Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I never tire of eating grilled kebaps here.

We’re always up for trying a new kebap restaurant - well, at least new to us. So this weekend, we met another couple in Taksim to dine at Zübeyir Ocakbaşı. This grill house comes highly recommended in the small, local guidebook called Istanbul Eats

Luckily, our friends had stopped by the other day to make reservations because the restaurant’s two floors were packed the whole time we were there. The focal point of our dining room was an ocakbası, a long hearth topped by a copper hood. Here, the meat is placed on long, metal skewers and grilled over hardwood coals. Next time, I’d like to request a table closer to the grill because I always enjoy watching my food being cooked. 

A view of the grill with skewers of kebaps placed on top.
Like every Turkish meal, we started with a round of mezzes and selected two of the book’s recommendations. Kabak salatası (pumpkin salad) was more like a dip instead of a salad made from mashed pumpkin and yogurt. Secondly, we chose the Gavur Dağı Salatası - a combination of chopped tomatoes, parsley and greens with pomegranate molasses dressing and olive oil. We quickly made good use of the “refillable” basket of flat breads on our table and dug in.
Gavur Dağı Salatası

Thirdly, we also had the common, popular patlıcan közde (grilled eggplant) with onions, garlic and tomatoes.

For our entrees, we selected three kebaps that we could share. These included: kanat (chicken wings), pirzola (lamb chops) and kaburga (lamb ribs). Everything was perfectly grilled and had a hint of that charcoal-goodness. We probably could have eaten more, but we didn’t necessarily need it either.

The plate of meat! A few grilled veggies usually are added too.

During our meal, somehow we started talking to the young child (about 6 or 7 years old) at the table behind us. That’s about the level of my Turkish skills! He was an entertaining kid and was showing us various pictures he had drawn.

After our delicious meal, we wandered across the street to U2, ironically an Irish pub, to toast a pint with our friends and celebrate a belated St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re in the neighborhood, I’d definitely recommend stopping by the kebap restaurant.

Reservations recommended.
Zübeyir Ocakbaşı
Bekar Sokak 28
Beyoğlu, Istanbul

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