Local Antalya Cuisine: Tahinli Piyaz
Tahinli Piyaz, also called Antalya Piyazı, is a type of white bean salad. What separates it from the original piyaz is its creamy, nutty tahini sauce. Piyaz is normally made of white beans, diced raw onion, tomatoes, and a hard-boiled egg. This version is also topped with a lemony tahini sauce, and garnished with some fresh parsley. If you are not a big fan of hard-boiled eggs, you can order it without.
Although it is served as a salad, it is also consumed as a meal on its own. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can easily try this option, and you will find it is a filling dish. Usually, piyaz is eaten with a portion of Şiş Köfte, which is the perfect combination. If you are dining with a friend, you can order a portion of piyaz to share and each have a portion of şiş köfte on the side.
Tahini is often found in the cuisine of Antalya, which is because of the abundance of high-quality sesame in the area. If you like tahini, you can also have a look at other specific dishes of Antalya made with Tahini, such as Kabak Tatlısı, Tahinli Gözleme, Bağaça, Tahinli İrmik Helvası.
Where To Eat Piyaz in Antalya?
1- MEŞHUR AKSU ŞİMŞEK KÖFTECİ İSA
This restaurant is located in Aksu, by the Antalya - Mersin highway. They are very famous for their köfte and piyaz, which is the only thing they have on the menu. Their piyaz is the best I have had so far. The tahini has a strong, nutty flavor, perfectly balanced with the acidity of the lemon and vinegar. You can either get one or a half portion, that’s totally up to you. What I love about this place is that it also is served with ayran (yogurt drink), water, bread, salad, dessert, and tea, all included in the price. Plus, the staff is very nice.
2- ŞİŞÇİ İBO
Şişçi İbo is originally from Korkuteli, a district of Antalya. Since 1974, they have been serving şiş (shish) köfte and piyaz, along with their famous Kabak Tatlısı and Arap Kadayıfı. Know they also serve chicken kebab and Iskender şiş (shish) köfte, which is şiş köfte with a tomato sauce and yogurt.
Their piyaz was delicious, but still, I would prefer Aksu Şimşek’s. Apart from that, what I liked the most about the köfte. It was juicy and the pide (flatbread) underneath was very fresh and soft. Usually, at other köfte places, my biggest criticism is that their bread is stale and not pleasing to eat.
3- PİYAZCI SAMİ AHMET
Being one of Antalya’s oldest pizza restaurants, its history dates back to 1933. Their recipe is a family secret and is passed down from father to son, making it very special. The tahini they used wasn’t as strong and flavorful as that of Aksu Şimşek’s. So if you like a lighter piyaz, you can go for that option. They also use larger and softer beans compared to the other piyaz restaurant. Besides piyaz, they also serve Şiş Köfte, and an Antalya classic, Tahinli Kabak Tatlısı, which is a pumpkin dessert. As I only tasted the piyaz there, I will only base my comparison on this dish.
4- HASAN ANTALYA
Hasan Antalya is located near Kaleiçi, on Cumhuriyet Street. Their restaurant is placed in a little interior garden, decorated with tiny lights, giving it a nice atmosphere to have your dinner. They are most famous for their tandoori meat and piyaz. Apart from these, you can also have some şiş köfte, hibeş, which is a special meze (appetizer) of Antalya, and desserts such as Arap Kadayıfı, a crunchy fried dough filled with walnuts and cinnamon.
When compared to Aksu Şimşek’s piyaz, their tahini is less strong and nutty. As I like piyaz with a stronger tahini flavor, I prefer the Aksu Şimşek Piyaz.