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GREAT FOOD IN ISTANBUL?

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Hi all, I will be traveling to Istanbul for 4 days and would really love some great food recommendations. We are college students, so on a budget, but willing to pay more for exceptional food. I'm particularly interested in kebab places, yummy street food, seafood places, and the opportunity to try all types of local cuisine. Thank you so much for any responses!!!

Also, any reviews of the popularly mentioned restaurants currently on the chowhound board would be appreciated as well.

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  1. Hi Stephanie,

    For kebap, you may try Hamdi Restaurant www.hamdirestorant.com.tr at eminönü, develi restauran www.develikebap.com at samatya, but these resaurants are not cheap. You have to pay 40-50 USD/person starters+salad+kebap+wine

    This season is ideal for sea food, but fish restaurant serving alcohol are expensive, instead you may try fish restaurant that are not serving alcohol

    In Arnavutköy district you may try Adembaba, Takanik you will find fresh and cheap fish at these restaurants.You should eat fish like Lüfer, çinekop.

    In additon to above you may try ottoman cusine Kanaat restaurant at uskudar, and Hacı Abdullah at istiklal street

    Also for turkish tapas, Refik, Yakup 2, Cavit are good choices(not cheap as well)

    1 Reply
    1. re: sabamor

      I would not recommend Hamdi. I've had too many tourist trap experiences there over the years- overcharging, etc. Hamdi, for some reason, is in every guide book and I think they've become comfortable with that and reduced quality and particularly service. For a good local kebab place I recommend Zubeyir. The folks there are wonderful. Sit right at the grill if you can handle the heat.
      inexpensive fresh fish with drinks can be had down in the Karakoy fish market. I had a couple of drinks and an extremely fresh grilled blue fish and a salad there last week for ~25 USD. I suggest Akin Balik down there. For upscale and pricey fish in the same area with a spectacular view go to Grifin.
      Adembaba for a fish lunch is hard to beat.
      Another good place for meze is Sofyali 9, and Antiochia for something a bit different.

    2. Locate Hocapasa street on your map of Istanbul, and head there for a wonderful variety and quality of "local" food. One could spend 4 days eating in the restaurants along that street and not sample them all. It's a block or two walk from the Sirkeci railway station and Topkapi Place close to Sultanahmet. I hope you enjoy Istanbul as much as I did in
      August/September this year.

      More about Hocapasa: http://tinyurl.com/yky7nxw

      1 Reply
      1. re: gomexico

        I would stay away from the really touristy restaurants in Sultanahmet and surrounding areas. Taksim isn't too bad. It's a little touristy, but there are a lot of restaurants along Istiklal and maybe of them have decent prices. The food is good too. Just don't let the waiters talk you into the big mixed kebap plates - those are usually really expensive. Konak is a decently-priced chain, and you can explore the side streets and find tasty things like börek and gözeleme ın addıtıon to kebap. There are some cafeteria-style places too, where you can just go in and point at what you want. Everything is individually priced, but the prices are still relatively low. You can get a good meal for 25 TL or less. I think a lot of tourists come to where I live, in Sarıyer, because of the fish restaurants, but it's really far from Sultanahmet and the other tourist destinations.