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Istanbul Turkish Cuisine

3604 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 943-4300

Istanbul Turkish Cuisine just south of N.W. 36th & May

The owners of Istanbul Turkish Cuisine and Cous Cous Cafe are apparently friends and business partners, and have opened similar restaurants a couple of miles from each other on North May Avenue. When I picked up Istanbul's menu while visiting Cous Cous, this alerted me to the fact that another ethnic restaurant with flavorful and authentic cuisine had opened (any recommendation by Cous Cous carries great credibility in my book). While Turkish cuisine is somewhat different from Cous Cous' Moroccan style of food, one thing both restaurants offer is a focus on their owner's country of origin.

Istanbul is located in a small strip shopping center which has long ago converted from retail stores to a mixture of restaurants and other service oriented businesses. The restaurant is in the space farthest away from May Avenue, but if you spot Jersey Mike's you will know you are in the right place.

Adana kebob
Adana kebob is one of the specialties of the restaurant

The Adana Kebob is one of the restaurant's specialties, which I understood to mean one of its most popular items. It is hard to find dinners which do not include some type of meat as the main item, and this may be the main drawback of Istanbul when compared to Cous Cous Cafe (the vegetable tagine at Cous Cous is a great choice for a meatless meal). The adana kebob, though, goes on my list as one of the best meat dishes in the city.

Istanbul has several types of kebob plates, including doner kebab (beef and lamb) and shish kebob (beef). The lamb meat and spices from the adana kebob, though, was a good example of the flavorful Middle Eastern cuisine that is one of my favorites.

The dish came with two types of rice (one with a red color and one with a white color), and I am not sure which one was the Rice Pilaf described on the menu. I thought the rice and salad were good, but they did not strike me as being particularly memorable side dishes as are served in some of the city's Lebanese style restaurants (such as Nunu's and Camilya's).

Turkish pizza
Turkish pizza

I only had a taste of the Turkish Pizza, but to me the sprinkling of meat and toppings it had did not make it as appetizing as the kebob dinner. The "crust" of the pizza was not the traditional Italian style, and was more like a Middle Eastern flat bread (very good, but the term "pizza" might be a little misleading).

Rice pudding
Rice pudding

The Rice Pudding was very good, and was worth ordering (both in terms of the price and in terms of being part of the limited diet of sweets I allow myself to have).

The restaurant served a Turkish Tea which I thought was very plain compared to the mint tea served by Cous Cous Cafe, but Istanbul's tea was also a lot less expensive (so I have no complaints about it).

The menu lists several sandwiches and wraps if you want a smaller meal, but dinner plates are pretty substantial (and the rice was good enough that I tried to eat all of it).

This was the first time I had been able to try Turkish food, and my initial reaction was that it did not have the exceptional flavor or uniqueness that I had found with the Moroccan food at Cous Cous Cafe. I enjoyed everything at Istanbul, though, and it certainly takes its place as one of the city's high quality Middle Eastern restaurants.

My Comments in a Nutshell
What I like most:
  • Kabob (kebob) was among the best I have had
  • Offers Turkish style dishes (one of only two restaurants in the metro I can find on the Internet that has this type of food)
  • No disappointments with the restaurant, only that personally I prefer the Moroccan food at Cous Cous Cafe
Things to know:
  • May be hard to find--look for Jersey Mike's just south of N.W. 36th & May
  • There are pictures of everything on the menu, and many items are visible in a display case (so even though this is a new cuisine to many, there should be no surprises when you get your food)
  • Has a good dessert selection (and I think it changes daily)
  • The main problem with handicapped accessibility seems to be the small ramp in front that may be hard to use when a car is parked in the space next to it (but I think usually people will not have any problem)



Cuisine: Turkish
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Mon.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No Smoking

Most Recent Visit
Jul. 9, 2014

Number of Visits: 1

Best Item
Adana Kebob

Special Ratings
Adana Kebob:
Turkish Pizza:
Rice Pudding: