Öztürkler Hamburgers

Written by on April 5, 2012 in I Eat Turkey, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(No website found at time of publishing) – Taksim neighborhood, Istanbul, Turkey 

How I heard of this place: While we on our first visit to Istanbul, we had to hit the heart of the city in Taksim Square. On that adventure (another story for another time and place), we came across doner kabob after doner kabob, and three places, in a row, had trays of soggy-looking burgers. Not long after, my brother-in-law said we had to eat a soggy burger and thus returned to sample the infamous islak hamburger.

Type of cuisine: Doner kebab, Islak hamburgers, Plates of kebab with salad, fries, and sandwiches stuffed with meat, lettuce, tomato and fries. Fast food, Turkish style.

Ambiance: Street food. While not found in a mobile truck, traveling through town the Islak seems to be available at only one of three or four doner kebab joints, all in a row, just off of Taksim Square. Big rounds of doner kebab rotating on an axis, heating/roasting from heat produced at the side/back of the contraption attract the attention of many passerby. But doner was not our reason for coming, today. To the right of the doner chef, a man dressed in a white, paper hat, white button-up shirt with a red stripe down the sleeve, grey slacks and a red-and-black checked apron, we noticed a glass box with the picture of three, oozing, gooey burgers on an orange background, atop which sat a glass box of sodas, atop which precariously rested a two-gallon bottle of Coca-Cola, one-litre bottles of mineral water, a number of smaller water bottles and an extra-large jar of whole, pickled carrots. In front, a huge box of fresh pomegranates for juicing and to its left, another man in the same uniformed attire, happily drinking tea out of a paper cup. The bright room in white – tiles, ceiling and walls (hardly noticable behind the cramped quarters stuffed with signs, brightly colored pictures of menu options and soda cans), is accented by orange paint under the wrap-around barquette with 12 stools ready for patrons to sit and gorge themselves. Just as we were about to do…

What I ordered: At first thought, Chris and I were going to share one Islak hamburger (2TL each). Seeing it in person, again, reminded us that we each have a bigger appetite than the small buns in the display, so we each ordered one; a can of Fanta (3TL) for good measure. Ten minutes later, we were back up at the counter (this time from the inside) asking for a re-fill…of Islak burgers.

What I loved: The Islak. Amazing. Full of grease, fat and terrible for your health, but about as beautiful as any hamburger could ever get.

Why I loved it: The space is very loud and feels very Middle Eastern. People are rushing by, grabbing food to go. The staff members are all smiling and laughing, joking and enjoying Çay (tea) and more warm and friendly than many people (as a whole) that we have come to meet in our lives.

Cost: Low (2TL per Islak)


Websites boasting the Top 5 Street Foods in Istanbul: 



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