Izgara: A Taste of Turkey in Sydney's CBD

Izgara Sydney

Izgara is a Turkish restaurant in Sydney's CBD. In March 2024, Izgara moved from Kings Cross to the city taking up the space that their sister restaurant Above Par used to on Clarence Street. The menu, chef and location are completely new. So what is the new Izgara like compared to the former location?

Izgara Sydney

Laura and I were deciding whether we should go out. It was Friday evening, the Friday evening in early April that saw Sydney drenched with 145mm/5.7inches of rain. But you can't keep two hungry gals down and we decide that we need a good meal out and by 7pm we are standing outside Izgara. The last time I went to Izgara was in July 2023 when It was located on Bayswater Road in Kings Cross. The food was fine and our favourite dish was one of the dips. But we also noticed that it was very quiet on the Friday night that we visited.

Izgara Sydney

This Friday night however is busy. Perhaps it's the city location, but the crowds don't seem to be deterred by the persistent precipitation. The restaurant has a main dining area and open bar that seats 35 and the atmosphere is dark and seductive. There's also a good sized outdoor section with around half a dozen tables seating 15 people which is where we are sitting. Service is really lovely. The two owners of Izgara are Ozgur Sefkatli and Efe Topuzlu who also own Malika Bakehouse in Surry Hills. The restaurant is named after the Izgara or grill and the Head Chef is Kerem Ozturk.

Izgara Sydney
Peach Americano $23 and Sour Cherry Margarita $24

Laura and I both hone in on the same two cocktails: a Peach Americano and a Sour Cherry Margarita. The Peach Americano has Campari, peach juice, antica formula vermouth and prosecco and is strong but good (I would have loved a bit more peach flavour). The Sour Cherry Margarita is Don Julio reposado tequila, triple sec, agave, lime and cherry juice but doesn't have a lot of sour cherry flavour and the abundant amount of crushed ice waters down the drink even further. When they see that we barely touch the sour cherry margarita they offer something else. I opt for the non alcoholic apricot hi-ball with dried apricot, apricot syrup and fresh citrus that is balanced between the sweetness of the apricots and the tanginess from the citrus.

Izgara Sydney
Aegean Olives $8

We start with some olives rolled in olive oil and a za'atar style seasoning which is such a clever idea that I'll definitely be doing at home. The sesame and herbs add a lot of flavour and texture to the olives.

Izgara Sydney
Char Grilled Turkish Chilli Peppers, Pul Biber and smoked labneh $18

Our waitress is absolutely on the ball with Laura's allergy to capsicum as peppers often appear on a Turkish menu. The char-grilled Turkish chilli peppers are nicely scorched in a puddle of creamy smoked labneh edged with Pul Biber or Aleppo pepper that gives this dish a nice heat to it.

Izgara Sydney
Turkish Pide Bread by Malika Bakehose $8

The Turkish pide from Malika Bakehouse is soft, puffy, airy and fresh and comes cut into 4 pieces. This is essential for all of the sauces that we want to mop up with it.

Izgara Sydney
Halloumi, honey, walnuts, sun dried tomatoes, currants $23

The halloumi comes in small, pan-fried square slices topped with chopped walnuts, sun dried tomatoes and currants and is dressed in a delicious honey and olive oil dressing that works perfectly with the toppings.

Izgara Sydney
Cauliflower, ras-el-hanout, tahini pumpkin $26

And then comes the dish that we both absolutely swoon for. The cauliflower is oven roasted and then fried until dark and caramelised and then sprinkled with ras-el-hanout, a spice blend meaning "head of the shop" in Arabic. It is then served on a bed of tahini pumpkin puree. They tell us that the secret to making this dish pop is to add some lemon pepper to the ras-el-hanout and it really does brighten up the spice mix. And you definitely need the bread for this as the pumpkin is so divine that you won't want to leave any on the plate.

Izgara Sydney
Char Grilled Chicken kebab, pickled cabbage, peppers and toum $34

There is a big break between entrees and mains of around 40 minutes which is a bit long. We ordered two of the mains that were recommended to us and the first is two char grilled chicken thigh kebabs served with pink pickled cabbage, picked peppers and a scoop of garlicky toum with triangles of flatbread underneath that collect all of those delicious chicken juices. We grab a triangle each, spread it with toum, spear some pickles and chicken and this simple but well executed dish is straight from heaven.

Izgara Sydney
Lamb Kofte, tomato salsa, hung yogurt $36

The last time we went to Izgara we had a bit of an issue with the beef shish kebab. It came as 4 meatballs for $39 but the meatballs were also really dry to the point of not wanting to finish them and we were expecting actual beef fillet not beef mince. The lamb kofte is 4 meatballs served with pita flat bread and a street style tomato and onion salad seasoned with sumac and hung yogurt. The key to this dish is the lamb kofta that are so succulent with lots of spices.

Izgara Sydney
Grilled Broccolini, Capsicum relish, hazelnuts $15

We ordered two side dishes to go with each of the mains. The grilled broccolini is served with capsicum relish (similar to ajvar) and hazelnuts. We love the char to the broccolini that really makes it pop and the relish adds a beautiful creaminess to it (we had it on the side as Laura is allergic to capsicum).

Izgara Sydney
Chat Potatoes, Paprika, Thyme Salt $15

We also order the chat potatoes seasoned with paprika and thyme. These are nice but if I had to pick one out of the two sides, I'd pick the broccolini.

Izgara Sydney
Katmer $22

It's time for dessert! Katmer is described as a crunchy pancake which is layers of filo pastry layered with pistachios and kaymak or clotted cream. This is made to order so it does take 15 minutes to arrive and it comes out warm and syrupy with a scoop of mastic ice cream on top. It's buttery and sweet, a distant cousin to the baklava with the syrup, butter and filo but so delicious in its own right especially with the clotted cream and ice cream added to it. And if you're curious to try the mastic ice cream which is the third option on the dessert menu you'll get a scoop of it here with the Katmer. While we've had mastic ice cream or dondurma before we've never had it with the mastic flavour which is a very mild flavour with a slight pine-y aftertaste to it.

Izgara Sydney
Cheesecake Baklava $19

Our waiter mentioned the cheesecake baklava was popular for Instagram which worried me slightly because I sometimes think that things that are popular for their looks don't quite live up to the hype in terms of taste. But not this cheesecake. It has a filo crust, a generous layer of pistachios and an incredibly silky and creamy texture made with just cream cheese and cream (I would guess that perhaps more cream than your usual cheesecake because that texture!). It's also a huge slice so we can't finish it but what we can't we take home. Because there's no place like home where you can eat baklava cheesecake in your pyjamas.

So tell me Dear Reader, does torrential rain deter you from going out? And do you ever take food home to eat a bit later?

Izgara Sydney
NQN and Laura were guests of Izgara but all opinions remain her own.


215 Clarence St, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 8033 7585

Monday to Friday 12–3 pm, 5:30–10 pm

Saturday 5:30–10 pm

Sunday Closed


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