If you ask me how I choose restaurants to try, I probably can’t give a succinct answer. It is a combination of many variables which entice a customer; are they hungry? do they like the decor? is it the right price range? is there a guy shoving a menu at them like it is a sick baby the potential patrons have the saintly power to heal? does it smell good? all of the above and many more.
That said, the number one reason most people go to a restaurant is because their friends recommended it. It is the most powerful force of culinary retail, though unfortunately most purveyors of food in Istanbul seem to have forgotten this golden rule. They deploy a rip and run policy of tourist feeding which degrades the culture and ultimately harms the entire sector in the long run.
I can honestly and truly say that the chef/owner of Can Oba knows these principals well and sees the need for a change. Having just opened his restaurant a few months ago, Can is by far the newest comer to the Hoca Paşa neighborhood of Sirkeci, Istanbul. His food is excellent, his staff is friendly, his location is prime, and his prices are reasonable. Wait, is this Istanbul we are talking about still?? And so close to Sultanahmet at that? Yes, Can represents a new breed of Turksih entrepreneurial more interested in the long view then the grab and dash.
I ate lasagna. It was incredibly good. The noodles are homemade, the sauce is homemade, the spinach is fresh, and the goat cheese is tangy. Anything more I can say will not do the meal justice. Try it for yourself. The guys are the next table gobbled a meze (Turkish appetized) plate which looked great (and priced at only 9.50tl), followed by a nargile (water pipe) delivered from the cafe next door and followed by what looked like two delicious kebaps. Incidentally, these two gentlemen where Kurdish, speaking English to the waiter. When a new customer arrived who spoke Kurdish as well but no English, they translated the order for the waiter.
The ezme, which isa sort of Turkish salsa/chutney made from tomatoes, peppers, onions, and parsley, was the best I have eaten, and the restaurant claims their salmon is delicious so I will try it in the near future and report back. The duck with roka salad was a weekly special and was out of this world. Whatever the special happens to be, choose it!
The strawberries with pomegranate seeds and chocolate mousse for dessert was outstanding as well. The highest praises for Can Oba, I hope that this restaurant will succeed and set a higher standard for the dinning of Istanbul, particularly the tourist districts.
Can Oba Restaurant
Hocapasa Sok No:10, 34112 Sirkeci, Turkey
0212 522 1215
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