If you’re meeting friends in Taksim, the chances are fairly high that you’ll be waiting, along with everyone else, outside Burger King. And it’s also likely that you’re hungry and feeling tempted by the smell of döner kebab wafting out from the row of büfes nearby. If you can make it just a few doors further down on Istiklal (no. 13 ) you’ll find every kind of kebab you could ever dream up.
Kebab Dunyası is another place I’ve visited many times and always take visitors. Three floors host a mix of Turkish and foreign diners and seem to be busy at most times of the day. A picture menu helps make sense of the bewildering array of kebabs but before you get to that part there’s lentil soup that comes with fresh pita, or a range of mezes or their fantastic çig köfte (raw meatballs). If you’re not as hungry as you thought you’d be after all that, you could forgo the kebab for your next visit (because you’ll definitely be back) and go for lahmacun (thin, crispy, Turkish pizza with minced meat and spices). It’s a bit bigger than can be found elsewhere and the best place I know to get it.
However, if you’re in it to the finish line, you have some tough decisions to make. A favourite of mine is the Beyti kebab, which comes cut up, wrapped in tortilla and served with yoghurt in a shareable sized portion. There’s a special Beyti kebab that adds pistachio to the mix, is covered with cheese and baked in the oven, possibly overkill but good if you’re not planning to eat again that week.
I have to admit to never having made it to dessert here, but the usual range is on offer. Prices are standard.
İstiklal Caddesi 13, Beyoğlu