Cem Tunca, the man behind successful businesses like Istanbul Gourmet and Duble Meze Bar, has recently created a gastro pub for a decidedly young audience. Located right next to the West Campus Dorms of Koç University, Baba’s is fully equipped to become a new hub for university students to socialize. Although they’ve already received requests from students to air soccer games, Tunca believes that this goes against the concept of a cozy eatery where patrons can strike up conversation with one another.
Baba’s is currently the only notable eatery in the neighborhood, though we believe it would be just as popular if there were competition. The U-shaped bar is a great place to hang out and sample beers from an extensive menu. The professional model train route designed specifically for the bar adds a touch of warmth, while the Pacman drawing on the wall, the CRT TVs hanging from the ceiling and many other details transport you back to the ’80s and ’90s.
The menu offers a rich selection of salads, pizzas, pasta, snacks and main courses. The prices are quite reasonable, especially keeping in mind the hefty serving sizes. The beef carpaccio salad with arugula and Mexican salad with crispy shrimp are good options for those who are looking for something light. Baked in a stone oven and large enough to satisfy two people, the restaurant’s specialty pizza is the Baba’s, which comes with tomato sauce, mozzarella, eggplant, mushrooms, corn and salami. The pizza turco with spicy sausage and pastrami is also guaranteed to be a hit with the most devoted carnivores. The spinach ravioli and Kayseri mantı are ideal for lovers of European and Anatolian flavors, respectively. The moules marinières is a more flavorful alternative to the midye dolma you’ll find throughout Istanbul. Another one of the restaurant’s specialties is the Baba’s burger, which comes with a massive beef patty and fries that have a homemade quality to them. The kokoreç bruschetta and Swiss chards stuffed with beef are good options for those who aren’t too hungry, while the beef tenderloin is filling enough to satisfy even the most ravenous among us. No matter what you eat, be sure not to leave Baba’s without trying the fantastic pine nut tart.