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Culinary Secrets of Gaziantep

$1100/person USD (single $100 supplement)
Book now
  • Group Size: 10
  • Start/End: TBD 
  • Customized daytime walks by special request

Ankara may be Turkey’s political center and Istanbul its cultural and economic one, but ask Turks what their country’s culinary capital is and the answer will invariably be the same: Gaziantep.

An ancient city not far from Turkey’s southern border, a meeting point between the Arab Middle East and Turkish Anatolia, Gaziantep over the centuries has developed a culinary culture that is deeply rooted in the rhythm of the agricultural lands surrounding it and that is maintained with great pride and honor by the city’s cooks and food makers. Gaziantep is also the source for many of Turkish cuisine’s iconic dishes – the city’s famous baklava is without compare and its kebabs are truly works of art, the standard by which all others are measured.

Although our activities in Turkey have focused on Istanbul, we recently started thinking about how to share our passion for Gaziantep and its food culture with others. The result is “Culinary Secrets of Gaziantep,” a three-day eating and hands-on cooking adventure that we will offer in May as well as September. The trip is a collection of our experiences and discoveries over many trips to Gaziantep, sometimes for reporting but mostly just for the pleasure of eating. As in Istanbul and our other cities, this experience is designed to intertwine traditional culinary heritage with history and street life and to celebrate local families and purveyors who keep the old traditions alive.

Over the three days, we will meet local artisans working in Gaziantep’s old city, from bakers to coffeepot makers; eat with a home cook making some of the most authentic dishes in the city; spend a day eating and observing life on a farm that, depending on the season, grows the very best of the area’s culinary treasures such as pistachios, Antep saffron, almonds and keme, the desert truffle; have interactive workshops where we learn to make some of Gaziantep’s most beloved dishes; and, of course, get an audience with some of the city’s high priests of baklava- and kebab-making. We won’t consider the trip finished until we’ve tasted the best and shaken the hand of the masters who make it.

The adventure is designed for groups of up to 10 and lodging will be provided at Anadolu Evleri, a grand traditional Gaziantep home in the old city that has been converted into a charming boutique hotel. To start, we will be offering two “seatings” during the spring harvest in May and two in September, which is pistachio harvest season.

You can read a bit more about our activity and Gaziantep’s food culture in this recent post on The New York Times’ “In Transit” blog.

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Fresh Spring Offerings at Istanbul’s Kuzguncuk Market

Green peas, grape leaves and squash are on offer at the market in the lovely neighborhood of Kuzguncuk, an essential component of our Born on […]

Newly In-Season Loquats at Lisbon’s Mercado da Ribeira

Loquats (nêsperas in Portuguese) are now in season – all over Mercado da Ribeira, the historic market encountered on our Lisbon Awakens tour. We’re still […]

Ali Usta’s Çig Köfte: When Meatless Meatballs Sell Like Hotcakes

Locals are crazy for Ali Usta’s çiğ köfte. Ali Usta is a delicious character who has his tiny shop in the backstreets of Istanbul’s Spice […]

Sunny Days and Fresh Citrus at the Athens Farmer’s Market

Oranges are beckoning to shoppers at the farmer’s market in Keramikos, central Athens. This market is a featured stop on our downtown Athens tour. Already pleasant and […]

Istanbul’s Most Sought-After Döner

The biggest döner kebap in town with Asım Usta, building his döner fresh every morning since 1973! If you come for late lunch or dinner, you’re […]

Serious Cheese Choices in Samatya

Istanbul’s Samatya neighborhood is home to one of the city’s many sprawling weekly markets, where one can find excellent Ezine, a white cheese from a district […]

The Oldest Taverna in Central Athens

The oldest taverna in central Athens features delicious and simple food all prepared by Mr Dimitris, who has been running it since he was a […]

It’s Springtime (AKA Garlic Season) in Athens

It’s the season of fresh garlic! Garlic at its best. This basic ingredient of Greek cuisine can be found fresh at the markets encountered on our […]

Rows of Roasting Coffee Beans at the Central Athens Food Market

This row of coffee beans, roasted and then grinded, is enough to wake up an entire city. One might stumble upon such a scene on […]

Pepper-Powdered Enoki Mushrooms at Shanghai’s A Jun

A Jun grills up more than just seafood at their Shouning Lu shop. These enoki mushrooms are powdered with four types of pepper before being […]

