/Datlı Maya, Istanbul's Dirty and Disappointing Cafe

Datlı Maya, Istanbul's Dirty and Disappointing Cafe

With a storefront like this, I shoulda known.

You know how sometimes your iPhone camera doesn’t do a subject justice? In the right light it does a pretty good job. But other times, it just doesn’t come close to capturing the true nature of what you’ve witnessed. That happened to me on Saturday at Datlı Maya, a well liked and inexplicably popular cafe in Istanbul’s Cihangir. My good ol’ iPhone failed to accurately capture how absolutely filthy this place is. The dirt was so completely ubiquitous, from the crumb filled, grease stained storefront, to the dirty open kitchen, to the sticky dining room and its grime-caked floors, that I thought for a minute I had been teleported to a Denny’s on the New Jersey Turnpike.

At least Denny’s has darkish walls…

I remarked to my incredulous dining companion that I hadn’t eaten in a place so dirty since college. She took pity on me as she smacked my hand away from the parsley I was about to put on my too-thick lahmacun. “You don’t want to eat that.” Microbes and all. The same could be said of the rest of the meal, which was a tremendous disappointment. Dishes were over or undercooked, or irregularly reheated. Hot kid on cold rice? Offensive under normal circumstances, but overshadowed by food stains on the walls. After a few stomach-churning bites, we split. And Datlı Maya will never tempt us again.

The self-service silverware could use another rinse.

Datlı Maya does offer a bit of value, though. With each meal, you get caked-on dried food from the previous diners, which is firmly attached to the self-service silverware, absolutely free! Bonus!

2017-02-17T15:18:07+00:00 May 9th, 2012|Categories: Istanbul, Restaurants, Turkish Cuisine|12 Comments


  1. Mamma Parla May 12, 2012 at 4:52 am - Reply

    Staying in Cihangir -will be sure to avoid this place!

  2. Enrique May 17, 2012 at 4:13 am - Reply

    What is the motive of this post ? I thought this blog was about writing “what people eat , why they eat ?” OR is it about something else? Why don’t you blog about horrible McDonalds stores in US

  3. Katie May 17, 2012 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Ah yes the tired “fuck off to McDonald’s” argument. Very compelling…Zzzzzzz….the motive of the post is clear: to put a place on blast for being filthy. To demonstrate shock and amazement that a famous cafe has fallen off, and so forth

  4. Vivi June 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Lucky you mentioned this so I can cross it off my list! Thanks 🙂

  5. Anna November 20, 2012 at 4:40 am - Reply

    I disagree; this place was not dirty and the food was pretty good. They do something very unique in a good way.

    • Katie November 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      I heard from a friend that they have been more attentive to hygiene. That’s good news. I’ll still never go back. The memory of sticky surfaces and filth on silverware and walls still turns my stomach.

  6. Dara November 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Hahahah 🙂 this is totally another point of view of course, Datli Maya made the for real food always when I was in Istanbul, no one wouldnt say no if you wanna bring your own plate and forks or knifes, by d way they have 100% open kitchen that you can see if they preparing your food hygienic or not. so please stop complaining and wash it if u wanna help people rather thn being distructive 🙂

    • Katie November 27, 2012 at 12:14 am - Reply

      yes one should bring their own plates, forks, and knives. that makes a lot of sense. good advice. the kitchen was disgusting, by the way. can i bring my own mop?

  7. Toprak May 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Definitely agree with the post. One of the filthiest stops to eat in the area. Expensive yet not a bang for your buck, whatsoever…Avoid it!

  8. koral May 27, 2013 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    i was there many times during the last 2 years and i never saw any sign about what you are writing about. i liked your blog til now a lot but now i have really difficulties to understadn the prejudgement of yours… hmm how many times have you been in datli maya?

    there are other opinions liken mine or: http://istanbuleats.com/2011/11/datli-maya-oven-of-wonders/



    • Katie May 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Went once and would never step foot in there again. The place was utterly squallid so i dont see any reason to return.

  9. ipek April 5, 2014 at 12:23 am - Reply

    Been there many times 2 years ago, when i was working at the neigbourhood. At that time it was delicious but always very dirty.. Once i’ve found some hair and i’ve thought it was just a coincidence… When it repeated i hated that place… Never ever

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