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Istanbul: Fine Dining, Brunch/Lunch and Meyhane suggestions for 3 fun adults?

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I'm off to Istanbul for the first time in two weeks. I've been trying to read up on good restaurants, but any advice from locals would be GREATLY appreciated!

We're staying at the Celal Sultan Hotel in Sultanhamet but we're willing to cab it anywhere! We're a big fun, drinking bunch so atmosphere is almost as important as the food. We're looking for one fine dining option (360?), one Meyhane, and another suggestion so let me know where we positively can't miss!

Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions, I'll report back after my trip!

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  1. Last year I lived in Istanbul and spent my 30th birthday at 360--it was perfect! The view is unreal, the food is great, and they open the terrace for more drinks and often live music. Also Mikla (on the top of the Marmara Pera Hotel) is fantastic. I am pressed to pick one favorite meyhane, as I enjoyed almost every experience at these lively restaurants--perhaps Sofyali for food or Mesrutiyet for locals breaking into song after too much raki. In general, I found the food and atmosphere in Beyoglu much more exciting than in Sultanhamet (but it is not far at all). Have a wonderful trip!

    1. Imroz on Nevishir street (tiny street full of meyhanes near Istiklal, it will be mentioned in Time Out) is a mezes restaurant I still dream of. Everything is really delicious there.

      Doga Balik is a fantastic seafood place in Cihangir. A bit fancier, with gorgeous views of the city and an almost TOO-attentive, polite staff. You choose your fish from the various catches of the day for very simple preparations, and choose the mezes from a case.

      Ciya Sofrasi, on the Asian side (Kadikoy), is an absolute do-not-miss. Featuring foods from other parts of the country (mainly southern), all impeccably prepared, with again, and amazingly sweet staff.

      Also DO NOT MISS Mado! If you are an ice cream lover you will be in heaven.