The word “gourmet” has become pretty cliche. It’s essentially been co-opted by the industrialized food marketing machine to mean “a useless filler adjective that may motivate you to buy our crap product.” Admittedly “stale, burnt C-grade coffee” doesn’t soundly nearly as appealing as “Gourmet Colombian Coffee” but either way, we’re still talking about the same product.
“Gourmet” is merely the latest linguistic victim of the commercialization of (post) postmodernism in which everything can mean anything, and sequentially say nothing. And it’s unfortunate because when I say “gourmet pizza” it’s not my intent for Red Baron, Dominoes, or even Papa John’s to be your referent. I’m talking about the kind of place where they use homemade sauce, make the dough from scratch, and have fresh and creative toppings (If there’s not goat cheese and spinach available, it’s hard for me to get excited about it.) For the infidel among us, there’s even several pizzas with pork toppings- almost unheard of in Turkey.
Basically, we need a criteria to delineate between pre-manufactured nonsense and real pizza. Thankfully, for Istanbul residents Miss Pizza is that criteria.
[note: Unfortunately, being gluten-intolerant throws a monkey wrench in eating good pizza. I can count all of the exceptional gluten-free restaurant experiences I’ve had on one hand (Rockbottom Pizza in Richmond, Naked Pizza in Louisville, Hell Pizza in Dublin). I haven’t found anything like this in Istanbul, I am relying on the universal positive feedback from my non-celiac friends for how the pizza actually tastes… I did steal the toppings off a few pieces.]
Miss Pizza is conveniently located right next to the Şişhane metro stop (the original location is in Cihangir). The atmosphere is chill, the aesthetic is hip. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel cooler simply because you’re there.
I always get the Four Season Salad, which has a delicious assortment of mixed greens and rockets in balsamic vinegar, topped with cherry tomatos, wild grapes, and goat cheese. Normally it’s hard for me to get excited about salad but this one is delicious.
The array of options for the pizza make me really wish they had a gluten-free option. The artichoke pizza combines too of my favorite things: artichokes and ricotta. The Akdeniz (pictured) features a Turkish take on the Mediterranean palate, specifically marinated eggplant, parmigiano, and- you guessed it- ricota.
So if you’re looking for a good pizza in Istanbul, look no further. With a great location, great atmosphere, and great food, Miss Pizza is a trifecta of culinary enjoyment.
Expect to spend 20-25 Liras per person.