Rating: 8 / 10
Moda is definitely the perfect location for an ultra-cool, slick burger spot to pop out of nowhere, and that's just what Banko did. The owner/chef was well known already in the culinary circles of Istanbul, before spotting a gap in the market, branching out on his own and starting a burger shop.
I read about it whilst I was spending almost a month in Kadikoy, and happened to catch them on their opening week. The place itself could have been torn out of a page of Wallpaper magazine with its sleek lines and minimalist aesthetic. I ordered my burger and ate it outside in the high-chair seating area whilst a group of investors/bankers gesticulated loudly staring at laptops.
My go-to for any new spot is usually a cheeseburger. Much like ordering a Margarita at a pizza spot, if they do the basics well, you feel confident enough to be adventurous on the return visit. Ten minutes later a brown paper bag was handed to me and my cash disappeared into an open till. I peered inside and my heart warmed for an instant.
A toasted bun, house dressing, bacon, cheese (in liquid form) no superfluous salad or tomato (who needs them, unless you're at IN-N-OUT). The beef was moist and well seasoned, the bun not too sweet, the bacon on point. Literally the perfect UFO delivery system for sustenance and enjoyment.
With prices being slightly higher than other spots (Moda rents), I don't know if this will become a weekly splurge for most Istanbulites, but it could definitely be a monthly ritual.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"