Though nominally Turkish, the restaurant also smartly plays with the flavors of the Mediterranean. In other words, the greasy döner kebab that feeds Berlin’s workers and party people is blessedly absent from the menu. Try the Imam Fainted—a zesty mix of aubergines with pine nuts and peppers, in a tomato-herb sauce. Defne also has the spiciest octopus in town, drowning in garlic and white-wine sauce and oven-baked with crumbly feta cheese. The so-called Well Brought Up Lamb skewer is charred but red-centered, and perfectly lives up to its name. Even more shocking, the service, for Berlin, is competent and caring: a waitress, when summoned, may come.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.