tender chicken or lamb and a load of other pleasant surprises. It’s located on a horrible boulevard between the conservative Fatih and the run down Aksaray districts of Istanbul, where few tourists venture unless they are in a taxi taking a detour to the airport.
Hatay is the name of the province clinched between Syria and The Mediterranean which has been under Ottoman, French, Syrian and now Turkish rule as well as heavy Armenian influence. All have left their mark on the local kitchen and the Hatay Sofrasi has taken the best of Hatay and added extravagant designs so that the food is not only a show of excellent taste, but also a show by itself.
The best among equals is the Pasha Kebab that stretches over one full meter and is served on an equally long skewer. It’s made of hand minced lambs meat, pistachios and Hatay spices, and is probably the tastiest kebab you will find in Istanbul.
Given it’s location in a conservative neighbourhood it’s a no alcohol restaurant which attracts Turkish families with head scarf women as well as diplomats from Arab consulates, but it’s very much a love all, serve all kind of place.
Akdeniz Hatay Sofrasi, Iskenderpasa Mahallesi, Ahmediye Caddesi 44/A, Fatih, Istanbul
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