Hayvore is perhaps the best spot in Beyoğlu for a quick but wholesome bite. The foods on display are mostly braised vegetables, brothy meats, soups or rice dishes. This is the quintessential homely food experience, not only because of the recipes being regional and replicating home meals but also because they are well-made by cooks clearly from the region.
Hayvore hosts traditional food from the Northern region of Turkey. Called” Karadeniz” (Black Sea) because it shores the fish-rich Black Sea, the region’s cuisine hosts a myriad of fish-based dishes as well as corn-heavy baked goods. Fresh anchovies, not the canned and umami-packed type, are actually more than an ingredient here, they are a lifestyle. Karadeniz cuisine has anchovy in rices, stews, fries and even in marmalades. My grandmother is from Of, a small town in the region, so dishes like dıble (buttery rice cooked with snap peas), kuymak (Kolot cheese fondue thickened with ground corn), anchovies shallow fried in cornflour were staples in my diet when she was raising me.
What to order: My ideal lunch here would be a plate of hamsi kaygana (anchovy and bitter greens corn pancakes - like the korean pajeon), a side of thick sheep’s yogurt and a glass of tea. The corn bread is not my favorite but it is a good introduction to the concept. It’s crumbly in texture and slightly sweet.
While a regionally-focused cuisine, Hayvore still does put mainstream homely foods on its menu. I would not say these are less tasty, yet it is a slight shame to not try the Karadeniz delicacies. So asking the waiters or cooks is the best way forward to know what’s special.
What to know: To order, go up to the display inside, look at the pots of food long enough for a waiter or the cook to take interest in you and ask your questions. You can order right there and the waiter will swiftly bring them to your table. The portions are not on the small side, two dishes would fill one up easily, three would be a heavy lunch.
Northern people are chatty and often weird enough to be the protagonists of region humour. Chat with them without holding back, you might enjoy it and get complimentary tea along the way.