The product of the owner’s Mexican and Turkish parents’ dream, Ranchero aims to bring home-made Mexican cuisine to Istanbul. It might have taken them since 1977 to realize their goal but if most of that time went into planning the extensive menu, it was worth the wait.
The corn tortillas, zinging from cracked black pepper, are the best I’ve had in Mexican restaurants here. Crisp, full of flavor and not at all greasy. With dips I was almost satisfied enough not to need a meal. Little did I know how enormous the portions would be. My main course of Combo Jalisco with burrito, taco, quesadilla and enchilada plus refried beans, rice and corn mash could have fed two easily. It was really good, but a tad dry and benefited from the sauces we had ordered on the side.
Of the sauces the BBQ and chili were the spiciest. Just how hot the chili was, became apparent with the Bistek Mexican. A double hit as the meat was first marinated and then served with lashings of chili sauce and grilled cheese; it took two attempts and beer to anesthetize the tongue enough to get through its cumulative heat.
Dessert was a shareable sized portion of moist carrot cake and ice-cream which was excellent, but slightly let down by the artificial tasting chocolate sauce. Also recommended are the hot chocolate soufflé and the Mexican inspired specialty: platano envuelto: banana wrapped in tortilla with chocolate, ice-cream coconut and pistachio.
The ambience has a Mexican inspired character rather than a theme as such. The smattering of Sombreros, whips and assorted Mexican holiday souvenirs flagging the way to the freezing toilet suggests that they only just held themselves back from full on palm trees and a mariachi band but the overall effect isn’t too tacky.
Branches at Suadiye, Nişantaşı and Trump Towers