DescriptionOn my first of several visits to Istanbul last year, my meal at Ciya (Kebab) Sofrasi stood out among my dining experiences. I had not been back and in interim visits to the city, I have had some exceptionally good meals at other restaurants on the European side of the city. So, on my most recent stay, as I rode the ferry across the Bosphorus to the Asian side for a return visit to Ciya Kebab, I worried that the food would not be as good as I recalled.
That worry proved to be unwarranted. The food was as good as I remembered. While I'm certainly not ready to proclaim that this is the best restaurant in Istanbul, lthe food is certainly more than worth a ferry ride to Kadikoy from which the restaurant is a short ten minute walk from the ferry terminal (in an area with plenty of interesting shops and stalls where often you will find items at prices lower than at the Grand Bazaar or Spice Market)
Among the mezze offerings, I can';t get enough of is their stuffed dried eggplant. Reconstituted dried eggplant has such concentration of flavor, and Ciya's preparation with onions, peppers and mint comes together beautifully. And don't miss the fluffy baloon-like bread than they bake there in wood-fired clay ovens. For a main course, i really enjoy their pistachio kebab.
They offer some interesting juice beverages. Their mulberry juice was something quite unique and delicious, and I was disappointed that on my return visit, the fruit had gone out of season. But they offered me tastes of watercress juice and lemon-based juice. Both were pretty good, but I did miss the mulberry juice. Desserts can be interesting, with some of them made from sweetened olives, whole walnuts (in shell) and squash. These are worth a taste. Less exotic desserts are also available and can be recommended.
As for prices, this is not the good-cheap-food joint that Istanbul seems to have in some abundance. But it is not expensive and the quality of food more than justifies the price (my meal came to about TL 50). And menus in English are available.