Eat This

Your Field Guide to Great Turkish Pizzas in Dallas

The Dallas pizza scene can’t get much better. Name a style, and you can find it. Neapolitan pies, Roman-style crusts, New York, Chicago deep dish and, thanks to ZaLat, even a bowl of pho on a pizza. But we want to make sure you have another of our city’s strengths on your radar: Turkish pizza.

Turkey has two kinds of pie, strikingly different and equally delicious.

Pronounced almost like “pita,” pide doesn’t have much to do with pita at all. It’s a pizza made in a canoe shape, looking a little bit like those French bread pizzas that are a fixture of the frozen food aisle. But unlike French bread pizzas, pide have thin crusts, meant to be smoky and crispy from their time in a traditional oven.

Among all the possible toppings, our favorite is sucuk, a spicy red link sausage. Crispy crust that you can hear tearing between your teeth, bubbling hot cheese, spicy meats: pide is a universal comfort food.

Where to find pide: Café Istanbul, Pera Turkish Kitchen, Istanbul Palace (Richardson; pictured above)
This takes thin crust to a new level. Lahmacun (lah-MA-jen) is so slim you can roll it up and eat it like a taco. (The diameter is never more than 6 inches or so, which helps.) I asked my mother, who was born and raised in Turkey, if this taco approach is a common one. “We never did it when I was a kid, we never did it back home,” she answered, hinting that anybody rolling up their lahmacun in the 1970s would be seen as crazy. “But it’s really popular here.”

Topped with minced beef and lamb, finely chopped onions and herbs, but no tomatoes or cheese, this pizza type is often served as an appetizer. Lahmacun’s thin crust and gentle spice make it maybe the most addicting no-cheese pizza on earth. If an appetizer isn’t enough, Café Istanbul also has a full platter version with eight slices, lemon and a mound of red onions for garnish.

At many of Dallas’ Turkish restaurants, you and your friends can go through not just multiple pizzas, but multiple kinds of pizza at one meal. Seriously, how cool is that?

Where to find lahmacun: Café Istanbul (pictured above), Pera Turkish Kitchen, Istanbul Palace (Richardson), Souk (lunch only)
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Brian Reinhart has been the Dallas Observer's food critic since spring 2016. In addition, he writes baseball analysis for the Hardball Times and covers classical music for the Observer and MusicWeb International.
Contact: Brian Reinhart