Friday, January 4, 2008

Best Dinner in Istanbul

I had the most amazing food last night. Jale and I went out to dinner for the first time in a long time at a friends restaurant in Beyoğlu, Istanbul called Mekan Restaurant & Cafe.

First off atmosphere. We were greeted at the door with a warm smile and help with our coats and bags. We were, at our request, shown to a table with a view of the entire restaurant. The light was soothing and the seating comfortable. The decor was eclectic and unique to each table, for instance our table was next to a window with statuary art for the same artist (very classy art not the normal gaudy Ottoman pottery) and the table next to us had a sailing motif in and around its window, but it was done so that they did not detract from each other and we were invited by the eye to look out that window to.

the bread and wine were better than usual here in Istanbul, and I have to say, that speaks volumes because the bread here is great everywhere. The Wine I had was a fantastically smooth red house wine that I gladly sipped on throughout the meal. It was not dry, and it did not have the slightest bite to it. An absolutely adorable Crimson Şarap!

Next was the best Broccoli Soup I have ever had, closely followed by a tray of appetizers. We chose the Cabbage Dolma (a rice mixture wrapped in a cabbage leaf), Tomato and Cheese Salad in olive oil and spice, a Blackeyed pea dish, and a Paté.

You must understand that I am a food addict, and I spend a lot of time repressing the urge to INDULGE in meals because the food here is SSSOOO good, normally I succeed. The Black Eyed Pea dish was very good, the peas were perfectly cooked and presented. The salad was exceedingly good, spiced to perfection and dribbled (not drown) in high quality olive oil, and the dolma was perfectly sweet. I was loosing it, I was beginning to indulge and I knew it. So I went for the Paté because I am not normally a Paté kind of guy. I like it, I will eat it if offered, but I wont go an extra isle in a store to get some. Do you know what I mean? This Paté was TO DIE FOR! I am not going to describe it because I will give the cooks secret away, but not only did I relapse and indulge, I would happily challenge myself not to indulge a few times a week. I was scraping the dish for the last bit of taste I could get! Not only wold I go out of my way to get some of that Paté, I would go miles out of my way to do it.

Then it was time for the main courses, we often get the same dish, because we like the same stuff, but not at Mekan. We got the Meat Dolma (Rice and meat mixture wrapped in a Grape Leaf) and a creamy Eggplant and Chicken dish. Again the Dolma was fantastic and the Eggplant cooked to perfection, now that is hard to do cause I may be a taste fanatic, but I am a cooking idiot, and even I know that Eggplant is extremely finicky! Kinda like a teenager trying to make a Quiche, you either get a quiche or scrambled eggs; there is no in between with eggplant and this chef knew what she was doing.

Originally we tried to decline a sweet at first, but the chef knew something about me by then and offered a half portion of her cheese sweet. How can I turn that down.... Just as the rest of this fantastic meal her cheese sweet was the perfect topping for the meal.

I stood and kissed her hand after we paid about 70.00 YTL for the dinner for two.

We ended up staying in the place for almost 4 hours eating drinking coffee and tea and talking with what are now good friends.

If you have the opportunity to eat here you must. This is not just a nice place, this is what happens when a family of grace, class and character do something they care about just because they love it.

Please experience the devineness of Mekan, you will never forget that you did.

Peace and Love to all