Some things go together better than other things. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is delicious… but peanut butter and jellyfish? Probably not. But the combination of ingredients which go well together changes with your cultural perspective. The British love to mix mint with chocolate, but the Lebanese only mix mint with their savory and salty dishes.
So for me, living on a cultural precipice without enough gravitational force to fall either onto the American or Turkish inclination, seeing a restaurant that serves both gözleme (savory crepes) and fried anchovies, called hamsi, both confuses and excites me.
Firstly, there is no other restaurant serving this combination of food. But does that mean it is wrong to? Proponents of diversity would applaud the originality of this restaurant. As a whole though, Turkish people shy away from food to which they are unaccustomed. That said, Osmanlı balıkçısı is jam-packed daily with local and foreign visitors looking for a cheap and tasty meal.
The restaurant itself is as perplexing as the lunch specials. Pictures of anchovies, black sea landscapes, and the Kaaba hang side-by-side on the walls. There are only about 6 tables, so if you go by yourself be prepared to be relegated to the lonely dinners table along with other unaccompanied patrons. Not to feat, this is a perfect opportunity to make a new friend! There is no menu, only the two items available. The old man fries the fish, and the old lady rolls out dough and toasts the gözlemes upon a convex griddle. Behind her the sign on the wall offers the chance to eat “Monitoring Of Mixed.” A prize for anyone who can figure out where they came up with this translation or what it is supposed to mean.
Being of the adventurous mindset, I ordered a half portion of hamsi (4tl) which come with an entire half of a raw onion, which it may be wise to avoid if you plan on talking to anyone for the rest of the day, and one mixed gözleme (5tl) which turned out to contains fresh spinach, potato, and cheese. Both were delicious, and for 9tl I was stuffed.
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Uzun Çarşısı cad. #232, Eminönü