Philly's small collection of Turkish kitchens has gotten a boost from Isot Mediterranean Cuisine, Fatih Kekec's two-month-old ode to Antep, his native town in southern Turkey.
The 60-seat Queen Village space, elegantly renovated with Mediterranean tiles and sea blue fabric, is a lovely spot to spoon through a refreshing cold soup, crispy semolina-bulghur ichli köfte fritters stuffed with spiced minced beef, and an aromatic lamb kebob over tomatoey bulgur pilaf.
One of many all-time Turkish favorites, though, is the little lamb dumpling known as manti, from Kayseri in Central Turkey. Mantis are rarely homemade, but Isot makes them daily, pinching dough around an oniony lamb and beef stuffing into diamond-shaped dumplings, then drizzling them with tart house-strained yogurt, swirling orange chile oil and mint.
That raisiny whiff of earthy spice?
That would be a dusting of isot chiles, the almost ancho-like sun-dried peppers from Urfa, after which this charming new cafe is named.
Manti dumplings, $12.95, Isot Mediterranean Cuisine, 622 S. 6th St., 267-457-3622; mediterraneanfoodinphiladelphiapa.com