I am used to being underwhelmed by burgers in Rome, a place sadly lacking a BBQ culture, but I have greater expectations in Istanbul where grilled meat is ubiquitous. And if you’ve ever seen köfte, you know a burger patty isn’t a huge leap. Over the past couple of years, a bunch of places have tried to make and market American-style burgers with Heinz ketchup and all. The results have been…interesting. In my humble opinion, only burgers at numnum, brought to you by Johnson & Wales trained chef Mehmet Gürs, are worth mentioning. Plus, they serve great fries AND onion rings.

Not so exciting, on the other hand, is the popular Dükkan Burger. Part of Emre Mermer’s growing meat peddling empire, there are several locations, all of which are in posh areas (unlike the Küçük Artmutlu location of his flagship steakhouse). I checked out the Dükkan Burger in Bebek last night with my friend Ayşe and neither of us were impressed. My dry hamburger was overwhelmed by its enormous and slightly dry bun. Ayşe’s “Yeşil” Burger (a “green” burger sandwiched between lettuce leaves instead of bread slices) was over-salted and gamey. Of course I had to compensate for her carb-snub by ordering a chocolate milkshake (Dükkan doesn’t serve beer), which was the meal’s highlight. Overall, Dükkan Burger was disappointing, a fact that will no doubt lead me back to numnum later this week.