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Aug 10, 2009 01:55 PM

Istanbul Restaurant on the Bosphorous

Visiting Istanbul in a couple weeks and looking for a dinner spot off the Bosphorous. My plan is to take one of the commuter ferries up-river, which is a lovely trip, and get off somewhere for dinner. I've made reservations at Muzadechanga, but I think it's too difficult to get to/fro and ideally looking for someplace less expensive. Any thoughts? I'm traveling with my parents who are definitely not into the "scene", i.e., Reina and co. will not be enjoyable for them. Thanks.

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  1. For a comfortable very authentic fish dinner right on the water try Ismet Baba in Kuzguncuk (Asian side). I love it there. Its got a very old-style neighborhoody feel and reliably good food.
    here's a link to a review of Ismet Baba:
    For something a bit less formal and a bit more contemporary see the chatter about Abracadabra. The food really is excellent and its not too far up the Bos (Arnavutkoy) and much less expensive than MuzedeChanga.
    Also, one of the better fish lunch spots just opened a terrace overlooking the Old City and Golden Horn. Its right in Karakoy in the Persembe Pazari. The place is called Grifin and it supposedly has the same kitchen as the lunch spot, Tarihi Karakoy Balikcisi. Depending on where you are staying this might be more convenient.

    4 Replies
    1. re: antman

      Thank you! Abracadabra looks great. I assume Arnavutkoy is accessible by the ferry?

      A friend recommended a lunch spot located in the back of the Karakoy Fish Market...
      Do you know it?

      1. re: Hungry Karen

        you can get to Arnavutkoy with a boat but taxi via the coastal road is easy. IDO just started a water taxi but you have to organize it in advance. check their website for more details (in English).
        from the dive spots in karakoy i prefer Akin Balik but that is possibly out of habit. I have eaten at Furran and the food was just about the same as Akin. its hard to go wrong with those places. Akin serves alcohol though, I am not sure if Furran does.
        just up the hill right by the Galata tower is a place called Furreyya which has an incredible Fish wrap on a toasted lavash with caramelized onions and pomegranate extract. thats an incredible quick snack.

          1. re: Hungry Karen

            does who take reservations?
            Abracadabra? yes.
            Grifin? yes.

    2. I just had dinner at Musadechanga on Sunday evening. It is easy to get a taxi to and from the museum. When you are ready to depart just ask them to call you a cab and they will have it waiting at the entrance where the shuttle drops you off. The view is beautiful, the waitstaff attentive, english speaking and wine knowledgable The food was great, and if you didn't know better you would have thought you were in Manhattan. For something a little more authentically Turkish you might try Yesil Ev ( It is in one of the wooden mansions with a wonderful garden setting. While the location is in the tourist area, this place is far from being a tourist destination - not as continental as Muzadechanga - but wonderful none the less.

      1. If you take the tram to where you can see the Dolmabace Mosque...walk down by the mosque and the bridge and there's a ton of tea gardens and restaurants there that are on the water. It's nice in the evening with the mosque lit up. You can get chi cha and some tea, or a wine. I can't vouch for the food since we hung out there late at night, but it was a great place to relax.

        1. Karen,

          IDO is now offering water taxi services in Istanbul. If you make reservations in advance they will take you form the nearest dock to wherever you are headed.
          call +90 212 444 4436
          They have English language folks there.
          If MuzedeChanga is a bit of a stretch, try Ismet Baba in Kuzguncuk. I've been going there for years and was never let down. It's an old neighborhood fish house that is quite reasonably priced. Its got more of a local feeling and where they lack in elegance they make up for in view and good food. Note, its cash only. If you go by water taxi you can get off right next to the restaurant at the Kuzguncuk dock. the Restaurant is right on the water.

          1 Reply
          1. re: antman

            Abracadabra is not all that. In fact, it is consistently disappointing. I would suggest heading a bit further up the Bosphorus to Iskele at Rumeli Hisari. The mezes are wonderful, the fish is excellent, and it is right on the water (unlike Abracadabra, which is on the road). There are plenty of buses from Kabatas and Besiktas to Rumeli Hisari, tho it will take forever on the weekends. A taxi that taked the inland rather than the sea route is preferable in that case. Keep it in mind for your next trip, Hungry_Karen!