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Kanaat Restaurant Istanbul



Kırgılı Family used to sell ice-cream and pastry wafers on the cobled
streets of Istanbul in the late '80s. Then they opened a restaurant and
named it 'Kanaat.' The restaurant in Üsküdar district offers it's
customers a feast and takes them on a journey in time

AYŞE KESMENOĞLU
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
Monday, January 7, 2008

In the inconspicuous Kanaat Restaurant in the center of Istanbul's
oldest suburb, Üsküdar, Ottoman times are still very much alive and
guests journey to the long gone days of Istanbul.

“It is one of those places in Istanbul that is always worth going
to, no matter where you are”, Osman Kesmenoğlu proudly said. This
perception is shared among Istanbulites of every class and age, the
Turkish Council of Gourmets and even the Prime Minister admits that it
is one of his favorite stops in Turkey's metropolis.

At the end of the 1880s, an Albanian family called Kargılı began a
new life in what is now Istanbul, where Vahdettin Kargılı sold ice-cream
and pastry wafers on the cobbled streets. His exceptional sweets quickly
became well-known all over town and thus, together with his two brothers
Fuat and Kenan the ice-cream master came to open a small restaurant:
Kanaat.

“I have no other choice, I love my restaurant”

“We still strictly follow the original recipes and offer the same
menu card. Accordingly, our staff is entirely trained by us to follow
our unique tradition”, today's Kanaat chef Mustafa Kargılı said. The
son of Vahdettin works seven days a week and 365 days per year; he has
not had a holiday since he was seven years old. His passion for
traditional Turkish and Ottoman cuisine simply rules his life and
explains the lasting success story of the 70-year-old family business.
“That is what we learned from our father, our customers expect
great service and quality and thus, they should be able to trust that
the boss is here, should there be any problem”, he said to the
Internet portal Mymerhaba. He further confesses: “I have no other
choice, I love my restaurant.”

His undeniable pleasure seems to be vested in Kanaat's friendly and
cheerful staff, who provide a welcoming ambience a la Turkish
hospitality. The cooks behind the open buffets patiently explain the
wide variety of starters, soups, meat dishes and deserts and openly
recommend the best choices of the day. “Our Iskender Kebab is a bit
too salty; but the Goulash turned out very well today,” the cook said.


The guests commonly appreciate this honesty and openness and thus, it
seems that people rarely even glance at the menu card, which rather
obligatorily lies on every table. Instead, the customers run from buffet
to buffet, look at the numerous sorts of meatballs, kebabs and
vegetarian dishes and have a small chat with the chefs who counsel them.
Then, they quickly return to their tables and inform the waiters about
their choices and extra wishes, who immediately bring the ordered plates
to their guests.



Each dish a specialty in itself

The starters, main courses and deserts: All have divine flavors and
cast a spell on every visitor. The ingredients are fresh, perfectly
cooked and combined in the tried and tested way of the Ottomans.
Therefore, either the kebab in pastry, the meatballs with lemon sauce or
the glazed quince with Turkish cream, each dish is a specialty in itself
and completely opposes the recent trend for a “healthy life and
diet”. But Kanaat's guests do not count or care about the mass of
calories; instead, the great majority orders a starter or soup, a rustic
main course and one of the alluring sweet bombs. These feasts are
completed with Turkish tea or coffee and frequenters inform the curious
personnel about the latest gossip in Üsküdar's neighborhood.

In this way, Kanaat touches at least 1,200 stomachs between 07.00 am
and 11.00 pm each day. The old days appear in the tables and chairs and
Kanaat's décor, which is limited to a huge old samovar and a few Ottoman
vessels sparsely distributed through the restaurant. “Do you want to
enjoy a great dinner or lunch in a restaurant or do you aim to buy a
modern interior for your apartment?” Kargılı humorously said. And he
is right; the primitive decoration is definitely compensated by Kanaat's
popular and excellent cuisine. Bon appetite!

Kanaat Lokantası

Selmanipak Cad. No:25, Üküdar- Istanbul

Tel: 0216 341 5444

 

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