Neighbor Roy emailed me earlier in the week and said we should try Istanbul Mediterranean on East Speedway in Tucson for our next luncheon outing. I said that it sounded interesting, so on the following Friday, that’s where we went. Only this time we took my brother-in-law, Paul, with us. He was visiting from Washington (the state of).
We parked in front of the restaurant, walked in, and were immediately seated. The first thing I noticed was the chairs, heavy metal and decent cushions. Nice touch!
The second thing I noticed was a mural of the Blue Mosque on the back wall. Roy regaled Paul and me about his trip to Turkey many years prior. The third thing I noticed was the ceiling, open and high, trimmed in what looked like dark mohogany wood. The fourth item noticed was the many framed pictures of Istanbul or at least Turkey over all the booths along one wall.
Roy ordered his usual hot tea. What was unusual was the way it was served. See photo below. He then ordered the Doner Low-Carb Plate: Rotisserie Beef and Lamb served with tzatziki sauce. This plate was served with broccoli, tomatoes, onions, spinach, and mushrooms.
Paul ordered what he described as a Chicken Sandwich with French Fries. I ordered the Beef Kebab Plate, Filet Mignon marinated with garlic, olive oil, and allspice. We all three asked for a to-go box, so large were the portions, there was plenty left over for me to share with Ms. Karen when I got home.
Before our lunches were served, our waitress came by our table, said something about a mistake in the kitchen, and she brought us an appetizer plate … no charge. Well, that was swell. And really delicious.
Roy can describe his experience.
“Today, we visited a relatively new Turkish-style restaurant called Istanbul on E Speedway, a short distance east of the University area. We were able to park right in front of the restaurant. As we entered the restaurant, I noticed a projection of the Blue Mosque on the back wall–remembering when I had visited this mosque many years ago. We were promptly seated, menus provided and drink orders taken. I ordered my usual tea and the dietetic plate of slivered lamb and beef. My tea arrived promptly, it was in a small glass carafe with a glass saucer under it–very unusual serving manner. The tea was novel and excellent. At this point, the server appeared at our table apologizing that the kitchen had made some sort of error and to apologize, she presented an unordered appetizer platter, with pita bread, veggies and dipping sauces., very tasty and very appreciated. My main course arrived on a platter–one look at it and I knew I could never finish it. It consisted of a huge platter covered with thinly sliced beef and lamb, along with roasted veggies and a dipping sauce. As it turned out I will have three meals, one in the restaurant and two at home. I must confess I have never been more full when leaving a restaurant and taking so much home. The food is excellent, the restaurant is authentic Middle Eastern, the wait staff above average in attentiveness. This restaurant deserves a full 4 saguaros–I can hardly wait to return for more authentic Turkish-style food.”
Roy and I agree. Istanbul deserves a four Saguaro rating. My Filet Mignon was excellent. The salad and rice were also very good. And the Pita Bread was definitely fresh baked and still warm.
Ms Karen here. I concur. JIm’s leftovers were delicious as was the previous Mediterranean meal he brought home. I do like Orzo, the Pita was good and the beef tender. When traveling in Egypt and Jerusalem, we never got this fancy. The salads were always cucumber and tomatoes, which I tired of, as I don’t really like cucumbers. My brother must have found his lunch rather odd, as in not what he preferred. He also brought it home and it hardly looked like a Chicken sandwich or french fries. We had eaten so much over the last few days, perhaps even he was tired of food. But I would have doubted that could ever happen. I would also be interested to find out what the cook’s mistake was that deserved a free appetizer.
Istanbul Mediterranean Cusine and Bar
2945 E. Speedway Blvd