Half the people I know, and even some people from work have been raving about Café Istanbul and Hookah Lounge for months now. On a Friday night after a long week, I managed to get a few of my close pals together for an evening of fun.
I was quite impressed with the night. From our awesome, unique food to the hookah service, I can’t recommend this Tempe restaurant highly enough.
I’m not an expert on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, but I feel like I’ve eaten my fair share over the years. After getting that out of the way, I can tell you the food at Café Istanbul is nothing short of authentic.
My group started with the classic soujouk, a dish made Armenian spiced beef. Paired with the garlic dip and Armenian pizza, the apps alone were enough to make me want to plan my next trip.
The main course I had was a really excellent lamb shish kabob plate. As good as my entrée was, I couldn’t help but nibble on the offerings from the vegetarian combo and the assorted pies, like the spinach pie that my friends got. Everything I tasted was fresh, bold and downright spectacular.
The Hookah Experience
I’m not a seasoned hookah smoker, but some of the friends in my group really enjoy it. They were all new to the place too, but everybody said the choices were ideal.
All of the pipes seemed clean and the mint, grenadine and coconut flavors were definitely my favorite. I was told they even prepare their own tobacco in-house for ideal quality control and freshness.
You can go to a lot of restaurants and find good food, but for me, service really does matter. From refilling water glasses to making sure the hookah pipe was working just right, you’d be hard-pressed to find better service anywhere in town. Combine that will the overall atmosphere, food and hookah options, and you’ve got a great night out. I know I’ll be going back soon.