Kaburgacı Mehmet Usta recently opened up a new restaurant. Its central branch is located in İstanbul’s Maltepe district and its owner, Mehmet Usta himself, is the human embodiment of Speedy Gonzales. His warmth and smile, coupled with his expertise, work to win over each and every visitor. Explaining the basic philosophy of being a good shopkeeper, he says it is all about always being present on the job.
Mehmet Demir opened up another branch of his restaurant in Altunizade, a short distance from the Capitol shopping center. The venue, which seats 80, demonstrates that the restaurant’s food will lose nothing of its taste by venturing out with new branches, contrary to the general assumption that franchises lead to a change in taste or a drop in quality. Indeed, we think this taste needs to branch out even more and make it over to the European side of İstanbul. Kaburgacı Mehmet Usta in Altunizade has the same classic menu as its counterpart in Maltepe. A succulent sac tava (sautéed meat), kaburga dolma (stuffed ribs) and tandoori; then there’s the famous Diyarbakır-style boiled içli köfte (bulgur stuffed with meat)… Add a little bit of their renowned bostane salad with pomegranate dressing and irmik (semolina) dessert, which is hot on the outside and cold on the inside, and you’ve got yourself an incredible feast.
When we say that you have to take your time when eating stuffed ribs, we only feel like that is fair. Stuffed ribs are one of the most difficult Turkish dishes to prepare. This dish, specific to the province of Diyarbakır, has been prepared in İstanbul for years by Mehmet Usta, who keeps the dish in the oven for five to six hours and allows it to rest for another hour. Using young and tender lamb meat and stuffing it with marvelously seasoned rice, Mehmet Usta throws in a very frothy ayran on the side.
At Kaburgacı Mehmet Usta you can ask for a fixed menu or stuffed ribs, sac tava or a tandoori dish. No matter what you eat, we are sure you won’t be disappointed. The restaurant, staffed by 12 people, delivers to homes on the Anatolian side; however, homes located nearby must order for at least two, while those further away should have a meal for at least four in mind when placing an order. The meats, which arrive from Diyarbakır, form 600-gram servings per person, making a delicious lamb stuffing. Kaburgacı Mehmet Usta in Altunizade has no shortage of parking. It begins serving at noon and is open until midnight.
The fixed menu allows for two options:
1) Alongside your stuffed ribs, you’ll receive ayran, içli köfte, bostane salad and irmik dessert with ice cream.
2) Sac tava, ayran, irmik dessert with ice cream, içli köfte and bostane salad.
The real kaburga dolması
Make sure you don’t stop at just the stuffed ribs at Kaburgacı Mehmet Usta. At least test their sac tava and irmik dessert with ice cream. Kaburgacı Mehmet Usta also delivers for special gatherings, just as long as you notify them a day in advance.
The food is great and the restaurant is clean and located in a nice location. There is only one problem, and that is that the restaurant needs to urgently open a branch on the European side. You may ask if it’s worth it at all to trek all the way out to the Anatolian side for those living in Europe, and the answer is: absolutely yes.
Kaburga dolması fixed menu: TL 35
Kaburga dolması (1 serving): TL 25
Sac tava fixed menu: TL 35
Sac tava (1 serving): TL 25
Tandır kebabı, fixed menu: TL 30
Tandır kebabı (1 serving): TL 20
İçli köfte (1 serving): TL 2.50
Bostane salad: TL 3
İrmik dessert: TL 5
Ayran: TL 2.50
Soup: TL 5
A taste close to the Bosporus
Kaburgacı Mehmet Usta
Fahrettin Kerim Gökay Cad. No: 12/3 (next to the Capitol shopping center), Üsküdar, İstanbul
Tel.: 0 (216) 474 86 87-88