412 Fresh: Istanbul Sofra

Istanbul Sofra Pittsburgh

I like to write and I also call myself eating my way through Pittsburgh. So it was a no brainer decision to leave trail of Yelp reviews behind me. I had no idea people even read my reviews until I was invited to be a Yelp Elite. Yelp Elite is a group of Yelpers who love to review as much as they love to eat. They don’t get paid to review but at least once a month they gather at Yelp Elite events to experience new foods and or venues free of charge. So far I’ve experienced chocolate and wine in the basement of Pittsburgh Winery, trout on a salt and vinegar potato chip in a gym turned game room at Ace Hotel and most recently piyaz from Yelp’s Trip to Turkey at Istanbul Sofra.

Wednesday April 12th Istanbul Sofra opened its doors to the Yelp Elite Squad taking us on a trip to Turkey that warranted a passport stamp.

As soon as we walked in we were greeted by culture and food. So much delicious food! Some stand outs were the rice pudding, baklava, falafel, and the piyaz.

Istanbul Sofra Pittsburgh

Before this trip to Istanbul Sofra I had never heard of piyaz. It took me for a surprise because it looks so simple but it’s jam packed with layers of flavor. Who knew that a side dish could be the star? It contains Navy beans, tomatoes, onions, red peppers, parsley and Turkish spices. I don’t know what spices but this cold dish made my taste buds warm and tingly. I could live off piyaz for a couple days and I’ll probably attempt this recipe in the near future.

While we were mixing and mingling among the elite we were briefly introduced to the manager who’s passionate about Istanbul Sofra. He spoke about as if the place was his baby and I applaud his encouragement to try everything. “If you don’t like something let us know because when dinning here we don’t want you to pay for something you don’t like.”

We didn’t taste everything on the menu but the variety of food we did try was motivation to come back and try everything. I left this event full but not stuffed as it felt like a healthier full. I didn’t feel bad for stuffing my face.

Don’t play yourself and skip dessert here as their rice pudding is everything you want and more. It’s creamy, sweet and cinnamon wasn’t listed as one of the ingredients but I tasted hints of it in every bite.

Istanbul Sofra doesn’t serve alcohol but they’re BYOB. Treat yo self to some of your own wine to pair with such complex flavors (yet simple dishes). Your taste buds will thank you.

Have you tried Istabul Sofra? What Pittsburgh restaurant is on your radar?

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