Steaming Wontons Served Late at Night in Shanghai

Er Guang Wontons serves up steaming wontons well into the evening every night. The pork-stuffed dumplings come slathered in peanut chili sauce, as all late-night […]


The Black Sea area is Turkey’s culinary misfit; it’s not really about kebabs or mezes. If anything, the food—cornbread, collard greens, smoky bean stews—seems to […]

Easter in Istanbul

In the Istanbul neighborhood of Kurtuluş, which is home to a large Armenian population, a number of shops are decorated on account of Easter, and […]

Pomegranates at the Grand Bazaar

Fresh pomegranates await to be squeezed into juice near Istanbul’s iconic Grand Bazaar . May 2, 2017 Seasonal Strawberries in Tbilisi (0) Flashback to the […]

Culinary Secrets of Downtown Athens

Quick bite:  On this 5½–hour walk we will explore the culinary backstreets and secrets of downtown Athens, in search of the soul of this historic […]

Backstreet Plaka: Exploring the Culinary Heart of Athens

Quick bite: On this walk we will explore the Plaka’s culinary diamonds in the touristy rough while at the same time getting a sense of […]

Tea From Master Bayram in Istanbul’s 16th-Century Kurşunlu Han

A proper way to start one’s day is with a fresh cup of black tea from the wonderful tea master Bayram in Karaköy’s 16th-century Kurşunlu […]

Sensational Seafood Selection at Athens’ Central Market

A wide variety of reasonably priced fresh fish, shellfish, crabs and kalamari for the customers to choose at the Athens Municipal Market, a stop on […]

The Moveable Sunday Feast

Quick bite: We’ll take you to see a typical Sunday in Greece, traditionally a day of leisure, where most Greeks enjoy a large meal with extended family, […]

Closing Time

After four generations of doing business in the same shop – housed since 1907 in a beautiful moderniste building between Paseo de Gràcia and Gran […]

In Athens, Where Even Street Cats Get Treated to Sheep’s Milk Yogurt

On our Plaka walk, this four-legged friend was begging for food, so we couldn’t help but share some of our sheep’s milk yogurt. We are […]

Building Blocks

Editor’s note: Our recurring feature, Building Blocks, focuses on foods and ingredients that are fundamental to the cuisines we write about. Here we look at […]

Along Barcelona’s Urban Wine Trail

For more than a year, we’ve been trying to find a way to approach the mammoth subject of Spanish wine with a suitable culinary activity. […]

Two Markets, Two Continents

Quick Bite: This full-day food tour draws from our best-of list in the European side’s Karaköy neighborhood and the Asian side’s Kadıköy, tied together by […]

Culinary Backstreets of the Bazaar Quarter

Quick bite: Istanbul’s Bazaar Quarter is one of the world’s biggest open-air commercial centers  and a historic center of small craftsmen who still carry on […]

Born on the Bosphorus: Exploring Three Distinct Waterside Neighborhoods

Quick bite: From a workingman’s breakfast in the frenetic market to a leisurely fish lunch in the Bosphorus neighborhood, this full-day food tour brings together […]

Shanghai Night Eats

Quick bite: As the the sun sets, on this food tour we’ll explore the best local and regional cuisines Shanghai has to offer, in one […]

Made in Catalonia

Quick bite:  In this full-day exploration of the proudly Catalan district of Gràcia, we’ll visit markets, an old school bodega, cozy traditional haunts, and creative […]

Bodega: Barcelona Barrio Tradition, in Bulk

Quick bite: On this walk along Barcelona’s urban wine route, we’ll be among bodega regulars, eating and drinking our way through some of the city’s most […]

Culinary Secrets of the Old City

Quick Bite: In Istanbul’s Old City, two culinary worlds exist side by side: one for tourists and one for locals. On this tour we go […]

Hidden Beyoğlu

Quick bite: With Beyoğlu’s cosmopolitan history as a backdrop, on this Istanbul food tour we will eat our way through the classic and unknown eateries […]

Shop, Cook, Feast: A Hands-On Culinary Adventure

Quick Bite: After a shopping for ingredients in one of Istanbul’s most food-centric neighborhoods, we’ll teach you how to cook six of our favorite Turkish […]

In Barcelona, it’s Catalan Wine By the Barrel

The wood barrels at L’Electricitat in La Barceloneta, a stop on our Blessed by the Mediterranean walk, are filled with Catalan wine sold to locals […]

