We walked into Istanbul’lu just in time to get a table on a busy Friday night. My husband, Isaiah, and I were seated in the corner looking out over Holland Street. The room was cozy and filled with tables of people clearly savoring the food and the atmosphere.

Just after we were seated, we were brought a basket of warm, fresh Turkish bread with red pepper sauce, which was a nice accompaniment to a glass of Georgian wine (me) and Efes Turkish beer (him).

We started with the Coban Salad, a refreshing mix of tomato, peppers, cucumber, scallion, peynir (a hard Turkish cheese), tossed with olive oil and lemon juice. The salad was crunchy and fresh, and a great starting point for our meal. We decided to split a number of small plates, with our favorites being Mucver, a flavorful zucchini fritter with fresh yogurt sauce, and Ispanak Borani, a creamy spinach dish with tomatoes and tangy yogurt. It felt only right to cap this incredible meal off with a cup of sweet Turkish coffee.

Istanbul’lu was a perfect spot for our Friday night pre-movie date, and I have a feeling I’ll be bringing friends back to this spot again so I can sample more of the menu! With the restaurant full and humming, we did not get much of a chance to chat with Istanbul’lu’s owner, Huseyin Agkun. We look forward to catching up with him the next time we stop in, perhaps for a Turkish breakfast.

Sample Istanbul’lu’s Turkish specialties at YUM, coming up this Thursday, April 26th at the Arts at the Armory! Click here to buy tickets.

Istanbul’lu is located at 237 Holland Street in Somerville, MA. Click here to find out more about the restaurant or place an order online.

To see all the restaurants that will be featured at this year’s YUM event, click here.

YUM: A Taste Immigrant City is an evening of culinary tastes from immigrant-run Somerville restaurants and local world entertainment, which benefits the work of The Welcome Project, Somerville’s largest immigrant and advocacy organization. The Welcome Project serves over 200 families each year.

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