It’s family style
Located in the northern reaches of Toronto, where the parking is free and plentiful, Istanbul Grill serves up an array of Turkish delicacies. Through the wide arching entrance, Istanbul Grill is a family-style restaurant replete with plastic-covered tablecloths (for the messier folks), a children’s menu, live Turkish music on the weekends, and plenty of space to host a private party.
Enter the ottoman empire
Turkish cuisine consists of its own regional specialities, with recipes named after a city or area in Turkey where those methods and ingredients are widely used. While Istanbul Grill incorporates Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes in their menu (like hummus and babaganoush dips, Israeli salad, grilled calamari, falafel, and chicken shawarma), there are plenty of unfamiliar Turkey-centric plates to pore over. Some of these traditions include cold eggplant salad, lahmacun (a Turkish flatbread pizza), cigara borek (a layered phyllo pastry stuffed with feta and parsley), as well as pide (minced meat, mozzarella, or feta wrapped in baked dough).
At Istanbul Grill, kebabs reign supreme. Marinated chicken breast, lamb, and beef skewers are among the simpler options, served with salad and rice, bulgur pilaf, or french fries. Other choices include kefta (Arabic hamburger), Adana (meat seasoned with red pepper flakes), Urfa (meat seasoned with garlic), sarma beyti (meat grilled on the skewer and then wrapped in lavash pastry and topped with tomato sauce), iskender (thinly sliced meat atop pide with tomato sauce and yogurt), as well as the mother of all kebabs—the vali, an enormous plate that offers a little bit of everything.