Fine dining in Turkey
Do you have favorites for Turkish food in beautiful settings in Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, Cesme and elsewhere?
There are lots of options, but in general you want to stay away from the Sultanahmet area in Istanbul. Highly recommended:
1. Tike in Levent I. It has since expanded into a small chain, but the food is superb. The meze are the highlight, so order them all up. In the winter you can get cig kofte, or very spicy ground raw lamb balls that you wrap in lettuce and squeeze lemon over. yum.
2. Sunset Bar and Grill in Ulus. Great views and excellent Turkish and international food, including first rate sushi. Expensive.
3. Mede (I think that is the name), down Istiklal from Taksim square, left on the street right before McDonalds (don't stop!), and to the end. Cheap and tasty Kurdish place. Also on that street Musa Ustam used to be good. Get the Cop Sis.
On the street, don't miss the stuffed mussels.
Urfa has great food. Head to the market and eat at the stalls where they have chicken marinating in hot pepper emulsion. Great on the BBQ.
The restaurant at the Cirigan Palace Hotel is beautiful - what a view! Be sure & walk the grounds at night after dinner - but check on the cover at the bar hanging out over the Bosphorus - found out it was $25 pp after we'd ordered drinks...
On the Galeta Bridge there are seafood resturants - not cheap, but if you time it just right, you can watch the moon rise over the water and it's incredibly romantic!
Hamid, great kabob restaurant in Eminonu
Haci Abdullah, traditional Turkish, Taksim
Mavi/Yesel, for fish, on the Bosphorus, just north of
Refik, mezes, in Beyoglu
Pandeli, traditional Turkish, lunch only, the food is nothing special but the restaurants is one of the most beautiful in Istanbul, upstair in the Spice Bazaar,