Hands-On Dumpling Delights

Quick bite: You’ll get to try your hand at making your own intricate steamed dumplings, and leave armed with a detailed recipe so you can make them […]

Barcelona’s Artisanal Candy

Barcelona is paradise for those with a sweet tooth. Pastries, nougats, cakes, chocolates and candies can be found in every neighborhood, all year long. We’ve […]

Bacalhau on the Streets of Rio

An employee of the popular bulk goods seller Casas Pedro slices up a bacalhau, a codfish beloved by Brazilians and a keen Portuguese culinary influence. […]

Street Eats Breakfast

Quick bite: We’ll mingle with water calligraphers and tai chi masters, taste Chinese breakfast dishes made right in front of your eyes at local street […]

Tapioca–not the pudding, a yucca-based Rio street snack

Tapioca—a chewy pancake and tasty street snack staple in Rio made from yucca root, which is widely used in Brazil. One of the many humble, […]

Athens Farmers Market, Keramikos

Locals shop for fresh citrus in the winter at the Keramikos market in Central Athens.  Our Culinary Secrets of Downtown Athens explores areas like this. […]

Tortell de Reis

Editor’s note: This is the second of our two-part series on kings’ cake. The first, on the version found in Mexico City, appeared yesterday. January […]

Ali Usta’s Sahlep on the Two Markets Walk

Ice cream at Ali Usta, an institution on İstanbul’s Asian side, sworn to be the city’s best by many faithful customers who brave lines around […]

Caga Tío

Caga Tió, Tió de Nadal No cagues arengadas Que són saladas Caga torróns Que són més bons It’s not a carol, but it is likely […]

Best Bites 2015

Editor’s note: We’re celebrating another year of excellent backstreets eating by taking a look back at our favorite restaurants and dishes of 2015. December 18, […]

Best Bites 2015

Editor’s note: We’re celebrating another year of excellent backstreets eating by taking a look back at our favorite restaurants and dishes of 2015. December 17, […]


Editor’s note: We regret to report that Mari, which was run by the former chef and owners of Mekan, has now closed.  February 10, 2017 […]

The Phyllofiles

The subject of frequent arguments over who actually invented it, baklava has a history as multilayered as the flaky dessert itself. May 13, 2014 Galaktoboureko […]

Fıstık Ahmet’in Yeri

Büyükada has long been a popular destination for İstanbullus seeking a break from harried metropolitan life. August 13, 2018 Kalpazankaya Restaurant (0) One of the […]

Loukomades, Greek ancestor of the donut

Loukomades, a Greek predecessor to the donut that was awarded to winners during the Ancient Olympic games! Victory is sweet, and can be found on […]

La Barraqueta-Resolís

El Resolís has already been through several reincarnations, each time as a meeting place for strong, yet completely different – sometimes opposing – social groups. […]

Greek yogurt in it’s best form

Fresh yogurt topped with raw, organic honey, served “on the house” by many Athens tavernas after a long meal. June 1, 2017 Apples and Oranges […]

Farewell, Yorgo

On any given night, bustling, narrow Nevizade Street in the heart of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district buzzes with thick crowds of evening revelers searching for the […]

Le Greche

Evi Papadopoulou is no stranger to the culinary arts. A well-regarded food journalist who has written articles on pastries and desserts in the top Greek […]


We like to think of İnciraltı, a laid-back meyhane in the sleepy Bosphorus-side Beylerbeyi neighborhood, as a destination restaurant – not so much because of […]

Best Buzz

As we wrote in part one, specialty coffee has really taken off in Barcelona, after a long period of limited options and mediocre to bad […]

Diamonds in the Touristy Rough

Editor’s note: We regret to report that Makalo has closed. The quiet neighborhood where Makalo is located, right between Syntagma and Plaka, is home to […]


Don’t people just love to fight about food? Punch-ups over which city makes the best pizza, brawls about what’s the right way to barbecue. Louis […]

Catalan Ice Cream

Editor’s note: It’s Cool Treats Week at Culinary Backstreets, and for our second installment, we head to Barcelona, where turronerías and ice cream parlors serve up traditional flavors made […]

Weathering the Storm

With the banks closed for almost two weeks and Greece’s position in the eurozone the subject of heated debate and endless negotiations for the past […]


Why are you seeing colorful, 1960s-era carbonated water siphons everywhere in Barcelona? Because they’re the symbol of our beloved vermut ritual. February 7, 2014 Morro […]

