Makarna Sarayi
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Home-Cooked Happiness in a Dish
When I'm in the mood for affordable home-cooked Turkish food in Sultanahmet, I head to Makarna Sarayı opposite the Column of Constantine near Çemberlitaş tram station. There are oodles of choices here, and you simply point and pick the dishes you wish to try and load up your tray as you would in a canteen. The name means "Pasta Palace" but, in addition to pasta you can choose from assorted vegetable dolmas (flavored rice-stuffed vegetables), Turkish favorites, chicken curry salad, or the house speciality—the one-of-a-kind kebab meat fused with marinated vegetables. My personal favorites are the etli lahana sarması (spiced stuffed cabbage leaves) for an entrée, followed by moussaka and rice for mains. For lunch I favor the kebab with vegetables that you can see roasting at the front of the store. If pomegranates are in season, ask for a freshly squeezed pomegranate and orange juice mix. Makarna Sarayı is located close to the Grand Bazaar, so it’s ideal for a lunch break to escape the bazaar crowds and the barrage of playful comments from vendors.
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