Review: Cagri Restaurant, Istanbul Turkey

For our last meal in Istanbul, we naturally went to a Russian restaurant. Naturally. To be honest, it’s because it was the closest restaurant to our single-night-stay hotel in the Aksaray region, and we didn’t fancy going any further in the rain and snow to search for other options! Laziness, warmth and comfort won out over finding a more ‘genuine’ Turkish dining experience. Cagri Restaurant it was!

Fresh Orange Juice, 10 Turkish Lira each
Fresh Orange Juice, 10 Turkish Lira each

A week and a half after he first got sick, K was still feeling the effects of his cold and worst of all, my immune system was finally giving up and I was starting to feel it as well. A Fresh Orange Juice each to help us get the vitamins we needed to heal ourselves. This proved to be one of the final fresh orange juices we would have for a few weeks on our trip – after we left Istanbul, we headed onto the Balkans where it definitely wasn’t offered at every restaurant and street stall!

Lentil Soup, 8 Turkish Lira
Lentil Soup, 8 Turkish Lira

K continued with his trend of ordering the Lentil Soup, this one significantly more expensive than other restaurants who were charging 4-5 Lira. The higher price point certainly didn’t seem justified as the soup wasn’t any tastier than other variations – it wasn’t spicier, creamier, or thicker.

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At least we got these delicious freshly-baked Turkish bread rolls to go with the soup. They were wonderfully light and not doughy or heavy at all, instead¬†almost deflating like a balloon when you pierced the¬†wonderfully crispy crust. The liberal use of butter on top of the bread roll as a glaze definitely helped with the taste as well…

Vegetable Casserole, 23 Turkish Lira
Vegetable Casserole, 23 Turkish Lira

I wanted to stock up on my vegetables, so I ordered the Vegetable Casserole. While it was visually quite spectacular in being served on a sizzling hotplate, the vegetables themselves were less than impressive. With the exceptions of the tomatoes which were still quite raw, nearly everything else had been cooked until limp, while also suffering the indignity of being over-salted and over-oily. Not quite the healthy, hearty, vitamin-rich vegetable casserole that I’d been hoping for.

Omelette, 15 Turkish Lira
Omelette, 15 Turkish Lira

K also ordered an Omelette to finish off his meal, which was very simple with just the lightest bit of cheese inside for some extra flavour. Not the best omelette K’s ever had as it lacked that extra punch that some black pepper or chilli flakes could have provided – I’m afraid that we can cook better omelettes at home ourselves! Still, you can’t go too wrong with an omelette if you’re looking for a simple meal that won’t irritate an unsettled stomach.

I wasn’t that impressed with Cagri Restaurant, despite its relatively high rating on TripAdvisor in the top 3% of restaurants in Istanbul. This may be partially our fault – we tried to order healthier meals off the menu rather than the stereotypical heavier Russian meals available which are the restaurant’s actual specialty. While I wouldn’t actively discourage people from visiting Cagri Restaurant, I would encourage you to consider ordering a Russian dish off the menu instead of a healthier choice – a beef stroganoff perhaps?

Cagri Restaurant is located at 49 Aksaray Caddesi, Istanbul Turkey.

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