Way back in 1989, two brothers opened an ice cream shop in Istanbul’s Merter neighbourhood. Luckily by the early ‘90s, they were considering relocating – say, to an area with a little more character? – to Kurtuluş. Today, their operation has grown to include two other assistants and a small factory a couple of blocks from their small shop. Other than that, not much has changed, nor does there seem to be any plans to expand the operation.
On hot summer days, you’ll find fresh milk-based dondurma classics from chocolate to sakız (mastic) to sade (plain) – a personal favourite. There are also the fruit-based dondurmas that are made from the best of season, pureed and prepped in the small factory up the street. Throughout the summer Damla usually has a line tailing out onto the sidewalk – it moves fast, though. Unlike other ice cream joints, theirs are available during the winter months. However, most customers are likely to pack up the scoops and enjoy them in the comfort of a warm home. When they are not buying ice cream, they are probably indulging in some of the city’s winter favourites: boza and salep – also, made up the street. How many other dondurmacıs in Istanbul can say the same about their own operation?
Do not misinterpret the shortened winter queue as a sign of tough times. There are always a couple of people within the 6m2 space, half-sitting, half-standing among the bar stools, chatting up the man behind the counter between sips of warm salep (sweetened orchid root drink) or boza (fermented wheat drink).
Late October may seem like an odd time for an ice cream craving, luckily there is just the right neighbourhood to meet your needs.
Kurtuluş Caddesi 110, Feriköy, Şişli
(0212) 233 4925