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Mim Kemal Öke Caddesi No. 21, Nişantaşı, Istanbul

Established in 1950, this popular lokanta has the air of a solid old-fashioned, well-oiled Turkish restaurant of the Pandelli/Ege/Abdullah generation (Pandelli was the last to succumb), with proper, old-fashioned, rather severe waiters in white coats. It is also licensed.

Hunkar is a propper lokanta designed for businessmen, artists and grandees accustomed to only the best at home. It is not your usual run-of-the-mill worker’s café lokanta, as you might expect for it stands halfway down arguably the smartest street in Istanbul.

Hunkar serves a large selection of meat, vegetarian and even vegan Turkish kitchen staples that are traditionally prepared and very tasty. The editors of Cornucopia have a particular penchant for the paça (trotter’s soup). Originally opened in Fatih, the lokanta moved to Nişantaşı in 2000 and won Restaurant Magazine’s Best Restaurant Award in 2007.

Delicatessen on the same street is great for a more European-inspired lunch. Kantin has now moved down to Milli Reasurans, between the lower end of Abdi İpekçi Caddesi and Maçka Caddesi, and has also now acquired a license, remaining open for dinner. The much more basic unlicensed Güzelbahçe, on the other side of Teşvikiye Caddesi also serve favourites from the Turkish kitchen.

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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