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“Fun in Somerville”
Review of Istanbul'lu

Ranked #61 of 306 Restaurants in Somerville
Cuisines: Turkish
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Level 5 Contributor
84 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Fun in Somerville”
Reviewed July 1, 2014 credit card Amex Card Member Review

Istanbul'lu is a pocket sized casual place with authentic and delicious food. It is also a great place for vegetarians, although non-vegetarians have no cause for concern. The service is professional and friendly and everything is delicious. It is all very fresh and exotic enough to be interesting even for those who have frequented many types of cuisine.

Visited June 2014
Thank Oscarpepper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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34 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed May 13, 2014

Our family loves Turkish food and this is the best we have found in the Boston area. We have tried Family in Brookline, large portions and tasty food but not elegant; and a small place on Comm Ave in Boston both good quality, basic food, but neither of those compare to Istanbul'lu. The ingredients might be the same, lots of eggplant, tomatoes, ground meats and so on, but here the presentation is refined and the flavor combinations easier to discern. We have yet to find any item on the menu that failed to meet expectations. Service is pleasant, quick and efficient.

Be aware that this is a very small restaurant, perhaps 10 tables, and not made for intimate dinners because of the noise and proximity to other diners. The largest group that would fit comfortably is about 8 people. Parking is usually available down the street and, for those with entertainment in mind, a 10 minute stroll leads to the Somerville Theater and Johnny D's.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Alexander A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“The best Turkish food anywhere in the Boston area”
Reviewed October 18, 2013 credit card Amex Card Member Review

What a treasure of a place. Everything is excellent. My favorite is the Sultan Delight - but after a dozen dinners or so, I never had a bad dish there! Also try the lamb soup.
The service is wonderful too!

Visited October 2013
1 Thank URM2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Somerville, Massachusetts
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Nice place, but..”
Reviewed March 16, 2013

i've only been here once, and had a mixed opinion about it. The room is small and quite nice, nicely decorated with decent ethnic music coming out of the ceiling. i ordered a Red Lentil soup that was very nice, with prominent spices and some heat to it. That was followed by "Sultans Delight", which was much less good, and had way too much oil in it for my tastes. The flavor was bland compared to the soup i had as an appetizer, and very underwhelming. My partner ordered another dish that also had way too much oil in it, and was equally bland. However, looking around, we saw things that looked better than our choices, and will probably give this place another chance.

Visited March 2013
Thank burrlamb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Concord, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
133 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Authentic Turkish Delights”
Reviewed February 25, 2013

If you like Turkish (Eastern Mediterranean) food, you'll love this little hole-in-the-wall. We had a variety of authentic appetizers/tapas and everyone raved about the potato cake, the red lentils, and the tomato salad. Three of us ordered kababs for our main meal: one had lamb chunks and the other two kofte kabab with ground lamb. Each was wonderful. We just sat there saying repeatedly, :Oh, this is soooo good." The kababs were a bit spicy, but they were served with a fabulous yogurt that softened the taste. They also came with a side of Coban salad, so if you are on a budget, you need order only a main dish. The servings are plentiful; the pricing surprisingly low. The menu is limited, mostly chicken and lamb and I think that may be the secret of the chef's success. He makes what he knows how to make well. We also had a terrific red wine. One of our party chose a vegetarian dish and did not think it was so good. However, the appetizers were such that he said, "Next time I come here, I'll just have a number of appetizers." So they were good enough to bring him back too! It appears that Istanbul-lu is primarily a neighborhood place--it was crowded--but it was well worth the drive from our town 20 miles away. The service was friendly and attentive, but not intrusive. In fact, I would say it was just about perfect. I'll skip the dessert next time. The baklava was not to my liking. Nevertheless, I can't wait to go back. I'm rating this restaurant as "Very Good," but the foods that I liked were truly excellent.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Saussy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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