Green Scene

In terms of greenness, Athens doesn’t even come close to other European capitals, with their verdant parks and blossoming gardens. The truth is, modern urban […]

Ramadan’s Iftar

Think of Ramadan, which just began in many parts of the world, as a kind of monthlong biathlon that consists of an all-day race to beat […]


Spain – and of course Barcelona – has always been a breeding ground for creative types in the kitchen. There’s an ever-increasing number of restaurants […]

Van Kahvaltı Evi

In Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish eastern provinces, breakfast is not just for breakfast anymore. January 17, 2014 Cuma (0) Editor’s note: Our last dispatch for Breakfast […]


Some restaurants are enjoyable because they continually offer surprising, innovative creations, while others we like for the opposite reason: because they are reliable in their […]

Kenan Usta Ocakbaşı

If Istanbul had a city museum, in the 20th-century exhibition we’d expect to walk into a life-sized recreation of Kenan Usta Ocakbaşı, a seminal grill […]

Lo Pinyol

Bars and literature are like bees and flowers: two separate worlds linked to each other through a symbiotic relationship that benefits both. October 7, 2013 […]

In the House of Cod

In Spain, preserving the rituals of Lent – historically a period of 40 days of prayer, penance and pious abstinence from eating meat that leads […]


Pere Valls Isart is passionate about his restaurant, Bilbao, which his family bought, with the name already in place, in 1954. February 18, 2016 Made […]

Mama Roux

In Athens, apart from traditional or nouvelle Greek, you can find almost any kind of cuisine you crave, but usually not under one roof. September […]

La Panxa del Bisbe

Here we are in the Bishop’s Belly, La Panxa del Bisbe, which is not the midsection of a Catalan priest, but both a restaurant and […]


The fatty torik – the Turkish name for a large, mature Atlantic bonito, similar to the little tunny – courses the straits of the Bosphorus […]

Bean Week

Editor’s note: Readers protested vigorously when they saw that we had left Ali Baba off our list, so we’ve put him back on the list, by […]

Bean Week

If there is one single food family that shows off the breadth and extent of the collective Greek culinary imagination, it has to be the […]

Bean Week

Known in Catalan as mongetes – “little nuns,” as Catalonia’s oldest kind of beans resemble the pale face of a nun in her black habit […]

Lata Berna

The name of this appealing Gràcia eatery is a play on words, an amalgam of la taberna, or “tavern,” and lata, or “tin.” May 15, […]

İsmail Amca’s Menemen

Times are changing in Tarlabaşı, one of the most culturally diverse, interesting and occasionally dangerous neighborhoods of Istanbul. January 2, 2017 Asır (0) Editor’s Note: […]

Tortell de Reis

Editor’s note: This is the second of our two-part series on kings’ cake. The first, on the version found in Mexico City, appeared yesterday. January […]

Casa Pagès

Editor’s note: We’re wrapping up Soup Week here at Culinary Backstreets with an old favorite in Gràcia that serves classic wintertime Spanish soul food. August 1, 2012 […]


Editor’s note: It’s Soup Week at Culinary Backstreets, and today we head to a 128-year-old basement taverna in downtown Athens that serves a wintertime specialty of […]

Murat Kelle Paça

Editor’s note: It’s Soup Week at Culinary Backstreets, and to kick things off, our Istanbul correspondent takes us to an eatery in Beyoğlu whose hearty broths […]

Caga Tío

Caga Tió, Tió de Nadal No cagues arengadas Que són saladas December 25, 2015 Caga Tío (0) Caga Tió, Tió de Nadal No cagues arengadas […]

Best Bites of 2014

Editor’s note: The year is coming to an end, which means it’s time for us to look back on all the great eating experiences we […]

Barcelona’s Artisanal Candy

Editor’s note: For the final installment in Sweets Week, we turn to Barcelona, a veritable wonderland of sugary treats, where old-fashioned hard candy is as […]

Layover in Athens

Whether you are arriving in Athens by ship or airplane, both the port and the airport are near enough to be able to venture out […]

Panellets for All Saints’ Day

While Americans celebrate Halloween this week with M&Ms and Milk Duds, in Catalonia this time of the year is marked with a different, more sophisticated, […]

Farooj al Zaeem

Farooj al Zaeem is, pretty much, the best kind of restaurant made to resemble the worst kind of restaurant. If the neighborhood – one of […]

Meşhur Tarihi Kalkanoğlu Pilavcısı

The brothers Altu and Erol Aslan, who operate the Yeni Melek corner store on Ayhan Işık Sokak in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu neighborhood, have a legitimate complaint against […]

