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“A few things to improve but good.”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Cooking Alaturka

Cooking Alaturka
Ranked #287 of 13,399 Restaurants in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $24 - $24
Cuisines: Turkish, Mediterranean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine, Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: Sultanahmet
Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy
Level Contributor
15 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A few things to improve but good.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2014

We looked for this place after the advice of a friend and after reading a nice review on a guide.
So: we tried once to have dinner there, but it was closed for a short vacation. The night after we tried again but the place was crowded. So we made a reservation for a third night and we managed to have dinner there (yes, we were quite persistent).

Each meal they have a different set menu which is really good a really cheap (only 55TL = 18 euro) and includes typical Anatolian recipes: 3 dishes + dessert. Some of them may look even quite common but they are completely at different level compared to other restaurants of the city: the dolmas, for example, are very peculiar (filled with lamb, mint, and spices...mmmm).

There are a couple of things which could be better: first, the do prepare dishes only for a number of customers equal to the number of seats of the place so, once the place is full, they don't accept any more customers (which is what happened to us the second time we went there). I understand this allows them to keep very low prices and it has other positive sides BUT

INSTEAD OF JUST SENDING AWAY POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS WITHOUT EVEN A SMILE OR AN EXPLANATION I THINK THEY COULD EXPLAIN HOW THE RESTAURANT WORKS OR AT LEAST THEY COULD PUT SOME ANNOUNCEMENT AT THE DOOR.
Of course, if you have a restaurant like this in Sultanahmet, you don't need to look for customers because your place will be always full but a different attitude and a little smile would be really appreciated.

Another thing that should really be improved is the toilet which has access literally from the kitchen: a real turn off.

But apart from this things, I still consider a place anyone should try...if you remember to make a reservation.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Michele P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cookingalaturka, Owner at Cooking Alaturka, responded to this review, January 24, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review our restaurant. We are very happy to hear how much you liked the food and the value that we offer.

Yes, we only do one seating at night. This has been a conscious choice from the start, since the cooking classes keep us very busy, working double shifts most days We are a small place with just a few staff. We don't like to rush our guests through their dinner, so once they're seated they tend to stay quite long, too long to turn tables around. Our kitchen is too small to prepare for a double shift, unless we were to start freezing things and preparing loads in advance. We like things fresh and don't even have a freezer... So... one shift per evening, one menu per shift/day and...

We do have a paper on the door saying it is best to make a reservation. My general experience is that in small restaurants around the world, it is usually best to make a reservation.

Another common thing with small restaurants, especially in historical neighbourhoods, seems to be that the WC is rarely in a fantastic location... Besides the plumbing issue, the lay-out does not always allow for a convenient spot. If not close to the kitchen, it might be next to a table or outside under lock and key...

We hope to see you back on your next visit for another freshly cooked Turkish meal!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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173 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    97
    41
    15
    9
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Boston, Massachusetts
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Amazing Turkish Cooking Class!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2014

My husband and I recently traveled to Istanbul for New Years and decided to take a cooking class to start of the year with creativity. What a wonderful decision that was! Cooking Alaturka offers a 3 hour participatory cooking class and is extremely well organized and so much fun! We were in a group of 10 and were able to help prep and cook a five course meal, featuring many Turkish specialties such as dolmasi and "the Imam fainted". It was very hand's on and very informational and the Chef is absolutely hilarious! After the cooking class, the group then sat together to enjoy a lovely meal and wine. For only 65 Euros we thoroughly enjoyed a 3 hour cooking class and a several hour meal with new friends. I highly recommend this to anyone visiting Istanbul and wanting to really submerge themselves in the culture. What a find!

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Shannon P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Level Contributor
82 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Is this a cookery school or a restaurant?”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 12, 2013

Went for lunch - knowing that it would be a fixed menu. The menu was fine, and the food was well prepared, but there were cookery school students in the restaurant and the service suffered because of it. The owner and the waiter joined the students for lunch, leaving the paying diners to be served intermittently by the waiter when the students had finished a course, or by the chef who came through from the kitchen area. Couldn't attract the waiter's or owner's attention for the bill and had to go and ask for it. Also, having seen the students troop into the kitchen area to watch the chef prepare turkish tea, one might ask hygiene questions.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Campbell T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cookingalaturka, Owner at Cooking Alaturka, responded to this review, January 7, 2014
We are both cooking school and restaurant... That's the beauty of our concept!

I am really sorry however, to learn that you had trouble catching our eye to get the bill.

The waiter you refer to is my spouse and we normally keep an eye on the service, so obviously we could have done better in this case. My main role is to teach the class together with my chef and then sit with our class participants to get to know them better and answer any questions they may have. My other half helps with the service, but since our lunches tend to be quiet, he must have sat down with us that day. Our chef ultimately, is in charge of service, as well as cooking, it being such a small place. All depends on how busy we are.

We think it's a great finish to the cooking class to show our guests how to make Turkish coffee (not tea!) and I'm afraid we don't see any hygiene issues with them watching coffee being made....

Since my chef cannot show coffee and watch the restaurant service at the same time, I normally take over that role. I'm not sure what happened here, but I'm sorry you had to wait. Definitely not my intention!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westport, Connecticut
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Cook your own dinner with REAL PROS”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 17, 2013

This was my third international cooking class, and I'm more of an eater than a cook, but we loved the entire experience. We assembled at 4:30 pm (10 of us) and cooked a fabulously subtle menu that showed us the mechanics and techniques of such things as stuffing aubergines, preparing stuffed figs, a wonderful bulgar type soup, and much more. The group was itself loads of fun, coming from all over (Tasmania to USA). Eileen and her people were also serious about teaching but with a fun light touch. The meal was superb and very low cost...a great experience in Istanbul and a welcome change from Sultanhamet kabob houses.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank 1962013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
95 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Lovely food , relaxed atmosphere”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 4, 2013

We found Cooking Alaturka via the Lonely Planet guide.

The idea is that they provide a seasonal 4 course Turkish meal for the set price of 55 Turkish Lira - approx £17 (excluding drinks & tips).

The food was lovely & the service was friendly, relaxed & attentive.

They have a good & reasonably priced wine list of Turkish wines. (Wine can be very expensive in some Turkish restaurants)

If you would like to visit this restaurant (& I recommend you do) it is well worth booking ahead as there is a limited number of tables .

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Bongbrummie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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