Good food near Istanbul Grand Bazaar?
My wife and I will be traveling to Istanbul in a couple of weeks. Our itinerary brings us to the Grand Bazaar for about half a day. Where can we find good eats in or nearby? What kinds of prices can we expect? We like seafood and lamb a lot.
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We had a very good and interesting meal last year at Pandeli, on the first floor of the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian bazaar). It is a short walk from the Grand Bazaar, and less confusing! OK, it is expensive in Turkish terms, but their fish in papillote is so fantastic that my wife has been trying to reproduce the recipe ever since! The starters were good and varied too and we were the only foreigners that day. Lunch only... http://www.pandeli.com.tr/ and in every guide too.
I am afraid you are in a tiny minority of people who have had good experiences at Pandeli. It is generally known in Istanbul as a tourist trap. My experiences there are marked by extreme inconsistency, poor service, padded bills and often soso food.
On the subject of sea bass in paper (kagitta levrek), I think there is no better place in town than Tarihi Karakoy Balikcisi in Karakoy. It is also not cheap but extremely reliable and offers a great excuse to wander around the Persembe Pazari hardware market.
I guess we were lucky on our too short visit! We were with some restaurateurs from Istanbul, like us members of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, and were introduced to the chef, so it probably helped. Service was pretty good too for the same reason. And the location and decoration are quite nice.So sometimes tourist traps can have their charms too (like Dysneyland :o).
Could you tell me what exactly is the paper used to make the kagitta levrek? We took some samples from the restaurant and tried a lot, but have never found quite the same.