Shoppers’ Delight

Editor’s note: This is a taste of some of the stops we make on our Athens Culinary Walk, so if you like what you see […]

Catalan Ice Cream

As you might expect from a city whose weather forecast tends to be sunny, Barcelona has plenty of excellent ice cream options, even as summer […]

“Dirty” Dining

Athens has never been an in-bed-by-11-p.m. kind of city. We Athenians are all about having a good time for as much of the time as […]


Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? In fact, over at Gastronomika, a new Istanbul culinary project, the food is served not […]

Peri Lesvou

Athinas is one of our favorite streets in the whole of Athens. Running from Omonia to Monastiraki squares, it has a scruffy, chaotic, disreputable charm […]


It’s a dirty secret nobody wants to talk about, but let’s put it out there: finding a good cup of Turkish coffee in Turkey can […]

Gastronomy Museum

Editor’s note: We’re sad to report that the Gastronomy Museum has closed. In June of this year, a new museum joined the roster of cultural […]

Ramadan’s Iftar

Think of Ramadan, which began in late June in many parts of the world, as a kind of monthlong biathlon that consists of an all-day […]


Editor’s note: We’re sad to report that Aigaion has closed. Loukoumades! In the long, slow afternoons that would follow the enormous Sunday lunches with the […]

Hello, Neighbors

Like many cultures with a strong national food culture, Athens has been slow to welcome foreign cuisines. First, there were the heady 1990s, when the […]


In Catalonia around the summer solstice, we make one of our most traditional liqueurs, ratafía, for which the herbs, fruit and flowers that are macerated […]

Jamón Ibérico

In Spain, pork is serious business; it’s been a fundamental part of the diet here for millennia. Pigs were an important animal on the first […]

To Navagio ton Angelon

What are the odds that after you’ve been to an exhibition of finds from a long-ago shipwreck you’ll end up having lunch at a place […]

Downtown Athens Souvlaki Classics, Part 2

We first wrote about classic souvlaki joints a year and a half ago, and since then, those spots we recommended have only become more popular. We […]

Çukur Meyhane

Editor’s note: The departure of Aret, our favorite garson in the city, had us reconsidering our love of this little cubbyhole meyhane where we’ve spent so many nights […]

Spring Fever

The reach of globalization and industrial agriculture is such that you can find pretty much any kind of vegetable all year long at markets throughout […]

Spring (Food) Break 2014

With all of the anticipation of local elections in March, the scandalous graft-laden tapes leaked via social media, the communication fog brought on by the […]

The Giving Tree

In Greece, where the land is mostly rocky and steep and the climate hot and arid, the olive tree thrives, and for millennia, olive oil […]

Bulk Food

Early on in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film Amélie, the title character plunges her hand into a big sack of lentils, relishing the sensation of them […]

First Stop

Editor’s note: In the inaugural post of our new recurring feature, First Stop, we ask Chef Ana Sortun of the much-beloved restaurant Oleana and bakery […]

Rise and Dine

We know that there’s a trend away from gluten and carbs these days, and all we have to say to that is: more for us! […]

Bulk Wine

For so long, bulk wine has been synonymous with plonk – even in a country like Spain, where buying wine straight from the barrel was […]

Grills and Thrills

If there are an estimated 17 million souls in Istanbul, then there are at least that many opinions on the best kebab house in town. […]

Barcelona’s Top 5 Xurrerias

Churros, the long, skinny, crenellated, sweet fried crullers made from just flour, water and salt, have been enjoyed for centuries in Spain, with hot chocolate […]


Editor’s note: [We’re pleased to report that Barba has reopened in a new location. See below for address.] We’re going on a Global Bar Crawl […]

Barcelona’s Gintonics

Editor’s note: Our third installment in the Global Bar Crawl takes us to Barcelona, where gin continues to be the drink of choice among locals. […]

Galaxy and Au Revoir

Editor’s note: Our second stop on CB’s Global Bar Crawl is in Athens, where two classic old watering holes have been tending to the drinking […]


Finding a kebab restaurant in Istanbul is not hard. There must be thousands of them. But finding the right kind of place, especially if you […]


Editor’s note: We are sad to report that chef Pericles Koskinas is no longer at Alatsi. Last summer, we took a look at the popularity […]


