HOUReview

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Istanbul Grill & Deli image
8.0

Istanbul Grill & Deli

TurkishMediterranean

Rice Village

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerDate Night

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So many trees and plants block the entrance to Istanbul Grill & Deli in Rice Village, you might mistake the restaurant’s big red awning as an extension of the sports bar next door. But once you finally find passage through the thick plastic tent flaps, a casual Turkish restaurant with wonderfully tender and spiced kebabs awaits you. Attempt to flag down a server for a table—labeling the staff as aloof feels generous—and try to order a drink as soon as possible before getting familiar with the menu.

Istanbul Grill & Deli image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

We prefer splitting the meze tabagi mixed appetizer plate with tangy green bean pickles, spiced tomato ezme salad, and tart labneh along with fresh brick-oven baked bread, or one or two of the addictive tangy cheese pides, and a plate of kebabs and döner. Every piece of meat is tender, suffused with warm and earthy spices that melt in your mouth. You might want to order more than one plate, because each bite is worth fighting over.

So whether you’re carb loading for an afternoon of shopping for fancy linens, just finished a sweaty run around Rice campus, or are meeting up with a casual date, grab a table at Istanbul Grill for low-key meal where you neither have to worry if the food’s good (it is) or what you’re wearing.

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