Who Polishes The Horns? Adventures in Istanbul Eating Part 3: Sehzade Erzurum Cag Kebabi

In spite of my dressing down in Istanbul, the roving rug salesmen have me fingered as a money-mark from USA. I wear a backpack, keep my boots scuffed, and try to stay as non-descript as possible. That being said, these gentlemen are very knowledgeable when it comes to giving me directions to restaurants on my master list of Istanbul Eats printouts.

Which is how I find Sehzade Erzurum Cag Kebabi, the Sirkeci kebab house. I’m seated on the patio mere inches from a fire where the meat is sputtering and sizzling. The smell is  driving me wild. I ask for red lentil soup, and am bequeathed with one of the top five soups I’ve ever eaten.

It’s a puree’ of lentils creamed in broth and seasoned with little more than salt and paprika. A squeeze of lemon and a teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes takes it to the stratosphere.

My duo of lamb kebabs come next and are a treasure of fat and lean served on billowing lavash (Turkey’s answer to the tortilla.)  However, I’m intensely jealous of the busboy. He approaches the usta and requests some food. The meat man grabs a hunk of bread, splits it then using it as a shovel, scrapes up all the trimmings from the catch pan beneath the lamb roasting on the spit! Anything that is too fatty or charred is folded into the loaf and fed to the workers.

Oh to be a busboy at Sehzade Erzurum Cag Kebabi.


Address: Hocapasa Sok. 3/A, Sirkeci
Telephone: 212-520-3361


About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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One Response to Who Polishes The Horns? Adventures in Istanbul Eating Part 3: Sehzade Erzurum Cag Kebabi

  1. rl reeves jr says:

    Snagged this comment off http://www.istanbuleats.com visit them for all the Istanbul info you may need.

    Dear Marc,
    I think it is fair to categorize doner to 3 main types (the content and the taste are slightly different in each category): One is doner for sandwiches, typically served in pita type of bread or thin wraps called durum,this type doner typically contains more fat. The best places for this type of doner in Istanbul are Donerci Sadik Usta (based at Aksaray just next to tram station) and Karadeniz Pide Doner Salonu at Besiktas Carsi. Second type is plain doner served on plate typically together with a simple salad and rice. The best places for this type of doner are Cevahiroglu Restaurant at Caglayan, Divan Hotel Restaurant (there is one at Mecidiyekoy next to Ali Sami Yen stadium), Gelik at Bakirkoy next to ferry station, Beyti at Florya and finally Kasap Osman at Sirkeci. For iskender type of doner, the best places I know are Kebapci Iskender that is at Kadikoy and on Bagdad Street and is a descendant of original iskender founder, Niyazibey Iskender that has branches at Kadikoy, Uskudar and Maltepe and Uludag Kebap at Florya.
    http://turkiyevedunyadanlezzetler.blogspot.com/search/label/doner address covers some of the places mentioned.

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