Istanbul Café has been serving terrific, authentic Turkish food to the Greater New Haven community since 1998.
The restaurant’s interior is welcoming but exotic.
Istanbul Café sports an interesting cocktail list,
but we couldn’t resist trying our first Turkish wine.
Freshly baked pide bread held our appetites in check while we awaited our starters.
A soquk meze, or cool spread, is an ideal way to start a Turkish meal. Istanbul Café’s included nohut ezme, patlican salata, antep ezme, ispanak ezme, yaprak dolma and carrot salad.
Our other starters included kalamar tava (Turkish-style fried calamari),
a green salad topped with shrimp,
and imam bayildi, or swooning imam.
Entrées may even have exceeded apps. Here you see our friend Carrol contemplating her patlikan musakka,
of Turkish not Greek origin, our host insisted,
which was served with a side of rice pilaf.
Here you see the sultan’s delight with chicken,
and lavrek izgara, cubes of Chilean sea bass that honestly couldn’t have been cooked better or more gently.
Before the arrival of our desserts, we order decaffeinated coffee,
Putting the exclamation point on our exotic feast were our desserts, including baklava,
and kazan dibi.
No Turkish delight, but everything we had was Turkish delight!
Istanbul Café, 245 Crown Street, New Haven, 203-787-3881, www.istanbulcafect.com