Last year my friend Can sent me to Antebi, a restaurant in Caddebostan (Istanbul) specializing in food from Southeastern Turkey. I was immediately hooked. Their richly spiced food, liberal use of pomegranate molassas, and quality ingredients are all the things I need in life. And even though Antebi was a 15-minute walk from where I stay in Istanbul, it was a place I would have crossed the city to dine in. Then, tragically, Antebi closed in late summer. It was devastating.
I mourned the loss in the only way I know how: by creeping past the old location on Rıfat Bey Sokak, staring at the building longingly and hoping for Antebi’s reincarnation. It was weird. But, alas, Antebi has reopened in Göztepe. The new location is on the corner of Fahrettin Kerim Gökay and Sarayönü Caddesi, in the southwest corner of the Marmara University Campus.
The new restaurant is spread out over two buildings. On the left hand side of the entrance courtyard is the kitchen and smoking part of the restaurant. And in a separate, detached building on the right is the non-smoking section.
The menu is composed of the same delicious mezes from Antep (and a few from Antakya) that made up the old menu, including muhammara, a thick walnut and pepper spread, one of my favorite foods. There are also hot appetizers like sauteed liver, içli köfte, and lahmacun.
The grilled meats are quite good, especially the kuzu şiş (grilled marinated lamb cubes). The server Hasan explained that Antebi serves lambs slaughtered in Antep then brought to Istanbul whole to be butchered.
The desserts on the menu are a mixture of Antep traditions and others around southeastern Turkey. If you were curious about how to get 3,000 calories on a single plate, kadayif wrapped around ground pistacchios and kaymak is a pretty straightforward way to do it.