A Persian treat: Nayeb

Nayeb serves up some of the tastiest and most traditional Persian dishes such as the popular kabab koobideh.

May 01, 2011, Sunday/ 16:09:00

There is a wide range of options available in İstanbul for all those in constant pursuit of different tastes and cuisines.

In fact, one of the latest rising trends in this city is Iranian cuisine. From the perspective of taste alone, Iranian cuisine offers dishes that won’t be too unfamiliar to those accustomed to Turkish cuisine. A new restaurant that opened five months ago in Fındıkzade offers some unique dishes from Iran. With many meat dishes, typical of Iranian cuisine, there are also some wonderful vegetable dishes that serve almost as jewels crowning the menu here.

Nayeb Restaurant is located in Aksaray’s Fındıkzade Square, and you should know that although the restaurant also offers Italian and Turkish dishes, you would be wise to stick with their Iranian fare. The chefs here are from Iran and the atmosphere is very special. In the meantime, you should know that the restaurant’s name, “Nayeb,” means “vekil,” or “representative.”

Your appetite will be whetted here when you see and smell the wonderful saffron, known as “red gold” by some, that is used in so much of the cooking, especially served up next to the delicious meat dishes here. Iranians include saffron in almost all of their dishes, and you should also know the reason saffron is so expensive is that it takes 150 saffron flowers to make just 1 gram of this spice. Just seeing the saffron sprinkled over the top of the very delicious looking Iranian pilav is enough to make one very hungry.

As to what to eat here, let me make some suggestions. There is a vegetable dish called ghormeh sebzi, which is very delicious, and has a flavor everyone is guaranteed to love. It uses red kidney beans and very well fried greens, and even has some hot tomato sauce and black-eyed peas. It also included large pieces of meat, onion and lemon juice and is served with pilav. If you are more in the mood for a kebab, try the cello kebab, made from boneless lamb filet that has been marinated, as well as ground beef and chicken. I believe this particular kebab might even have the power and the taste to change your perception of kebabs in general. Another kebab to try here is the cuce, or mini kebab, made from chicken marinated in a special sauce. All kebabs here are served with saffron, Iranian pilav and grilled tomatoes.

Actually, there is a wide variety of kebabs available at Neyab, all boasting heaps of greens alongside them. There are more than 30 different Iranian dishes offered as entrees, and I also advise you to try a special soup they have here made from Iranian barley as well as chicken, carrots and other vegetables. Oh, and don’t forget to order yourself one of the most famous Iranian desserts there is, the famous shole zard, at the end of your meal. Nayeb was opened by two partners, Ali Moshirzadeh and Atilla Tercan, one Iranian, the other Turkish. Says Moshirzadeh: “We serve the finest from the great Iranian cuisine. We are planning on opening two more branches in İstanbul this year.” Nayeb opens at 9 a.m. and stays open until midnight.

Quick menu

You can’t say ‘no’ to these tastes

Soup of the day: TL 3.5

Omelets: TL 4-5

Toast varieties: TL 4.5-5.75

Sandwiches: TL 4.5-7.5

Salad (7 kinds): TL 6,5-8.5

Pasta (8 kinds): TL 8-12

Turkish kebabs: TL 9-21

Chelow kebab: TL 40

Chelow kebab soltani: TL 38

Tabriz chelow kebab: TL 25

Jujeh kebab: TL 19-20

Baal kebab: TL 27

Zereshk Polo: TL 20

Mirza ghasemi,Kashke bademjan: TL 17

Borani, Iran-style cacik, Shiraz salad: TL 5

Desserts: TL 5-7.5

Address: Nayeb Restaurant

Millet Caddesi, Fındıkzade Meydanı Aksaray, İstanbul

Tel: 0 212 587 68 46

Even the lavash here is Iranian style

I just loved the unique Iranian motifs here. It is not a very large restaurant, but it is beautifully appointed and styled. The dishes match the atmosphere. One of the most unique and delicious features here is the Iranian style lavash bread. This lavash is made in special stone ovens by Iranian chefs.

Note: this restaurant also delivers