Although it was sad to leave the beauty and seaside of Antalya, we still have the last part of our trip in store to further explore Istanbul. Late this morning, after one last festive and colorful Turkish breakfast overlooking the ocean, we boarded our flight to return back to Istanbul for three last days of food, culture, and sight-seeing.
After we arrived at our boutique hotel and got acquainted with our room, we went to a restaurant that was a short walking distance away from our hotel called Sehzade Cag Kebap. It was originally on my food list and was highly recommended as a long-standing popular restaurant with both tourists and locals alike. Cag kebabi is like the ancestor of doner. The meat, always lamb, is sliced a bit thicker than doner kebap, and it’s cooked horizontally on a big spit over hot charcoal. It is then cut and served on small skewers called cag. As I was watching the food preparation in their open kitchen, I noticed that after slicing off the spit and adding the meat to the cag skewers, another cook actually *further* grilled the meats over more charcoal, likely for a crisper finish. The meat was super juicy and succulent, packed with meaty, gamey flavor; it’s served with super thin lavash bread, raw sliced onions, ezme (spicy tomato and herb salad), along with thick and luscious buffalo yogurt. All these accompaniments were perfect with the meat; I would have been sad and felt as though something were missing if we hadn’t ordered one of these things (the bread and onions come with the kebap, but the salad and yogurt are a little extra).
The cag kebap originated in Erzurum, a city in eastern Turkey, and it’s been said it’s one of the original preparations for meat on a spit in Turkey. I was pretty obsessed. We were tempted to order more, but the amount of food we got was just right.
I also loved the service here. The cooks were all super friendly when I recorded them, and who I assume is the manager/owner was very friendly when he greeted us and got us seated, and when I asked to use the restroom. I love the hospitality here in Turkey.