Following the advice, once again, of our Antep food gurus Emre and Tuba, Semsa and I headed to Halil Usta, a busy kebab place near the mosaics museum. When we arrived around noon, the place was hopping. They do a brisk business, mainly of grilled things, during their brief opening hours; they close by 3pm.

Before even taking our order, a server brought a spicy salad of diced peppers, onion, and tomatoes to our table. We asked him to bring us a sampling of grilled meat dishes and one by one silver plates loaded with meat in various incarnations began to arrive.

The first dish was kuşbaşı, tender, marinated meat cubes with outstanding flavor and a side of spicy peppers.

The next dish was one of the most exciting bites of the whole Antep trip: simit kebabı, minced meat and tail fat mixed with coarsely ground bulgur and spices. The kebab barely held together due to the abundance of juicy ground fat. Pure magic.

The pirzola (lamb chops) that had been taken off the bone were less successful. The meat was chewy and dry.

Thankfully this was followed by zahter, a digestive herbal tea that would follow us throughout the trip and settle our stomachs for the meals to come.

Explore related categories:
Antep/Gaziantep · Food & Wine · Meat · Restaurants · Turkish Cuisine

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