Join Culinary Backstreets

Sign up with email

or

Already a member? Log in.

Log in to Culinary Backstreets

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

From Western China all the way to Istanbul, Turkic people roll out dough, fold it into small pouches, boil it and call it mantı. When it comes to dumplings, Turkish tradition dictates that the tortellini-like mantı be no larger than peanut-sized. With its unusually large (and sometimes fried) dumplings, Bodrum Mantı & Café has taken traditional Turkish mantı to soaring new heights, of which we strongly approve.

Don’t be put off by the modish décor or the high street address; this is the real article. This 24-hour Arnavutköy staple with a Bosphorus view never fails to serve it up hot, fast, good and cheap.

Think of what they serve here as Supermantı.

The içli köfte – boiled or fried bulgur and ground meat football-shaped patties – is always made to order, unlike many oil-soaked renditions found around town. Stick a fork in the çiğ börek and watch – or, better yet, smell – the hot, airy pocket pastry deflate in an aromatic whoosh, revealing a light filling of ground meat. Like the mantı, these appetizers come jumbo, so be forewarned.

The mantı is offered in a few varieties: whole wheat or white dough, boiled or fried. When it was fried, we couldn’t discern the wheat from the white dough, but in boiled form the whole wheat offered a pleasant change. Ordering half portions allowed us to try many combinations of fillings and toppings.

The pièce de résistancetemel’in bihteri – is fried just enough for the thin shell to crisp up and the stuffing of spinach, onions and cheese to meld nicely without being greasy. This mantı even holds up well under a generous topping of garlic yogurt sauce. Supermantı, indeed.

Editor’s note: This is a golden oldie that we wrote about a while back but still enjoy. Moreover, a recent trip to this institution reminded us why it’s worth a visit. Where else can you have lunch while directly overlooking the Bosphorus and walk out having only paid 30 TL ($8.50) for an entree, soft drink and complimentary tea and dessert?

  • lahmacun istanbul Istanbul’s Top 3 Lahmacun Makers (12)
    Lahmacun is one of those mysterious foods where a lot is created with so little. It […] Posted in Istanbul
  • Albay Dürüm (5)
    It is hard to identify exactly when the forgotten neck of Istanbul between Etiler and […] Posted in Istanbul
  • Hamsi (7)
    The arrival of fall in Istanbul usually means one thing for us: hamsi season is about to […] Posted in Istanbul

Related stories

lahmacun istanbul
March 11, 2013

Istanbul’s Top 3 Lahmacun Makers

Istanbul | By Istanbul Eats
By Istanbul Eats
IstanbulLahmacun is one of those mysterious foods where a lot is created with so little. It checks all of the boxes of a perfect savory snack: crispy, oven-fired crust, light and spicy meat spread, a fresh green garnish and a tangy spray from a lemon. It’s like an artisanal pizza with a Middle Eastern topping…
December 3, 2012

Albay Dürüm: Kebab Konfessional

Istanbul | By Istanbul Eats
By Istanbul Eats
IstanbulIt is hard to identify exactly when the forgotten neck of Istanbul between Etiler and Arnavutköy became prime real estate. Not so long ago, overgrown green space alongside the road was interrupted by the occasional car wash and low-slung shanty; it was not so much a place as a road to other places. But now…
November 12, 2012

Hamsi: Six Favorite Spots to Eat the Little Fish

Istanbul | By Istanbul Eats
By Istanbul Eats
IstanbulThe arrival of fall in Istanbul usually means one thing for us: hamsi season is about to begin. Hamsi, of course, are the minuscule fish (Black Sea anchovies) that Istanbulites are mad about, and the coming of fall and the cooling of the waters of the Black Sea mark the beginning of the best time of…