In Istanbul, we’ve noted an inverse relationship between a restaurant’s atmosphere and what’s coming out of the kitchen. In most cases, as furniture design goes […]


Istanbul’s after-midnight dining options tend to be of the offal variety – tripe soup, chopped lamb’s intestines – thought to be curatives after a night […]


Editor’s note: Our last dispatch for Breakfast Week takes us to a charming spot in Beyoğlu, where followers of Istanbul’s two competing schools of breakfast can enjoy their […]

Can Ros

Editor’s note: Our penultimate installment for Breakfast Week here at CB comes from Barcelona, where the traditional Catalan breakfast is not for the faint of […]

Best Bites of 2013

Editor’s note: This is the final installment of “Best Bites of 2013,” a roundup of our top culinary experiences over the last year. Be sure […]

Best Bites 2013

Editor’s note: This post is the second installment of “Best Bites of 2013,” a roundup of our top culinary experiences over the last year. Stay […]

El Tossal

[Editor’s note: We’re sorry to report that El Tossal has closed.] February 1, 2013 Calçots: Not Your Average Onion (0) As the legend goes, a […]

Catalonia’s White Wines

When we think of white wine in Catalonia, we think of its seemingly endless possibilities. Production of whites here has a 2,000-year-old history. The wide-ranging […]

All Natural

We’ve talked before about Greek coffee, and it’s true that going out for coffee is one of Athenians’ favorite pastimes, but there are plenty of […]

Green Scene

In terms of greenness, Athens doesn’t even come close to other European capitals with their verdant parks and blossoming gardens. The truth is, modern urban […]

La Pepita

We’ve written a great deal about all the traditional Catalan, Basque and Spanish food around town, but what about the modern, globally influenced cooking that’s […]

Bodega Manolo

At first glance, Bodega Manolo seems like the usual wine shop/tapas bar that Barcelona does so well: a solid place to replenish our wine stocks […]

Yeni Lokanta

It is puzzling that Istanbul, a city of some 15 million people with an increasingly lavish lifestyle, a world-famous cuisine and a booming tourism industry, […]

La Pubilla del Taulat

The bodega side of La Pubilla del Taulat’s split-personality operation is no ordinary wine shop. While one wall is lined with hundreds of bottles from […]


The first thing we noticed about Lukumas, a well-loved Greek doughnut shop in Gràcia, was its creative graphic identity. That should come as no surprise […]

La Pubilla

Editor’s note: During the dog days of August, much of the city of Barcelona – including many dining establishments – shuts down for an extended […]

To Triantafilo tis Nostimias

To Triantafilo tis Nostimias restaurant would be impossible to find if someone didn’t tell you it was there. Although just a five-minute walk from busy […]

El Tast de Joan Noi

In Barcelona, food markets are longtime culinary institutions beloved by both neighbors and chefs. Their intense sights, smells and sounds are a wonderful, chaotic amuse-bouche […]

Cibalikapı Balıkçısı

On a night out in Istanbul, we often find ourselves forced to make sacrifices in one or more categories of the overall dining experience. Great […]


Ikastola means school in Basque. Covering the wall on the right as you walk in is a huge green chalkboard, inviting all to have a […]

Spanish Conservas: Gourmet Food? It’s in the Can

In Spain, conservas, or foods preserved in cans and jars, are not simply a matter of economic survival or a source of basic nutrition for […]

Diamonds in the Touristy Rough: Makalo

Editor’s note: This is the third piece in our series uncovering the hidden gems in some of Athens’ most touristy neighborhoods. After checking out Psyri […]

Diamonds in the Touristy Rough: Plaka Dining Secrets

Editor’s note: This is the second piece in our series featuring the hidden gems in some of Athens’ most touristy neighborhoods. We previously explored Psyri; […]

Mall Busters: Istanbul Beyond the Food Court

Editor’s note: This feature is the first piece in a series covering locally owned neighborhood eateries that offer an alternative to the food courts and […]

La Cova Fumada

Opened in 1944, La Cova Fumada (“The Smoked Cave”) is one of the most beloved gastronomic icons in Barcelona’s port area. Every day, people from […]

Drinking Culture: Tapping the Ayran (Powder) Keg

Editor’s note: While the fate of the Gezi Park occupation is being hotly discussed, we’ve been spending our time sipping deeper into Turkey’s other great […]

Athens’ Top Street Foods

Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment in our street food series this week, featuring dispatches on the best streetside eating in all the cities […]

barcelona top street foods churros

Barcelona’s Top Street Foods

Editor’s note: This feature from Barcelona is the third installment in our series this week devoted to the top street foods in each of the […]

