Head to Istanbul Sofra, one of Regent Square’s new additions,
for assorted lamb dishes, vegetarian starters and well-executed desserts.
BY VALENTINA | PHOTOS BY LAURA PETRILLA
Pehlivan brings extensive food-ser-vice experience to bear in making his
mark on the local restaurant scene. He
has more than 20 years of corporate
hotel experience, primarily working as a food and beverage director
and director of operations for Hilton
Hotels in the United States and Turkey.
His background in the hotel industry
and his Turkish heritage are tied by the
common value of hospitality.
“We speak to every customer while
they are dining,” says Pehlivan, who
says he makes hospitality his main
priority. “At the end of each night, we
discuss the feedback we received and
make changes accordingly; we want 100
percent of the people to leave happy.”
For this venture, he partners with
his childhood friend Edip Sensel, a
chef and butcher.
Istanbul Sofra has a casual, fresh
environment with paprika and cerulean walls, colorful menus and sparkly
hanging Turkish mosaic light fixtures.
Outdoor seating on busy Braddock
Avenue also is available, weather
The appetizers at Istanbul Sofra are
first-class, categorized as hot or cold,
with many nice vegetarian offerings
among them. Among the cold
appetizers, the hummus ($5) is good,
but there are better choices —
such as the light and fresh eggplant
salad ($6), a mixture of charbroiled
eggplant, chopped tomatoes, onions,
peppers and parsley. The neatly rolled
stanbul Sofra is a new neighborhood
restaurant serving fresh Turkish cuisine
in the space formerly occupied by Alma
Pan-Latin Kitchen. Owner Adnan Pehlivan,
who hails from Turkey, came to Pittsburgh
with his Pennsylvania-born wife more than
two years ago to be near his brother in
Turkish flavors abound in Istanbul Sofra’s
dishes, ranging from the baba ghanoush
(above left), baklava (above right),
chicken mixed-grill platter (right) and
vegetarian grape leaves (opposite).