The Turkish Cuisine: The “lokantas” in Turkey are available everywhere, they are small traditional Turkish restaurants though they can be owned by a chain, which operate as a kind of public canteen. It’s a cheap and quick way to try traditional Turkish cuisine. The dishes are usually prepared by the female members of the family. On the menu, the 3 components: starter, main course and dessert accompanied by traditional Turkish drinks such as ayran or shalgam. To serve yourself, you point your finger at the dish behind the panes that you want to eat. The staff will serve it for you, no need to speak. We save our words in the traditional Turkish restaurants
What are the most popular dishes?
If you are a fan of veggies and light food, we recommend to try artichoke cooked with olive oil (zeytinyağlı enginar), green beans cooked with tomatoes (taze fasulye), lady’s finger (bamya), lentils (mercimek yemeği), kısır (Turkish tabbouleh) or different kinds of pilaf and soups (çorba).
If you are a fan of meat there are plenty of options as hunderds of kebabs such as for example patlıcan kebabı (kebab with aubergine), iskender, döner, boiled chicken or meat (haşlama),
However, be sure to be quick and assertive, especially in large traditional Turkish restaurants, as Istanbulites don’t like to wait. They lack patience and they might just walk past you if you delay them! The traditional Turkish restaurants or “lokantas” are an excellent way to taste typical Turkish cuisine, moreover depending on the restaurant and the family that runs it, different specialties will be offered to you. By going to lokanta it is possible to travel around the country, without even leaving your chair! Black Sea region, Anatolian, Aegean Sea, eastern Turkey … the choice is endless, for an awakening of the senses and flavors.
As an anecdote, when the meal is served at the table (and not self-service), you will only pay the bill at the end by indicating what you have consumed! In Turkey, we trust others, your order has not been written anywhere. Dishonesty is frowned upon by the Turks, so you would not be expected to take advantage of the situation. If you are interested in trying fast food in Turkey have a look here.
Afiyet olsun! (bon appétit in Turkish)