NileGuide Expert Says:
One of the best artisan restaurant keeping up its historic flavors and taste, as well as its humble attitude.
Mimar Kemalettin Cad. 5. Vakif Han, Sirkeci
34400 Istanbul, Turkey
tel: 90 212 513 9610
Konyali is one of the oldest, in fact one of the first restaurants of Istanbul and also of the Ottoman Empire. The legendary story of Konyali and its culinary traditions date back to 113 years ago. Konyali was initially a workshop for cooks/chefs with only 4 tables and 16 seats. The place was called "Lezzet" which translates as "taste" to depict the nature and quality of food that the chefs cooked here. In 1920s, Lezzet became Konyali Lezzet Restaurant -transferring first and then transcending the taste element with the name to the establishment. Today, there are three Konyali Restaurants in different parts of the city: one inside the Topkapi Palace, one in Kanyon and one in its original place in Sirkeci. The branch in Sirkeci remains to be the same old place with low priced delicious meals off the counter, hot and fresh. The menu at Konyali Sirkeci includes everything from home-cooked meals to grills, pastry and fish. A few examples include the Turkish salted pastry börek
, which is something that can be eaten at any time of the day. These pastry triangles come in many forms, either stuffed with minced meat or any one of a dozen different kinds of cheese for breakfast. Sulu börek
is a popular form, which resembles a sloppy lasagne filled with goat's cheese. Stewed hot dishes and mashed aubergine salad are among the other favorites. At Konyali Sirkeci, you eat at standing-only counters; and in fact most of the trade is takeaways and deliveries. Inside are photos of some Konyali fans like Haile Selassie and Benazir Bhutto -although they actually ate at the branch inside the luxurious Topkapi Palace, and not at this humble little joint opposite the shanty Sirkeci train station!