Few of the customers lining up at Istanbul Pizza (181 Dundas West, at Centre, 416-345-1688) for creditable slices and falafels notice the extensive menu of Turkish dishes posted overhead. Most of them are so infrequently ordered that they're no longer served at this low-key take-away.Some survive. Istanbul's Mercimek Çorbasi ($1.75) lacks the verve of Anatolia's version but still makes a fast, cheap winter warm-up, especially when slurped with chunks of Persian flatbread heated in the pizza oven. Bike couriers, take note.
Sadly, Yaprak Sarmasi (49 cents each) won't win any Danforth taste competition. But oven-baked Guvec ($4.49) is an authentic Turkish stew of cubed tender veal, potatoes, eggplant and tomato in so-good-who-cares-it's-greasy gravy. Pair it with Pilav ($1.99), perfectly cooked long-grain rice studded with what the flyer calls special Turkish noodles. That'd be orzo.
Recalling kofta meatballs from Persia and India, Izgara Kofte ($5.99 with salad) are lovely lamb and beef patty kebabs that kick in with freshly squeezed lemon. Char-grilled Karisik Izgara ($10.49) -- skewers of medium-rare lamb, moist chicken and dry steak -- also benefit from the citrus treatment.
But depending on which day you get there, baklava ($1.50) ranges from wonderfully dripping with honey to dry shredded wheat. firstname.lastname@example.org