Vermuteria Loú

Located on busy Carrer de l’Escorial on the edge of Gràcia, Vermuteria Loú is a tiny, cozy venue that is exactly what we look for […]


Named after a fragrant plant widely known as sweet clover, Melilotos got its start three years ago as a delivery service for the hungry Athens […]

Greek Easter Week, Dish by Dish

Forget about Christmas. In Greece, Easter is the main event, one where food, naturally, plays a starring role. It is also very much a holiday […]

Quimet & Quimet

With its high walls lined top-to-bottom with a colorful array of bottles, the tiny Quimet & Quimet, a charming tapas bar in El Poble Sec, […]

Ask CB: Smoke-Free Athens?

Dear Culinary Backstreets, I heard from some friends that everyone smokes in restaurants in Athens, despite the fact that it is not officially permitted. What […]

Museum Quality: Dining in Athens’ Cultural Institutions

Considering Athens’ position as a top tourist destination, it may come as a surprise that it is only recently that local museums have decided to […]

Ask CB: Kid-Friendly Dining in Barcelona?

Dear Culinary Backstreets, We will be visiting Barcelona with our children. Do you have any good recommendations of places in the city to eat with […]


In an opinion piece published recently in the Latitude blog of The New York Times, veteran Turkey correspondent Andrew Finkel’s brutally honest appraisal of the […]

In the House of Cod: Lent and Easter in Barcelona

Editor’s note: This post wraps up “Spring (Food) Break 2013,” our weeklong look at the favorite foods of the spring season in each city Culinary Backstreets covers. […]

Spring (Food) Break 2013: Istanbul

Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment of “Spring (Food) Break 2013,” featuring our favorite foods of the spring season in each city Culinary Backstreets […]

Çukur Meyhane

It wasn’t quite as dramatic as Meg Ryan’s big moment at Katz’s Deli in When Harry Met Sally, but a low-register, guttural moan of pleasure […]

When the Going Gets Tough, the Catalonians Get Brewing

Once a mostly beer-free country, Spain – traditionally a land of wine drinkers – has recently started to develop a taste for the sudsy beverage, […]

Gazoz: Turkish Fizzardry

In a 2003 TV commercial for Cola Turka, the actor Chevy Chase was seen speaking Turkish and then sporting a moustache, after taking just one […]

Ask CB: Lesser-Known Barcelona Food Markets?

Dear Culinary Backstreets, I’m traveling to Barcelona and I love visiting food markets. I’ve heard a lot about La Boquería, but are there any other […]


De toda la vida is a Spanish expression that basically means “It’s been around forever,” and it’s a sure thing that the locals in Barcelona’s […]

Ask CB: Greek Coffee in Athens?

Dear Culinary Backstreets, I keep hearing about Greek coffee but is it any different from Turkish coffee? And do most Greeks actually drink Greek coffee […]

Istanbul’s Burger Battle Goes International

As chronicled by Istanbul Eats, the Tünel end of Istanbul’s famed İstiklal boulevard was some two years ago the site of a heated burger war. […]

Athens’ New-School Wine Bars

The economic crisis that has plagued Greece for the past five years has led to changes on the Athenian culinary scene, including the opening of […]

Mustafa Amca

The Turkish proverb “At, avrat, silah ödünç verilmez” (“neither horse, wife nor weapon should be lent”) is sometimes repeated as a way to recall the […]

Calçots: Not Your Average Onion

As the legend goes, a 19th-century Catalan farmer was out experimenting in his fields when he came up with a new kind of longer, juicier […]

Best Bites of 2012: Barcelona

Editor’s note: This is the penultimate installment of “Best Bites of 2012,” a roundup of our top culinary experiences over the last year. Stay tuned […]

Downtown Athens Souvlaki Classics, Part 1

While Athens’ more upscale neighborhoods have recently rediscovered the gastronomic joys – and, let’s face it, the economic sense – of eating souvlaki, this classic […]

Asmalı Cavit

We can’t prove it, but we suspect a network of tunnels lies underground in Beyoğlu that connects most of the meyhanes of Asmalımescit and Nevizade […]


Certain global phenomena, like sushi, the mojito and the sitcom Golden Girls, might have arrived a bit late in Turkey, but as the world scrambles […]


The 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 […]


