**Originally completed for The Guide Istanbul, edited for Istanbites
Originally from Van, Doğan Yörükoğlu founded Tuşba Uzman Mezecisi in 1968 (Tuşba being the former name of Van). Located on the bustling Ergenekon Street in Pangaltı, Tuşba sells a wide variety of domestic and international cheeses and chocolates along with an equal variety of cured meats. You’ll also be able to pick from a wide variety of spirits, wines and beers that will, surely, pair nicely with those cheeses you’ve been eyeing.
If you ask any client why they return, they will tell you to try Tuşba’s meze and you’ll understand. Do no be intimidated by the team of men looming tall behind the display case. These men love food, a promising sign of any good mezeci. Their dishes are made daily, with seasonal ingredients. So that, you won’t find fresh winter fish like istavrit (horse mackerel) during summer months. Some of the more popular of mezes are the topik (an Armenian specialty of onion, nuts and currents coated with a chickpea paste), patlıcan salatası (eggplant salad), yaprak dolması (stuffed grape leaves), as well as its midye dolma (stuffed mussels).
The store also sells a variety of local and imported beverages, and will make sandwiches upon request. But right before you leave, the team behind the counter will always recommend that you buy their homemade mustard. If you are feeling congested, this will be the cure your nose thanks you for – it’s spicy!
Tuşba Uzman Mezeci
Ergenekon Caddesi No. 53, Pangaltı, Şişli, Istanbul