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Jun 19, 2009 02:42 PM

Restaurant Reviews in Instanbul?

Hi there!

Is there a notable, "objective" food critic that people trust for weekly restaurant reviews in Istanbul? Is there anyone like that, or any website like that? I'm trying to find the top Turkish food restaurant recommendations in Istanbul.

We will be on our honeymoon, and we'll be Istanbul on the anniversary of our first date - so it's a special occasion that I really want a fantastic meal for.

It doesn't have to be fancy, but it does have to be a restaurant that pays attention to fine detail, flavor pairings, and presentation. Any suggestions?


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    1. re: antman

      perfect! exactly what i was looking for. thx!

      1. re: needletoofar

        dig around in the archives a bit. you'll find a pretty eclectic mix of restaurants reviewed. not all hole in the walls but all serious local favorites.

    2. hi there,
      my name is nevzat. i'm a travel expert. Please clarify what type food you like so i can suggest you a few options.
      Sincerely, and big congratulations on your wedding!

      7 Replies
      1. re: neomundi

        Well, we're really interested in "New Turkish" cuisine, if there is such a thing - a modern take on traditional Turkish fare would be the perfect way to end our trip...IF the food is awesome. We would also be game for broader Mediterranean fare (Greek, Lebanese, Israeli, Italian) or even classic Turkish cuisine. I'm mostly interested in experiencing the best food from the most influential chefs in the Istanbul culinary scene. Thanks!

        1. re: needletoofar

          In my opinion, the best New Turkish is found at Abracadabra.
          But the same chef, Dilara Erbay, used to work at Cezayir in Beyoglu (right at the top of French street) and despite her absence they are still serving up some very good modern Turkish cuisine.
          Mikla on the top of the Marmara Pera hotel could be considered New Turkish but its quite boring and really expensive so I wouldnt recommend it.
          Abracadabra is exactly what you are looking for. Dilara is turning out some really creative dishes based on Turkish traditionals. In Turkey- a blackhole for culinary creativity and experimentation- this is remarkable.
          see more on Abracadabra:

          1. re: antman

            Antman - Abracadabra sounds right up our alley! Is it difficult to reach or far from the Sultanahmet area? What's your opinion on Ciya - of course different budget but based solely on flavor & originality of the food, what do you think? Thanks!

            1. re: needletoofar

              Depending on traffic its 30-45 mins by taxi. I suggest you ask your hotel to arrange a water taxi (from IDO) from the nearest dock to Arnavutkoy. They'll need to organize it in advance but this is the best way to get up the Bos in the summer- quick, enjoyable and probably cheaper.
              I can't praise Ciya enough. Mustafa is in a league of his own. a lunch there is a must for a grubber visiting the city.
              Unfortunately Sultanahmet is not the best for dining. I used to go to a place called Giritli which has Turko-Cretan food. I havent been in a couple of years but it used to be nice. They've got a wonderful garden at least and it is convenient if you are in the Old City. It's located right behind the Armada Hotel.
              for an inexpensive, very authentic fun dinner of kebabs we always go to Zubeyir. You can find its info on Istanbul Eats. Its in Beyoglu (closer to your hotel). For kebab in a fancier setting we go to Tike in the Levent district.
              I heard an unconfirmed rumor that the local favorite for fish, Karakoy Balikcisi has opened a terrace and is now offering dinner. this is about the best fish in town in an incredible setting right in the middle of a hardware market (Persembe Pazari). I will try to confirm this and post you the answer. this place is also closer to your hotel.

              1. re: antman

                I just read that Karakoy Balikcisi does in fact have a dinner seating now on the terrace with sweeping Old City views. It is supposedly the same kitchen (seating is upstairs from Karakoy Balikcisi) though the restaurant is called "Grifin".
                I haven't been there yet so I can't tell you for sure how their dinner service is but lunch at k'koy balikcisi is top notch. if you do eat there, please post your reactions.
                here's the contact info. you'll want to make reservations.
                Tarihi Karaköy Balıkçısı “GRIFIN”
                Tesane Caddesi, Kardeşim Sokak No:45 Karaköy
                Tel:212 243 40 80- 212 251 13 71

                1. re: antman

                  Hey Antman I'm staying in Besiktas near the Bos. Only in Istanbul for a couple days want to get to Ciya. How long is the ferry ride to Kadikoy. How much time to I need to allow for travel roundtrip (dont know how often ferries leave) eating. I'm on a tight time schedule and trying to make this happen. Thanks

                  1. re: mick

                    besiktas to kadikoy boats leave every 15 or 20 mins. more regularly in high traffic times. ive never waited more than 10 mins. ride takes about 20 mins. dock to ciya another 10 mins max (get your route sorted out before hand so you arent wandering, but its easy to find. it is on google maps). lunch can be done in 30-40 assuming you dont order kebabs (which arent really as interesting as the ready food anyway) and are assertive with the staff.