A Progressive Supper in Kadikoy, Istanbul
Have you ever gone on a progressive supper?
My daughter Rebecca and I created our own progressive supper in the Kadikoy neighborhood of Istanbul. She had never heard of such a thing, so I described to her the progressive suppers we used to have in our church when I was a kid. You would go to a different family’s home for each course of the meal: appetizers, salad, main course, dessert, etc.
Anyway, here is how our evening went. We spent well over three hours eating and drinking.
Stop 1: Stuffed Mussels (Midye dolma)
I started the evening off by suggesting we enjoy a p0pular street food: midye dolma. The mussel is removed from the shell, stuffed with a spiced rice concoction, and replaced in the shell. The shell is closed tight so it does not fall out. These are often eaten standing right at the stand. The proprietor will open the mussel and squeeze fresh lemon juice over it. Then you eat it right from the shell and drop the shell in a bowl on the stand. We opted to sit at a table, so we ordered ten mussels and took our time savoring them.
Stop 2: Tantuni at Kadikoy Tantuni
Rebecca immediately caught on to the game and decided we needed to try tantuni.
Tantuni is a broiled, then fried meat mixture that is then rolled into flatbread. It is traditionally served with a HOT pepper, tomato, and in our case arugula (rocket).
Kadikoy Tantuni also had an Ayran fountain. Aryan is practically the national drink of Turkey. It is a diluted and salted yogurt drink—kind of like a salty lassi. It is very refreshing in summertime. The fountain keeps it aerated and ensures a tall frothy top.
You can find Kadikoy Tantuni at this GoogleMaps location.
Stop 3: Cocktails at Mathilda’s Cocktail Bar
Now Rebecca decided it was time for cocktails. (I figured she had a place in mind.) She certainly got into the “spirit” of this progressive supper thing in a hurry! Sure enough, she had scouted out an artisan cocktail joint with some interesting offerings. Mathilda’s Cocktail Bar changes their drinks regularly as the bartender comes up with new ideas.
I tried #45: a concoction of Uzum kizi Douzico (a spirit created from grapes in the Ottoman times), strawberry cordial, white chocolate, satsuma, and mint.
Rebecca had #49: green chartreuse, green apple, ginger, basil and orange oil, and topped with a “gin-washed fig leaf.”
Stop 4: Çiğ köfte at Marul Handmade Çiğ Köfte
Of course, Rebecca found this one as well. Leave it to her to always find something interesting. Çiğ köfte, which traditionally was raw minced lamb and beef, seasoned and rolled into a lettuce or lavash (flatbread). Nowadays, the health department has made serving raw meat illegal without special permits, so these establishments make a concoction of bulghur and spices, which makes it a handy vegan food.
We ate at Marul Handmade Çiğ Köfte, where the chef made our order as we watched.
(Google Maps location)
Stop 5: Dessert at Beyaz Fırın
Becca wanted to keep eating savory dishes, but I only had enough room left for dessert. We walked all over until we found a patisserie that served this lovely tidbit. There are so many pastry shops in Kadikoy. We ended up at Beyaz Fırın Kadıköy.
Delicious Turkish çay (tea) made it a perfect finale.
If you are coming to Istanbul, I invite you to follow in our footsteps. Below is a map of our route through Kadidoy’s market and café neighborhood. As night comes on the streets become crowded, lively and colorful.
Also, I hope this post has given you some ideas on creating your own progressive supper when you travel. It takes a bit of research about local cuisine and it can be rewarding to create your own itinerary. Let me know what you come up with!