Every kebab-lover must have enjoyed fireside restaurants at some point in their lives. What is a “fireside restaurant” anyway? It is a grill restaurant with an open fire pit in the middle where the chef grills the meat right in front of you. Nothing beats smelling the delicious dishes while you move into deep conversation with your friends, sipping on your rakı.
Fireside restaurants first emerged in cities like Adana, Hatay, and Gaziantep during the late Ottoman Empire. The main reason was the lack of space -kebab chefs found a way to gather people around a fire pit where customers ate and left, creating customer circulation that allows new ones to sit down and enjoy their meal. Gradually, as people savor the freshly-grilled meat, the fireside concept grew bigger and bigger. Today, there are many fireside restaurants; some of them are modern while some are adorably shabby.
It is a chance for people to unite, pour out their grief to each other, or share happiness; in short, spend quality time together while enjoying a Turkish style barbecue. As they witness the peppers and tomatoes grill to adorn their meat, and the fire flaring up, warming the environment that is already cozy, people celebrate their friendship -the meat is just a delicious means.
The dishes used to be served with ayran or turnip juice, but in time alcohol started to accompany the fresh grills. That is how the side dishes found themselves a place in the fireside restaurant culture –haydari, hummus, eggplant paste and so much are arrayed in tables where people sit around until late evening hours. Yet, if you’re not drinking, fireside restaurants where alcohol is not served are quite popular too. For every taste and every need, there is a fireside restaurant awaits to give a warm welcome to people around the world coming to experience this unique dining culture.