Believe it or not, we found the best cheeseburger sliders in a patisserie in Caglayan Kagithane, a district of Istanbul. Hamburgers have been the phenomenal food of the last two decades worldwide, and in Istanbul, we can see boutique hamburger restaurants on almost every corner. Unfortunately, these hamburger restaurants look alike—brioche, sweet buns, caramelized onions, butcher-style patties, etc.
But if you are looking for a genuine “Turkish Burger,” you should chase for authentic Turkish buffets (kiosks) all the way around. These are the places that make burgers with unique Turkish taste. They are cheap, and they are messy but enormously delicious!
For example, Anthony Bourdain featured the wet burgers in Istanbul years ago in one of his TV shows. The burger buns and the garlicky patties are specially sauced with tomato paste. Then these wet burgers are hibernated in a steam machine for hours. Which means you can eat them all squishy and warm. Of course, it is impossible to eat these wet burgers without getting your face and hands dirty.
These burgers in Caglayan Petek Pastanesi are close to that “wet burgers” but not the same. They have, again, tiny buns and small smashed patties. (No garlic in them this time) And they are not soaked in tomato sauce. But these burgers are grilled in a heavy-duty Turkish toast machine. Also, the hearty, semi-hot tomato sauce is placed between the buns. Thus, this makes a big difference.
Also, please let me tell you something. You can order five sliders without hesitation with that semi-hot hearty tomato sauce.
When you enter Caglayan Petek Pastanesi, you have two options: Right: Patisserie, Left: Burger buffet. (This is a peculiar situation in Turkey as I didn’t hear any patisserie offering you unique “Turkish Style Burgers.”) Directly dive into the buffet section (Left) and observe the burgers, which are almost ready to fulfill your hunger. And in the buffet section, you have two options again. 1. Hamburger 2. Cheeseburger. I always prefer my burgers with cheese, and believe me; you’ll exactly find Turkish Kasar Cheese and no cheddars or yellowish cheeses here. Inside you’ll find some buffet-style pickles also.
I ate three cheeseburgers and tried their homemade “Ayran – Fermented Yoghurt Drink.” I thought about eating two more cheeseburgers, but my friend stopped me.
So I made my way home.
Caglayan Petek Pastanesi is operating since 1963. Also, they have been making their sliders since 1963. Every country has its kind of hamburgers, but the important thing is to find them.
Caglayan Petek Pastanesi
Çağlayan, 29, Vatan Cd., 34403 Kâğıthane/İstanbul