Slam your fist into a raw onion, throw a slice in your mouth to masticate with this hearty white bean stew with a spoonful of rice. If that’s not your thing, you can pair this tangy dish with a slice of bread just out of the oven.
Once upon a time, what was a peasant’s dish in Turkish cuisine has transformed itself to become a national dish. Every Turkish cook learns the basics from this tomatoey stewed bean dish, and some even change it for a good reason: there is a sense of ‘home,’ a cottagey, nostalgic feel, and each plate contains a story.
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If you want to be a part of that, here are 8 of the best kuru fasulye restaurants in Istanbul:
1. Tarihi Kalkanoğlu Pilavcısı
A stone’s throw from the Taksim Square, you should get ready to eat one of the best beans and rice dishes in Turkey. This is one of the restaurants we visit on our Taksim Evening Food tour.
Anyone who hates beans will change their mind with the classy approach. Perhaps it’s because their recipe has been passed down from generation to generation, or perhaps it’s because the owner is such a wonderful host that he’ll take each guest’s joy as a serious endeavor.
Kuru fasulye at Tarihi Kalkanoğlu Pilavcısı is likely to be the best thing you’ve had all week, especially if you pair it with the legendary rice, pickles, and the frothy ayran which comes in a traditional Ottoman-style cup.
If it is your lucky day, there will still be some Hamsiköy Sütlacı (rice pudding) left for you to order.
Address: Kuloğlu, Ayhan Işık Sk. 16/A, 34435 Beyoğlu
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2. Hüsrev Lokantası
A majestic décor with a ‘world famous’ white butter beans dish that just melts in your mouth. Do you need anything more?
With so many tempting dishes like the tender boiled lamb shank or the variety of kebabs, it may be an idea to try the beans as part of the Chef’s Special Plate (Şefin Tabağı). If you do, instead of getting just one dish, you’ll get the kuru fasulye paired with roasted beef, stuffed black cabbage, and rice, so you’ll leave with a little less disappointment than if you got the beans by themselves.
If you can never say no to dessert, combining the ice cream with the “Un Helvası” will make you envy all the other guests.
Address: Gayrettepe, Yıldız Posta Cd. No:48/1, 34349 Beşiktaş
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3. Çömlek Kuru Fasülye
“Welcome to the Turkish Kitchen,” says the menu, and this swanky restaurant is very welcoming indeed. If you’re a fan of combining dishes, you might even surprise yourself if you order the beans with bulgur rice and then add the mıhlama (melted cheese/cheese fondue) on top to create an unbelievably rich, savory experience. The service is on the slow side, but that’s most likely so you can really take in the rich views. Oh, and the black cabbage sarma (rolls) is insane.
Address: Kısıklı, Turistik Çamlıca Cd. No:50, 34692 Üsküdar
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Fasuli has 5 branches in Istanbul, and they claim to serve the best kuru fasülye in the whole world. We agree that their bean stew is one of the best in Istanbul.
You will also find many other dishes here, such as rice wrapped with anchovies that are oven-baked will convert you into a seafood fan. Further, though we’re huge fans of the soups at Fasuli, we still fantasize about the lentil soup and black cabbage soup with corn and red beans.
Address: Molla Gürani, Adnan Menderes Blv. No:103, 34093 Fatih
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5. Erzincanlı Ali Baba
If you really want a heavenly experience, this place is focused on little else. Their spicy beans always come with the exact viscosity needed to pair with the smooth rice and the creamy yogurt.
For higher protein, you can combine the dish with bulgur rice or add a colorful salad if you’re looking to be healthy. However, we should warn you: the pumpkin dessert with its sweet sauce oozing off of it and the crunchy walnuts are hard to resist.
Address: Süleymaniye, Süleymaniye NO 7, Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar Cd., 34116 Fatih
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6. Kardeşler Lokantası
Don’t be fooled by the minimalistic décor; this ‘esnaf’ (workers’) restaurant hosts some of the most awe-inspiring dishes when it comes to taste. Although the döner kebab that you will spot first is a luscious experience, it’s so much more fun to walk up to the counter and find a million ways to combine the variety of traditional Turkish dishes.
The beans dish here is less viscous than other restaurants, which makes it perfect to pair with the potatoey shepherd’s pie (Patates kapama) to create the ultimate dish.
If you get there at lunch, you may find yourself sharing a table with locals, making this place the perfect opportunity to try out your language skills.
Address: Mithatpaşa, 84, İstanbul Cd., 34075 Eyüpsultan
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7. Bizce Kuru
This inviting restaurant with its warm yellows is the ultimate spot for those looking to bulk up as well as slim down. They do have the traditional approach with buttery rice as well as tempting fries but don’t let that distract you: their kuru fasulye is more focused on emphasizing the beans than the tomato sauce.
You can get a wallop of protein from combining the beans with köfte (meatballs) or roasted meat. If, however, you’re feeling adventurous, the offal dishes are magnificent in their own right – whether that be liver, brains, feet, tongue, or head.
If you’re dieting, grab some extra protein with the frothy ayran or pair the beans with pickled veggies or salad for a satiating yet gratifying meal. If you like healthy, high-quality, and fresh products in a hygienic environment, this is the place to be.
Address: Yenibosna Merkez, Köyceğiz Sk. 5A, 34197 Bahçelievler
Taste of Two Continents Tour
-Secret local restaurants & one-of-a-kind boutique markets
-Visit locals favourite Kadikoy market
-Taste the world famous Turkish ice-cream & baklava
-It is not just food, it's Turkish culture with an expert's insider view
If you want to feel like a guest of honor at a luxurious banquet, this family-friendly restaurant is the Black Sea Region’s answer to your prayers. Although you may find yourself filled up with cheesy pide, you still won’t want to miss the two different kinds of rice: the normal buttery kind and the higher fiber and protein bulgur with şehriye (noodles).
Gluten-free cornbread is also available with a plain, an anchovy, and a blueberry version that’s fabulous on its own as a dessert if the pumpkin cake is not in season. The sweetener and sugar-free black grape juice were like an ode to the culinary muses.
Address: İçerenköy, Caddesi, Prof. Dr. Ali Nihat Tarlan Cd No:103, 34752 Ataşehir
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