Istanbul Corner Review – A Turkish Feast in the North Side

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on May 11, 2022.

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Istanbul Corner closed in 2022.

As North Siders, we find ourselves passing through East Ohio Street a lot. In recent years, a lot of changes have been going on in this street with several restaurants opening up as time goes by.

One day in mid-2020 we saw a sign for Istanbul Corner pop up, and shortly thereafter the Turkish restaurant opened its doors for customers. Naturally, being fans of Turkish food, we visited this one shortly after it opened.

We ended up walking out with a feast at a rather attractive price point.

Build Your Own Entrees and Wraps at Istanbul Corner

Food from Istanbul Corner

Ordering at Istanbul Corner is incredibly simple. You can either order a wrap (gyro or chicken), entree (small or large) on top of a salad and bulgur, and sides a la carte. To get a taste of the full menu, we ordered a wrap and a large entree which included sides.

For our entree, we were able to pick one protein as a main course and three sides from a large array of premade items in chafing dishes behind the counter. During our visit, there were roughly three mains to choose from (eggplant, meatballs, and chicken) and roughly a dozen side dishes ranging from lentils to baba ganoush and an array of vegetables in between.

Naturally, we had a bit of decision paralysis in what to choose. 

Large Entree from Istanbul Corner

It was at this time that we likely mentioned that we were visiting for the first time and unsure what to try, as we were then offered to have a little bit of everything in our order. That one main dish ended up being a bit of all three. The three sides ended up becoming smaller portions of five.

Our massive to-go container ended up featuring meatballs, eggplant, and chicken for mains plus two kinds of beets, carrots, baba ganoush, and lentils- enough for the two of us to each get a good feeling of the flavors. 

So, how was it? In a word, lovely. One of the reasons we love Turkish food is because of the strong use of herbs and seasoning, and every bite here came packed with a punch. Perhaps our favorites were the eggplant main and the two beet dishes due to the intensity of flavors, but honestly, it was hard to go wrong with any option as you have a near-endless number of combinations to mix-and-match flavors.

But it was the generosity in being able to try so much that stuck with us the most- it was most certainly unexpected and very much appreciated. 

To be honest, the large entree was so massive that it could've fed the two of us with a bit leftover and we would've called that a feast of a lunch. But we also ordered a chicken shawarma wrap to round out the meal.

Chicken Wrap from Istanbul Corner Pittsburgh

Had we ordered the chicken wrap on its own, we would've said that it was fairly straight forward, loaded up with chicken, and was well seasoned. The chicken was pre-cooked in a chafing dish and added to the wrap, which was then quickly heated in an oven (as opposed to cut off a gyro station directly- something we prefer), but overall was a solid amount of food with a flavor profile like you'd expect for the dish.

We enjoyed this, but we kept going back to that entree for more.

In a way, loading up a takeout container with numerous bites of meat and vegetables is one of our preferred dining styles, and to be able to do so with Turkish food is simply delightful. We'll be ordering this one again and again to try new flavor combinations- even if we may not be able to sample a bit more than what is listed on the menu next time. One main and three sides in the large is still a stellar deal no matter how you look at it. 

When it comes down to it, Istanbul Corner provided a feast for an incredible price point (just over $20 in total during our visit in 2020) and we look forward to returning for another lunch very soon to try the (admittedly very few) items we haven't sampled yet!

Istanbul Corner was located at 541 East Ohio Street in the North Side and closed in 2022.

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