There are places that have been around so long that they’ve become emblematic of a city’s entire eating culture. In Athens, Stani (meaning “sheepfold” or […]

Sakarya Tatlıcısı

The arrival of fall always finds us heading instinctively, like salmon swimming towards their ancestral headwaters, to the Balık Pazarı, Beyoğlu’s historic fish market. Autumn […]

La Nena

The large banner in La Nena chocolatería proclaiming “No Hay Alcohol” (strung up between a rocking horse and a wooden toy kitchen) makes it fairly […]


Like Clark Kent hiding his Superman tights beneath a brown suit and glasses, Klemuri maintains the appearance of a predictable Beyoğlu café – wooden tables, […]

İsmet Baba

Diners in Istanbul are spoiled with options for fresh seafood. But most venues are mere caricatures of places like İsmet Baba, where traditions have been […]

Şimşek Pide Salonu

Editor’s note: We regret to report that Şimşek Pide Salonu has closed. Turkey’s take on the pizza comes in two distinct varieties. There’s the Arabesque […]


Ah, the joys of Plaka! That most beautiful of Athens neighborhoods, full of sights for visitors to behold: Neoclassical buildings, views of the Acropolis and […]


The first thing we noticed about Lukumas, a well-loved Greek doughnut shop in Gràcia, was its creative graphic identity. That should come as no surprise […]

Indian Spices

The so-called “ethnic” cuisines – from Middle Eastern and Indian to Chinese and Japanese – came to Athens relatively late, in the mid-1980s, and were […]

Köfteci Hüseyin

In New York, consider the pizza. You’ve got Famous Ray’s Pizza, Ray’s Original Pizza, World-Famous Original Ray’s Pizza, and so on. Ray and his imitators […]


Editor’s note, July 2013: Sadly, this classic Athens dining establishment recently closed down, a victim of the Greek financial crisis. Our Athens correspondent bids a […]

Beyoğlu Öğretmenevi

Like Atatürk statues and crescent-and-star flags etched into the sides of mountains, the öğretmenevi (“teacher’s house”) is an integral part of the Turkish landscape. Found […]

Istanbul’s Top Street Foods, Part 1

We’re especially fond of Istanbul’s vibrant – and sometimes plain wacky – street food scene. Here we present three of our favorite street foods and […]

Food Trucks, Part 1

In a city that stays up as late as Athens, it’s no surprise that late dinners and even later-night snacking are big. People don’t go […]

Lades 2

The no-frills Lades 2 presents diners with that age-old question: what to eat first, the chicken or the eggs? A Turkish version of the American-style […]

Şahin Lokantası

For Turks, mealtime is often a complicated emotional drama, one that revolves around a lifelong effort to return to the culinary womb – in other […]

La Pubilla

When chef Alexis Peñalver was looking for a location to open La Pubilla last year, he found this gem adjacent to el Mercado de la […]


It all started about six years ago, when Cretan cuisine – food from Crete, one of Greece’s largest and most famous islands – became fashionable […]


Editor’s note, January 2016: We’re sorry to report that this venue has closed. Ikastola means school in Basque. Covering the wall on the right as […]

To Triantafilo tis Nostimias

To Triantafilo tis Nostimias restaurant would be impossible to find if someone didn’t tell you it was there. Although just a five-minute walk from busy […]


Named after a fragrant plant widely known as sweet clover, Melilotos got its start three years ago as a delivery service for the hungry Athens […]

Untitled-34   Gaziantep, hands down, is home to the richest cuisine in Turkey making it an obvious destination for travelers focused on culinary experiences Read more

Untitled-39As we make our way round the building, my guide and local food expert, Filiz Hösükoğlu, translates while owner Omer Güllüoglu explains each stage of the process, from rolling out the filo pastry until it’s gossamer thin, filling it with pistachio nuts and syrup (honey is for amateurs, I’m told) to baking it in the wood-fired oven. Read more 

Untitled-40…experience the secrets of the recipes, see pistachio harvesting, kebab preparation, cooking with home chefs and eating attend sweet dessert making with grapes from the vineyard.  Read more

Untitled-35 Rich soils and warm summers deliver exceptional produce and it’s famous for its spices, grapes and Pistachios. You can find all these in the medieval bazaar, stalls festooned with dried vegetables and all sorts of pepper mix for sale – I love Isot, or Urfa Biber, which has a delicious smoky flavour, from being dried in the sun then wrapped and sweated throughout the night. Read more

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