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Oct 13, 2009 05:53 PM

Istanbul in November

I have one night in Istanbul and am lucky for a great dinner. It does not have to be a fancy formal location, but am hoping to find a place that is a place that locals go to and that tourists are not the norm. Would like this restaurant to give us a sense of some of what turkish food can be. maybe that is too much for just one dinning establishment, but would be open to what others have to suggest.

Suggestions that I have received to date are:


any thoughts on these?


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  1. Despite its noble efforts at recreating "Ottoman" cuisine Asitane falls short. It should be interesting but just isn't, probably due to a lack of interest in the place and its awkward location. You will probably be the only person in the place, or it will be swamped with a big group of tourists.
    Pandeli has a magical location and little else. Over several meals there I've always wondered why they didnt put a bit more effort into the menu and the service. Answer: because they dont have to. They've got location.
    Abracadabra is a great place. one of my favorite places, in fact. Local and hip with a spectacular menu but maybe not the best pick for one night in Istanbul. The menu here is a bit too fusiony to really represent Turkish.
    I recommend a dinner at a top fish house. November is a good month for fish in Istanbul. At any good fish restaurant you'll get to try several traditional meze, then the hot starters before top notch fish. There's no shortage of debate on the subject of where to eat fish in Istanbul. My latest favorite is Grifin in Karakoy. Its the nighttime incarnation of the Tarihi Karakoy Balikcisi (quite well known fish lunch spot). Perfect fish dinner. You will have no regrets. Also one of the better views in town.
    here's the contact info. you'll want to make reservations.
    Tarihi Karaköy Balıkçısı “GRIFIN”
    Tersane Caddesi, Kardeşim Sokak No:45 Karaköy
    Tel:212 243 40 80- 212 251 13 71

    5 Replies
    1. re: antman

      Tarihi Karaköy Balıkçısı “GRIFIN” sounds great. Thanks for the suggestion. I didn't find a website where I could request a reservation online for the restaurant. Is English spoken there in order for me to make a reservation over the phone?

      1. re: stpaulkyle

        you could try. they might speak english.
        are you staying at a hotel? you should ask someone there to make the reservation for you. otherwise, i'll do it for you. let me know what time you want to sit down.

        1. re: antman

          Thank you so much for your offer. I did try to call Grifin to make a reservation, but it was very comical. The very pleasant woman tried her best to understand me and I tried valiantly to communicate, but I think I failed. If you could help your generous offer of help would be much appreciated. I am hoping to make a reservation for Friday, November 13 at 8:30 pm for 2 people. The reservation would be under Kyle Fitzwater. My phone would be 612-749-1312 (not sure what the country code would be) although I am not sure if I will have my phone with me.

          A couple of questions about the restaurant:

          Is it cash only or do they take credit cards ?

          What the is appropriate dining attire? Is the restaurant casual or should we dress for dinner?

          Please confirm back if you are able to make the reservation.

          Thanks in Advance.


          1. re: stpaulkyle

            I got you the reservation. They take credit card.
            Dress is not too formal but not too casual, meaning no jacket required.
            It's a wonderful place. I hope you enjoy it.
            Here is a link to a recent review. It is also marked on google maps.
            The sister restaurant (in the same building) Tarihi Karakoy Balikcisi is fairly well-known. New York Times wrote them up a while ago.

            1. re: antman

              Thank You Thank You Thank You. I am so looking forward to my visit in Istanbul. Your graciousness is appreciated!

    2. Pandeli is very famous but not in my list of top 10 restaurants in istanbul.
      Haci Abdullah,
      these places are the ones I like to go...
      for other places of interest you can contact me at