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While some of the hottest temperatures in Mexico can be measured in California’s Baja Peninsula, some of Istanbul’s spiciest food can be found in Beyoğlu’s Baja restaurant.

Baja, a Tex-Mex restaurant, conveniently nestled in between Beyoğlu’s antique shops on Kuloğlu Mahalle, has been a gem in the neighborhood for the last year. Its bright and colorful decoration and hip music invites the passerby to take a closer look at the menu.

Baja, featuring anything from burritos and nachos to bacon cheddar burgers, is as close to a real Mexican-American fusion cuisine as it gets in Turkey. Most meals are presented with homemade salsa and fresh guacamole and every table is outfitted with hot sauce.

Owner Görkem Öztopal returned from culinary school in Montpellier, France in 2002 and after working for several prominent establishments such as Istanbul Doors and Otto Santral, decided to introduce Mexican cuisine to Turkey.

“I like Mexican food and I could not find any I liked in Istanbul, so I decided to open my own restaurant,” Görkem said.

Besides the Baja Combo Taco Plate (19 Turkish Liras), consisting of two hard shell tacos with chicken and beef, Mexican rice and black beans, Görkem’s menu also offers a variety of burgers and steaks (14 – 30 liras). The burger, made with hearty meat and a freshly baked bun, was recently nominated among Time Out’s “best burger in town.”

If the Jalapeno peppers are too spicy, the food is best washed down with a margarita or mojito (15 liras), both mixed only with the freshest juices and ingredients.

Baja has a delivery service, and a lunch special during the week from noon to 3 p.m. with a 25 percent discount.

Opening hours are from noon to 11 p.m., closed Sundays.

Address: Ağahamam Sok. No.29, Kuloğlumahalle, Çukurcuma

Contact: 212 252 3428

Article & Photo from: Daily News -

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