Middle East Restaurants & Bars

Kosebasi, Istanbul: Vegetarians and Carnivores love it!

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6 Turkish cities, a dip in the sea and a hammam treatment later I have finally managed to sit down in front of my lap top. Last weekend my parents came to visit me in Istanbul. Where do you take a mother who is an incredible cook and a father who has high food standards? In the city of kebabs I needed to find a great vegetarian option that would impress my parents.

So I took them to Kosebasi, one of my favourite restaurants in Istanbul. On paper Kosebasi is not the restaurant I would normally pick: a Turkish chain restaurant famous for its kebab. In reality it is an elegant South Anatolian restaurant, pleasing both vegetarians and carnivores.

Before getting a chance to look at the menu, a waiter brought a wide selection of mezzes for us to choose from. They all looked so fresh and colourful. The Turkish salad – toros was to die for. Finely chopped parsley, rocket, mint and tomatoes in a mix of spices and sour pomegranate sauce with hot nan/puffed bread.

We filled ourselves on eggplant in a yogurt sauce, fresh green peppers, kisir (cracked wheat) and Turkish pastries.

For main course admittedly there is not much variety for vegetarians. Nevertheless the chef made us Turkish style pizza stuffed with smoked aubergine, which we enjoyed with fresh Ayran (Turkish equivalent of lassi). My mum was in heaven. For my mum the smoked aubergine was like eating Indian baingan bharta, and the “Turkish pizza” was like Indian rotlo. My mum was determined to learn the recipe for this dish!

For desert we indulged in a semolina halvah stuffed with ice cream and a rice pudding very similar to the Indian kheer. For the rest of the trip my mum compared every meal to this one! If you plan to go to Kosebasi don’t go on the first night, as every meal after may be a disappointment.

If you are a carnivore every Turkish person will tell you that Kosebasi is a great place. If you are a vegetarian, trust me the mezzes are the best in town. Kosebasi is quite pricey for Turkish standards, but given the great food and the elegant local atmosphere I think its totally worth it. Make sure to book in advance.

Kosebasi, Çamlık Sokak No:15 3.Levent,  00902122702433, Istanbul – Turkey

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