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“Istanblue”

Istanblue Mediterranean Restaurant
Cuisines: Mediterranean
Dining options: Delivery, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Delivery, Reservations
Reviewed November 17, 2013

Delicious Turkish food and a pleasant and attentive wait staff. Can't wait to go back! The Iskender with sizzling butter sauce is to die for....

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2  Thank Librarygal223
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (89)
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81 - 85 of 89 reviews

Reviewed October 25, 2013

Hearing so many good things about a new place is always a reason to check it out. As several others have already pointed out, they do not yet have a liquor license, as was also called to our attention by the host who opened the door for us as we entered. Upon leaning that this was our first visit he explained that they were currently operating as a BYO restaurant while their license application is pending.

There were so many appetizers that I was interested in trying that it was a no-brainer for me to choose the Hot Medley ($16) - with a combination of Finger Rolls, Falafel, Zucchini Pancakes, Try Me Cauliflower, Eggplant, and Mozzarella Sticks. Of course, my wife was still interested in trying the Grilled Whole Baby Calamari ($9) which was filled with cheese.

My wife's calamari was probably the best of the appetizers that we tried. It had a wonderful grilled flavor and was cooked just right, with the slightest snap to the body with each bite. But this was not to take away any enjoyment from my Medley. The zucchini pancakes, pan-seared with fresh herbs, were my favorite. Next, were the seasoned falafel balls, followed by the eggplant, then the finger rolls made from fillo dough stuffed with feta cheese, parsley and fresh herbs. The mozzarella sticks were pretty standard fare and the cauliflower was probably my least favorite. Of course everything was pan-seared or fried, but nothing was overly greasy or oily. There were also three sauces served with the Medley - yogurt, tahini, and a red sauce.

All of that probably could have been sufficient to satisfy us, but we came quite hungry and were interested in trying still more. My wife asked our young waitress about the preparation of one of the dishes and she referred us to the host who had greeted us. Between the Iskender and the Hunkar Begendi, he suggested the Iskender since she was not familiar with Turkish dishes. He believed the Hunkar Begendi would be better for someone already familiar with the tastes and textures of Turkish dishes. That was just enough explanation necessary for my wife to say she was going to be adventurous and order the Hunkar Begendi ($18) - fire roasted eggplant, pureed with kashar cheese, herbs, and her choice of chicken instead of lamb or vegetable ragout. She did find the creamy texture of the pureed eggplant and cheese to be "different" and thought the entire dish was rather bland. It needed something else with more flavor, but she said she still liked it enough to order it again.

I tried the Karniyarik ($18) - eggplant stuffed with ground meat, topped with sautéed tomatoes, onions and fresh herbs. My dish had more flavors than my wife's dish, and the eggplant was very light in texture. The meat, tomatoes and onions were reminiscent of a filling my Mother used for peppers and I found it to be very enjoyable.

We asked our young server for a recommendation on dessert and she said we had to try the Baklava ($6). We trusted her and also ordered a couple Turkish Coffees ($4 each). The coffee has a flavor different from what we are accustomed to. It almost seems to have a smoked flavoring and nothing like an espresso. While the cup is about twice the size of an espresso, the contents is not much greater since the bottom of the cup is filled with the coffee grounds.

Our server's recommendation of Baklava was "right on!" This may have been the best baklava that I have ever had. Fortunately, they served it in four, one-inch-square portions. That makes it easy to share. But if you've ever tried to cut baklava or even take a bite out of a piece of baklava, you know how messy that can be. So, similar to a slice of a sushi roll, I put a whole little square into my mouth at one time. The flavors of the pistachios and the not too sweet syrup combined with a mouth-feel that was just so delicious.

Overall, service was friendly and pleasant. While we may not have been "wowed" by the food (except that baklava), it certainly was good enough for us to look forward to returning to try additional items. The lunch menu looks good too.

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2  Thank Roger K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2013

Three of us came for lunch after getting good feedback from other friends, we were not disappointed! The food was absolutely delicious, I mean really, really tasty. We all had the Doner lunch plate which came with an excellent rice and nicely dressed salad. We shared the combination cold plate appetizer which had an unusual and really good tabouleh (more mint and parsley than bulgar - very nice), and as good as the best babaganoush and humous I have ever had, even the stuffed grape leaves were tasty, which I don't typically like. We finished the meal with Turkish coffee prepared table side. The Turkish coffee was a little pricey at $4 (only $8.99 for the lunch plate) but was absolutely delicious and a perfect ending to a great meal. It was a very pleasant surprise to find ethnic food this good in Saratoga, I'll keep my fingers crossed they can make it in this very competitive restaurant marketplace, they certainly have the potential to be a success here.

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1  Thank MarkinSaratoga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2013

We have been there twice with different groups of friends and family and everyone enjoyed it. Friendly staff, wonderful food priced right, and a quiet unpretentious atmosphere. A couple of bottles of wine from Purdy's ($7 cork fee regardless of the number of bottles) and you are set for an enjoyable dining experience. I'll definitely be back to sample other items on the menu. Looking forward to seeing this restaurant succeed; we needed something different!

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4  Thank JanetO587
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2013

We have been to Istanblue on 2 separate occasions. Both times the food and service have been excellent. The lamb dishes are outstanding, the appetizers interesting (try the zucchini pancakes) and flavorful and the baklava wonderful. As other reviewers have noted the portion sizes are large and you can usually count on some leftovers for the next day. Most entrees come with a rice and bulgur wheat medley and a small salad with citrus dressing. I almost wish that they do not get a liquor license as the BYOB opens up a wealth of possibilities for wine accompaniments that will not be duplicated as economically when they serve their own wine selections. If you like Greek/Turkish food you will not be disappointed and if you are unfamiliar with this cuisine, this is a great place to come to appreciate it.

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1  Thank mol10e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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