-Grubbing in ChicagoCentral Asian / Turkish in Irving Park
There is perhaps no cuisine more intriguing to me than Turkish food right now. Istanbul is a place I cant wait to get to. In the meantime I have I Cafe aka Pide Ve Lamacun. It sits on Irving Park just east of the brown line station. They've been a staple of the neighborhood for a while now. I've been going there for more than five years. It's a popular spot for Central Asian Chicagoan's to meet up and eat.
Locals Favorite in Irving Park
I Cafe is open seven days a week from 11-11. They seem to get a steady stream of customers all day. The menu here is Halal Turkish fare. Pork isn't served here and bc of religious restrictions it isn't that big in Turkish food overall. Instead you can expect typical Middle Eastern proteins like beef and chicken. If dining with a group a good way to start is an order of Pide aka Turkish Pizza. It's more like a flatbread stuffed with cheese and choice of vegetables or meats. It's a delicious dish and I Cafe is confident enough in theirs they put it in their full name. I-Cafe Sukur's Place / Pide Ve Lahmacun.
Pide at I-Cafe Sukur's Place / Pide Ve Lahmacun
If dining solo a good way to go is the daily specials menu. It changes but pretty much always pleases. If you see the Kofte (Turkish Meatballs) those are really good. They're just right as far as seasoning and fat content in the meat which is important bc you want it to drip into the rice.
You can find all the good stuff when it comes to spits and skewers. Try the combo plate featuring a little of each if you're having trouble deciding. Adana Kebab is one of Turkey's most popular regional foods and I-Cafe makes a pretty good one. Same goes for the doner meat which is always crisp and thinly shaven. Both of the beef and chicken kebabs are what they are and satisfying as such.
Combo Platter at I-Cafe Sukur's Place
My favorite menu item is another popular regional favorite from Turkey. Iskender Kabap is one of Turkey’s most well known regional dishes going back to the Ottoman Empire of the 19th century. It has layers of flavor going from the bottom up - bread, yogurt sauce, Doner meat, tomato sauce, and butter. Fans of Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza will find this dish to be delicious. Similar flavor profiles. Dishes like this is why Turkey is high on my hit list. I hope to get there and sometime soon.
Iskender Kabap at I-Cafe Sukur's Place
The ladies that run the front of the house at I-Cafe are very welcoming and usually offer up a slice of Kazandibi when you're finishing up. It's a milk pudding type dessert. I've found that Turkish spots are very generous when it comes to offering up items gratis whether it be bread and or pita with a red pepper spread or candy and other desserts such as this. I never leave a Turkish meal still hungry.
I-Cafe Sukur's Place
1814 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60613