I had never been to a Turkish restaurant, nor have I ever tried Turkish food before, so I was intrigued when I received an invitation to dine here.
Taking over a previous Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills, Cafe Istanbul has managed to create an authentic and friendly Mediterranean environment.
Much of the menu appeared to be traditional middle eastern/Mediterranean fare. Hummus, baba ganouj, kabobs, ect. There were a few items that seemed to appear more specifically Turkish, so we made sure to order them.
My Choban Kavurma was like a Turkish beef stew. Super tasty, high quality meat stewed with tomatoes and onions, topped with mozzarella. What’s not to love?
I really loved the Tilapia with Tahini, super crazy moist fish (almost melt in your mouth) with a really addictive sauce.
The Chicken Kabob and Adana Beef dishes seemed more in the line of food I’ve had before, but both impressive.
As far as appetizers, everyone loved the Cigar Borek. Phyllo filled with feta, herbs and mozarella, yum!
No one really cared for the grape leaves and I kind of forget what the fried kibbeh tasted like. Perhaps a little bland until you dipped them in the tahini sauce.
The baklava were tasty but not as sweet as I’m used to but what really stood out as being unique were the Kunefe. Kunefe are patties made from bits of fried, sweet phyllo stuffed with a mozzarella like cheese (maybe it WAS mozarella). Kind of tasted like a mix between a hash brown, a pancake and a mozarella stick. Worth trying!
Everyone else in the restaurant seemed like they were Turkish and sang along to the songs the musician played on his guitar. It was a fun atmosphere, like being part of a Turkish wedding reception.
The only part of the evening that bugged us was the 30 minutes or so it took to get and finally pay our bill. I know it’s part of many culture’s tradition for 4 hour meals but I had a car parked in a precarious spot and Bun Boy didn’t want no ticket!
So, come to Cafe Istanbul if you’re in the mood for a long, leisurely and delicious meal and are not in a hurry to go home.
It’s two days later and we’re still here, FYI.
326 S Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 91212