When I was back in Istanbul I had the chance to visit the restaurant Çiya Sofrası in Kadıköy. On a weekday evening my boyfriend and I were hopping on a ferry deck to reach the Asian side of the city. Riding with the ferry in Istanbul is always a magical experience; to see the lights and to feel the sea breeze is just wonderful. The restaurant is about ten minutes walking distance from the ferry station in Kadıköy. While walking through the narrow streets of Kadıköy you can see many shops, restaurants and the food market.
When we finally arrived to the right street (Güneslibahce Sk.) we were a little bit confused. Because we saw three Çiya restaurants. Afterwards I found out that the first one was established 1987, called Çiya Kebab and was mostly serving kebap, lahmacun and pide. In 1998 the second restaurant was opened in the same street and called Çiya Sofrası specialized on serving traditional Anatolian dishes. And the third one Çiya Kebap II was opened in 2001, also in the same street.
We decided to visit the Çiya Sofrası, because I was especially interested in traditional and authentic food that I didn’t know before. The service was fast and friendly and the variety of food was good. They had many meat-free options for me. The atmosphere was nice and casual, but somehow I expected a fancier place.
And now more about the food: As a starter we had a really good ezogelin soup (made from red lentils, mint, garlic, onions and spices) and as side dishes we had the wild purslane dish (made from wild purslane, black-eyed peas, dried tomato, pepper, lentils, mint and pomegranate juice) and bulgur with cumin called kimyonlu biberli as (made from bulgur, olive oil, dried pepper, onion, chickpeas and cumin). As a dessert we shared a peynirli künefe (a dessert filled with cheese, which is a specialty from Antakya region).
But my highlight was definitely the vegetarian kebab! I heard about it before and was so excited to taste it. It’s made from bulgur, onions, mushrooms, olive oil and mint. It was served with a sauce, rice, yoghurt, rosted tomato and pepper, parsley and onions. Since it was grilled over fire it had a smokey aroma and in combination with the sauce and the side dishes it was perfect.
The address of Çiya Sofrası is: Caferaga Mah. Güneslibahce Sk. No:43 Kadiköy – Istanbul. You can also find the location on the map:
I can definitely recommend this restaurant, not only for vegetarians! By the way we couldn’t finish all the food that evening, but took the leftovers home 🙂 it was so much!
Have you been to Çiya before or did you hear about it?