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Cafe Istanbul

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Things are usually off to a good start at a restaurant when the server puts (free) fresh bread down in front of you. That’s the case at Cafe Istanbul, an upscale Mediterranean restaurant in Wicker Park where most things carb-adjacent are made in-house - lahmacun, pita, even the rigatoni with veal sausage. But the main thing you should focus on here are the meats. The best way to do this is by ordering the mix grill that has a bit of everything, including doner, chicken, beef, shrimp, and lamb kebabs with fluffy basmati rice. The space is loud (the kitchen is semi-open, and there’s a TV in the dining room), but white tablecloths and the full bar make it feel nice enough for a celebratory group dinner.

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