Turkey is a country that is very well known for its unique cuisine. It attracts so many tourists every year for its delicious dishes. There is one city of Turkey, however, which has a food spectrum so rich that is considered to have its own cuisine alone: Hatay. Many important civilizations have crossed paths in the past in Hatay, which is so evidently & beautifully seen in the variety of its foods. As Travelinsightpedia, we discovered an amazing restaurant called “Antakya Mutfağı” (The Restaurant of Antakya) in Taksim, right in the center of İstanbul. We thought it was necessary to share it with the world since not many places can give you this opportunity. As a tourist, you can taste these amazing dishes of Hatay while exploring İstanbul. Two birds, one stone. What else could one ask for?
Antakya Mutfağı (The Restaurant of Antakya)
Antakya Mutfağı started out as a family business 16 years ago. The owners of the restaurant decided to open up a place to hang out with their friends&family. In fact, they started their business as a hobby. The son of the owners, Sofokles, (who now runs the place) makes sure that you feel at home. He is very welcoming and attentive to the customers.
A Typical Dinner in Antakya Mutfağı
The dinner starts with a variety of traditional mezes and peppered flatbread (which is surprisingly addictive), made from the freshly grown ingredients that come from Hatay. They are super delicious and there are at least 2-3 mezes in each plate for each taste. But be careful not to get full by mezes because this is only the beginning!
Editor’s choice: If you like sour tastes, you should definitely try salty yogurt (that has a cheese-like texture and a slightly sour taste to it).
Also: We could not help ourselves here from adding Babagamuş and Humus too. Because they are, simply, amazing.
Then İçli Köfte and Kaytaz Böreği come as starters. While İçli Köfte being the more famous food here in Turkey, we should say that Kaytaz Böreği is something otherworldly. It is crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside. This ”börek” is not too spicy but has just the right amount of flavor in its meat mixture. It definitely is a favorite here in Antakya Mutfağı.
Well, we hope you’re not full by now, because now it is time for the main meal!
As for the main dish, you have multiple options, here in the pictures, you will see Beyti Kebabı and Harbiye Chicken. This chicken is special to this restaurant and it takes its name from the place Harbiye, where all of the chefs are raised in Hatay. The chicken gets its incredible taste from getting cooked on ash fire -yes, ash fire-, it gets slowly and fully cooked there, losing nearly nothing from its juiciness. And for Kebab lovers, Beyti Kebab will surely make you and your stomach happy.
Now, it would not be okay to finish off this delicious dinner without some dessert.
For dessert, they make Kabak Tatlısı (Pumpkin with Sherbet) and Burma alongside many other options. This pumpkin dessert is also quite interesting because before it gets cooked, they leave it in lime so that it stays firm on the outside when it’s cooked. And the tahini they poor on top of it just balances out everything so perfectly. And Burma is perfect for pistachio lovers, it would be the right choice for you if you want to try something traditional but also not too far from your own tastes.
Finally, a cup of Turkish tea in the bulbous teacup, and voila! A perfect end for the perfect traditional dinner 🙂
One last point to add: In Antakya Mutfağı, 4 languages are spoken on a native level: Turkish, English, Romaic (Demotic Greek) & Arabic. This is both very convenient and special for tourist visitors. Because the owners can communicate with you on a cultural level too, no matter where you come from.
How can you find Antakya Mutfağı?
One of the most shocking things that our editors have found out about Antakya Mutfağı is that this place has literally no sign/no indicators of direction until you reach the apartment it is located in. And it begins on the 4th floor of this apartment in a street of Taksim. (Check out the map for location information.) Also, don’t forget to visit Antakya Mutfağı’s Instagram profile for mouth-watering photos and videos!
It gets constant visits and these visits are mainly by the tourists who are curious to try out different cultures’ foods -just like us-!
We hope with this article we aroused curiosity for this rich cuisine of Hatay and showed the perfect place to give it a try. In our opinion, it is definitely a restaurant not to miss when you visit İstanbul. “Afiyet olsun!” Bon appetite! 🙂
Thank you so much for reading this article. If you want to see more food guides, don’t forget to check our “Foodie” category.