A familiar establishment for Alaçatı regulars, Kydonia now greets Istanbulites from its second-floor home in Kuruçeşme, which it shares with İncirli Şaraphane (look for our review next month) and La Mancha. Before you even take a look at the menu that brings together both shores of the Aegean Sea, the venue’s design imbues you with a flighty, summery feel. In simplest terms, the wooden décor is clean cut and cheerful, with short trees and flowers strewn between the tables. Despite the clear view of the Bosphorus before you, Kydonia belongs to Izmir, not Istanbul.
As soon as you’re up the stairs to the second floor, you’re greeted with a glass display of mezes, topped with jars of preserved artichoke to lend it a home-like feel. You’re advised to pick your eats not from the menu but by looking at the display – and with 70 different mezes prepared with family recipes dating back to Turks placed on Crete, Ayvalık and Alaçatı during the Population Exchange, you understand right away that you could easily fill up on meze alone. Still, do take a look at the daily menu of fish, as Kydonia’s pretty ambitious on this front, as well.
The Cretan pâté made with Aegean herbs, three kinds of cheese and almonds is a must-try, as is the almond zaho made with yogurt and zaho herb. Another unusual find is the niko made with seven different herbs and served with a spicy-sweet sauce. The list goes on, with smoked mini artichokes, pickled roseroot, grilled filo with non-fat curd cheese, calamari and herbs or fried vegetable patties with seven herbs... Another popular meze is the skordalia, or garlic pâté, which is surprisingly void of a garlicky smell. If you want to dive headfirst into Cretan cuisine, the octopus with mastic, served in a seashell, is highly recommended. All the meze come on small brick plates, perfect for sharing. If you’re not in the mood for rakı, you could always give their wines a try.
Muallim Naci Caddesi 107
|Opening hours:||Daily 12.00-00.00|