Thursday, July 21, 2011

Potpourri....Mangerie Bebek & Miss Pizza

Dear readers,

Summer has finally arrived in Istanbul and the rest of the country with a bang!!! Until a few days ago, the temperatures in the country were average for this time of year, but now they are - in some cases - 6-7 centigrades above the norm. And, when you add the humidity and no breeze, it feels even hotter!

As they say... "c'est la vie" - we just have to cope with what life deals us!

Since I have been very busy finishing up a major project for one of my clients, unfortunately I have not been able to be very "social" for the last week or so - so I don't have many "fresh" updates on places I visited recently, but my "repertoire" of venues is so extensive, that I can still share my wealth of knowledge with you - even when I can't leave the house!

And ... now we begin...

Last night I was invited to a party at Mangerie Bebek ( by Beefeater's (gin) PR company. Unfortunately, I had such a full day of running around, my battery died out at 7:00pm and I couldn't go... however, I have been a customer of Mangerie Bebek ever since it opened... can't remember exactly when, but I think it has been at least 5 years. It is owned and managed by Elif Yalın (she also owns Delicatessen in Nişantaşı and IstinyePark shopping mall), who herself is a talented chef and cookbook author. Prior to opening her own venue, Elif was one of the partners of The House Cafe before she ventured out on her own.

Managerie Bebek is not a place you will see walking down the street in Bebek on Cevdetpaşa Street - the main strip. It is located on the rooftop of a building that houses Lulus's on the street level.

Be prepared to walk about quite a bit of steps to reach this eatery, but even if a little winded (as I always am), you won't be disappointed.

Mangeri Bebek is not very big... the decor is very casual and comfortable and you almost feel like you are sitting in someone's living room. It has an open kitchen and a small terrace with a partial view of the Bosphorus waterfront. This is the place to sit at in the summer, so make a reservation before going - for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Elif has a website which is unfortunately only in Turkish... but to give you an idea of her menu... she too has the all pre-requisite items to include salads, sandwiches, burgers, main courses, desserts, etc. - but all the selections are prepared with a twist and are quite filling as the portion sizes are above average. The "twist" is either the ingredients (always fresh, always in season), how the ingredients are used and the bread (always home made). Just to give you an example... one of my favorites is the "Balık-Ekmek" sandwich which means fish sandwich. The ingredients are grilled seabass topped with mashed eggplant, green olive tapenade, roasted red bell peppers and arugula on homemade corn bread! I just gained a kilo writing about it! It is so so good! Another point on the menu - it includes pork products (bacon, pork sausages) which is not common on most menus in Istanbul and a few lamb dishes. It also includes a whole host of breakfast treats - from omelettes and other egg dishes to scrumptious huge toast sandwiches, pancakes and muesli. Also, make sure to try the homemade lemonade - with or without mint - talk about refreshing!

Mangerie Bebek is open daily from 8:00am to midnight,alcohol is served, prices are medium to high, reservations are recommended and all credit cards are accepted. I am hoping to visit Mangerie Bebek after my trip to Çeşme and Imzir because it has been a while since I had the chance to go there and miss the food, tranquility and homey atmosphere - and of course the efficient service.

Actually, I just realized I do have one "live" new experience to share with you. Yesterday I had to go to Şişhane for a meeting with a client. For those who don't know Şişhane... it is at the end of the Taksim and Beyoğlu area and just below Asmalımescit. In fact, in the picture below, you will see the steps that you can walk up that will take you into the heart of Asmalımescit and Tünel and also steps from Galata and Istiklal Street - the main hub in Beyoğlu.

I took the metro to Şişhane from Levent  - the cheapest (1,75TL versus a 15 TL cab ride) and coolest (the metro has excellent A/C while most taxis do not turn on the A/C) way to get there - and especially in under 20 minutes!

Up until a couple of years ago, the Şişhane district was very run down and only passed on the way to go somewhere else or if you have some business with the Municpality of Beyoğlu (see picture below). It has now gone through a major transformation: the streets have been re-paved and there are very nice new restaurants, cafes, hotels, etc. to eat at or stay in. Since this is an article by itself... I will leave it at that and get back to a Şişhane tour at a later date.

I arrived in Şişhane early - which was good as I was starving! To the left of the metro exit is a placed called Miss Pizza ( The "original" opened in Cihangir a few years ago and this branch last year. As this was the closest place to where I was going for my meeting, I decided to stop by. It is a small and quaint eatery with indoor and outdoor seating and with an exposed open "brick oven" and as you might have guessed - there specialty is pizza! Even though this is the 2nd time I am going there, I haven't tried the pizza yet, but I hear it is good. Since I was pressed for time, I ordered an appetizer: Avocado Caprese, which includes a couple of slices of fresh avocado, buffalo mozarella cheese, slices of cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and olive oil paste. The dish is very refreshing and delicious, but I personally think the portion can be bigger (16 TL). It is served with oven baked thin foccacia bread sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, however, it was a little dry as it should have been served warm. All in all, I had a nice experience, but the thing I noticed both times is that the waiters (even though it was not crowded) are not very attentive - it can be difficult getting their attention. But, I still recommend that you stop by if in the neighborhood, because the quality of the food makes up for this minor indiscretion.

I hope you enjoy wha tyou read - and if you do... please feel free to share with your friends and I would also love to get some feedback!


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