If you are looking for a good Mediterranean restaurant, you can’t go wrong with the Istanbul Grill in Tremont. The Istanbul Grill was established in 2010 in the historic Tremont neighborhood at the south end of Professor, near the St. Teodosious Church and Lucky’s Cafe. The food is fresh and very flavorful.
As we walked in the door we were greeted enthusiastically and shown to our tables. Our group of 20 was seated at three separate tables, one of which was in an alcove on the upper floor, but no one cared after the food came out. The service was attentive, and the food was delicious. The atmosphere in the restaurant was simple, clean, and modern yet warm. I have heard wonderful things about the patio, although I haven’t had a chance to check it out.
I like to start my meal off with a beverage (in the case of Turkish cuisine I like to enjoy an apple tea), and the Istanbul Grill didn’t disappoint. This fruity flavored delight is much more popular in the Turkish culture than traditional tea and coffee. In fact it is regarded as the national soft drink of Turkey.
My friend is a vegetarian, so we ordered several vegetarian appetizers. I wasn’t quick enough to photograph the baba gannush (chargrilled eggplant pureed with olive oil, lemon and garlic) before she dug in. The baba was fresh and delicious. You could taste that it was freshly prepared on site. The other appetizer – the soslu patlican (pictured to the left) – featured chopped eggplant cooked in a moderately spicy sauce of fresh tomato, green pepper, garlic, onions and parsley) was also quite fresh. Of the two I preferred the baba, but I am not a huge eggplant fan.
When it comes to Turkish food, my entree of choice is usually the Chicken Adana, although Doner Kebab is a close second. I ordered the Adana kebab (ground chicken and beef grilled on skewers), which was flavorful, and the meat was perfectly cooked – crispy on the outside, yet juicy from the inside, seasoned to perfection. The rice was flaky and a nice complement to the meat. Since I have a dairy allergy I did not order the yogurt kebabs, although several people did and raved about them.
My friend ordered the Sigara Börek on Mediterranean Salad. The “cigars” filled with feta cheese and parsley were artfully placed over the bed of greens, and she loved her choice.
No meal is complete without dessert, and the Istanbul Grill didn’t disappoint. Our group tends to order several desserts and shares them. In this case, the baklava was fresh and tender, and the Kadayif (shredded pastry dough stuffed with walnuts, baked, and topped with
chopped pistachios) was a delight. And of course no meal is complete without a Turkish coffee.
The members of my dining out group couldn’t wait to go back, and have mentioned it several times since our meal. The vegetarians in the group were especially pleased with their meals. If you are looking for an affordable yet tasty meal, you can’t go wrong with the Istanbul Grill in Tremont.
2505 Professor Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113