Review: Asitane

24 December 2015

I finally caught up on some sleep and had relatively okay day in Istanbul this Christmas Eve, although so much of the places I planned to visit were under major renovations. That was truly annoying, and it was going from frustration to frustration. Even lunch, where I visited the legendary Kral Kokoreç for an early lunch of kokoreç and it was dry, small and unimpressive…

Later in the evening I headed to an early dinner at Asitane — a place that specialises in Ottoman cuisine. They claim they do a lot of research into palace records to get ideas for dishes, and many of the items on the menu are listed by the year of presentation. It was not a smooth walk from the Edirnekapı tram stop, including running across a roundabout… But I found the very nice place after a bit of searching (thanks to the useless Google Maps — which barely works in Turkey).

The nice dining room was empty at the time, but filled up as the night went along. I ordered some wine and went through the menu, which looked interesting. I ended up doing far more food than I thought, but I was hungry. I had a mix of starters…

hot starters

The warm starters included the chicken bourek, which are fried rolls with chicken, eggs, spring onions and herbs that were apparently served in the 15th Century. I also had some “Arefe” rissole, which are rolls filled with minced lamp, nuts and currants. Both were interesting but the breading may have been too dominant.

cold starters

There were also a few cold starters, starting with the rather poor shrimp “Pilaki” that had very stringy shrimp sitting in a garlic and oil base. This was dreadful. But the Gerdaniyye — which was a terrine of braised lamb with brains — was not bad at all. But overall the starters did not impress… I ordered one main as well, which was delicious…

03-farry kebab

This is what they called the “Fatty Apron” kebab, apparently served in 1764. The joy of this lamb and beef mince blend is that it is wrapped in a very thick layer of caul before being roasted, making it very rich and tasty. Now this was excellent. If I wasn’t so full at this point I would have ordered another, since the servings weren’t big.

I relaxed and had a dessert, the kadayıf. Not bad, and they also brought out some free cheese and fruit to end the evening.


By now I was full and relaxed this Christmas Eve. Pretty content. Fuelled enough to trek over the roundabout back to the tram and back to the hotel. Not a bad Christmas Eve I guess…

Kariye Camii Sokak 6, Edirnekapı
İstanbul, Türkiye

PS: Little did I know crap was gonna hit the fan again…I was awoken at 3am to more smoke, so I had to make a 3am room change AGAIN. WTF is wrong with this hotel? And the new room was awful, with no air and stupid hot, so I ended up not being able to go back to sleep until 8am…just when the DRILLING began. Oh, did I mention they were doing renovations from 8am-6pm? Happy Christmas to me…


One thought on “Review: Asitane

  1. Pingback: Review: Ertlio Namas | melhuang1972

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