Istanbul Bay Premium opened toward the end of last year (2022). It’s in the building that formerly housed Nonna’s Cucina (across the road from Donner House). Unlike Donner House, which is also Turkish but mainly a take-out place, Istanbul Bay Premium is a full-fleged sit-down restaurant. I do find it strange that the menu includes quite a few Italian options. Are they considering Italian Mediterranean? Well, in any case, the majority of the menu is Turkish.
Because we are not doing any indoor restaurant dining, we ordered take-out. When we picked up order order, I went inside to see what the interior looks like. I didn’t walk around but what I could see from the entrance area and the bar (our order was ready and was waiting for us there), they’ve refurbished (my memories of Nonna are pretty much nil), and it all looks very nice. There are several spaces including the good-sized bar area though they are a BYO.
When it comes to take-out, I am very picky because many dishes that would be fine eaten in the restaurant don’t travel well. So, I chose items that I felt would work as take-out. We ordered lentil soup; from the cold appetizers: shepherd’s salad, babaghanoush, and spicy ezme; from the hot appetizers: fried calf’s liver cubes; and from the mains, kofte kebab. When we got home, I discovered that they’d included two large round pidah breads.
Long story short, everything was very well prepared and delicious. As I said to Mr. R., on a par with our favorite Turkish restaurant, Turkish Kitchen, a few blocks from our apartment in Manhattan. Mr. R.'s response: “That’s high praise from you!”
I hope next time they have the the eggplant kebab casserole for two which we originally wanted to order but wasn’t available, and baklava which we would have ordered if they’d had any.
Photos can be viewed on my Flickr here: Istanbul Bay Premium (Take-out) | Flickr
The restaurant’s website: Istanbul Premium – Mediterranean Turkish Restaurant (istanbulbaypremium.com)
RGR, thanks for the write-up. I dined in a few days following their opening, but have been delinquent in reporting here. The interior of the restaurant is indeed very nice and, like you, my last visit to Nonna is too far removed from memory to draw any comparison. I don’t have access to the menu for precise descriptions, but started with a nicely dressed salad with sliced apples. Would not known to have called the bread a “pidah” but what we were served was a hot, giant, inflated pocket of bread quite literally the size of a football. It was quite good, albeit a bit underseasoned and served without any dip, oil, etc. Our mains included falafel and hummus, chicken shish and chicken adana. Everything really good. We shared baklava for dessert (not overly sweet in a good way) and complimentary coffee or tea. Above all, our server, who appeared to possibly have an involvement with the restaurant in an ownership capacity, was really, really excellent. Were surprised and pleased to see that our leftovers were packed with fresh dipping sauces and additional bread. Notwithstanding the casual/take-out Doner House across the highway, a nice addition.
J., Glad to hear that you had a very positive experience dining there. I agree it’s a fine addition to the area. We’re especially pleased that it’s a 5-minute ride from our house.
We did take-out again this week. Though we repeated some things, we tried a few others for the first time. Mr. R. wanted the broccoli cheddar soup, so we got that in addition to lentil soup for me. When I ordered the shepherd’s salad, I was asked if I wanted feta (wasn’t asked last time). I said yes, and we felt this excellent salad was even better with this addition. We ordered two mains instead of just one: lamb sauté with vegetables, which comes with rice and a side salad (different from the shepherd’s salad); and grilled lamb chops, also with rice + grilled tomato half and a small yellow pepper. This time they had baklava. We ordered two slices.
We were about to leave when it occurred to me to ask about stuffed grape leaves which they didn’t have last time. They are now on the menu (though not yet on the website), so we ordered them. They gave them to us compliments of the house.
In short, all the “new” things were as delicious as the repeats. Istanbul Bay Premium continues to impress us. Definitely on our regular take-out rotation.
Photo set can be viewed on my Flickr here: Istanbul Bay Premium (Take-out) | Flickr
Just a warning if you eat in -
We tried to make a reservation for 7pm tonight (Friday) and they are totally booked. For tomorrow (Saturday) too. Not sure how far in advance they fill up or whether they leave any seats for walk-ins. We are busy next weekend and Mr Bean couldn’t commit for the weekend after so didn’t ask.
Wow, it’s a really large space, but not sure whether they are utilizing 100% of it. Good for them.
We asked the young man who took care of us when we paid for our order how they were doing. He said very busy on weekends, not so much the rest of the week. Very typical of NJ restaurants. Even so, I agree it’s great that people have discovered it.
We also tried midweek (Wed) to make reservations for saturday evening - nothing available. Hmmm. a good sign? Will need to consider trying it midweek.