Imagine walking into any old bar and, instead of overcooked burgers and soggy nachos, finding richly spiced meatballs, herb-speckled salads, and flaky-crusted börek. This is Galata, a University Village newcomer with the look of a bar and the culinary soul of Istanbul.
It’s a perfect meet-up place for rounds of beers and tapas—Turkish tapas, that is. Start with the colorful meze platter ($12, with pita): ezme (a spicy dip of bell peppers and tomatoes), creamy hummus, chargrilled-eggplant salad, and plump dolma (stuffed grape leaves). Nor can you go wrong ordering anything patty-shaped—be it fat, piping-hot falafel with tahini ($5 for four) or those juicy beef-lamb meatballs fragrant with cumin, mint, and garlic and served with a cooling yogurt sauce ($13, with rice and salad). But this real-deal Turkish spot also knows its University Village audience, cramming its cocktail list with ’tinis of the apple and flirt variety. And as at any self-respecting college bar, Monday is 50-cent-wing day.
717 W. Maxwell St., 312-733-5900