Who Polishes The Horns? Adventures in Istanbul Eating, Part 1: Doyuran Lokantasi

Forward:  The first Istanbul restaurant review I ever read was for Doyuran Lokantasi in Istanbul’s Kumkapi neighborhood. I used it as an impetus to get my ass on over to Istanbul and explore what promised to be an epic food scene.

And here’s my review for the first restaurant I ate at on a recent trip to the city.

The fight starts in the restaurant down the way and quickly spills out into the street. A middle-aged Turkish Goodfellow-looking gent is battling hard with a boy who looks like he should be at an Earth Crisis show [hooded sweat!] and he’s beating the tar out of him.

Police on motorbikes whip up and a bull Turk with a helmet [who’s a dead ringer for Lyoto Machida] wades into the fray and bodies start flying everywhere. The shop door across the way slaps open and a fat, old Turkish lady race-waddles across the street, wailing like a banshee. I’m serenely sipping a post-prandial cay [tea] at Doyuran Lokantasi right down the way at their sidewalk table.

It’s a nice scene on my first day in Istanbul.

I have a good feeling about this humble diner when the first man I ask for directions in Kumkapi says “I’ve lived here for 45 years and I know of no such place”.


Walking into the restaurant I’m greeted warmly, if with a bit of a puzzled expression. It’s not a tourist spot by a long shot. I look over a very fetching, small steamline and ask for an az [small portions] platter. My plate is summarily heaped with an eggplant stuffed with minced lamb [best eggplant I’ve ever eaten], kofte [moist and juicy] and a host of vegetable sides including okra, tomatoes, peas and potatoes. A loaf of good bread and a jug of municipal water are thrown in for good measure.

The owner, Musa Ergenc has this beatific calm that I find very soothing. The food is gently prepared and done with the kind of attention to detail that is the hallmark of good chefs everywhere.

Plus, the entertainment couldn’t be finer.

Address: Ordekli Bakkal Sok. 10, Kumkapi
Telephone: 212-458-2637

About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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