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Nov 14, 2010 12:56 PM


Hi everyone,

I have been doing research on chow to for my upcoming trip to Istanbul. Thanks to everyone, especially antman for all of the great posts!

I will be there for four days and three nights. I don't really love fish. Here is the list I have compiled - what am I missing?

Kara Mehmet Kebap Salonu

Also, I can't wait to try many of the different street vendors. is there a website that can give me tips and what not to miss?

Thanks again!

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  1. Also please let me know if you should/could make reservations at any of the restaurants on my list. Thank you!

    3 Replies
    1. re: AnnaMB1

      It is a good idea to make reservations at Zubeyir if you are going on the weekends and the same goes for Antiochia.
      you might also want to have a pide at Fatih Karadeniz Pidecisi. Full on local experience and maybe the best pide in the city. Buryan kebab is also a good one for meat eaters. Check Istanbul Eats for the details on Siirt Seref Buryan Kebab Salonu.

        1. re: antman

          Had a great trip to Istanbul.

          Antiochia - can't miss. food was fantastic
          Zubeyir - the kebabs were great!
          Ciya - hard to find, but worth the trip. really enjoyed it

          Thanks again Antman for all of your tips!

      1. i too have been doing my research on Istanbul for an upcoming trip here and on Istanbul Eats blog (got the book too for easy reference & hours) and both have been really helpful - the breadth of information here is amazing and so great to have locals' advice.

        It's a very short trip (4 and a half days) and probably very over-scheduled (which we always seem to do as we can only get away but for short periods of time). Having read the threads and advice here, I think the list below is be pretty solid for a first (short) visit - wish we were staying longer, sigh!

        Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi
        Ciya (esp. excited for the spring specials of keme & loquats)
        one of the Grand Bazaar place for lunch - Kara Mehmet Kebab, Burç Ocakbasi or Havuzlu (in the order of preference but i guess it may also depend on which we find first and how hungry we are the the time, lol)
        Siirt Seref Buryan Kebab Salonu and possibly Fatih Karadeniz Pidecisi, if we have enough time (and stomach space) before our return flight

        any thoughts or recommendations to improve the list above? we'll be limited by time and area so places like Iskele didn't make the list (for this trip) - so may places, so little time... We will also be stopping by at bakeries, food stores (Namli), ice cream places, street carts etc. for various tastes, sandwiches, mussels, kaymak, late night stops at Durumzade, etc. and checking out a couple of wine bars/stores (Sensus, Corvus, possibly Rouge) as I'm curious to try local grapes such as Narince. By the way, any wine recommendations (grape, producer or region) are welcome as well. Thank you.

        8 Replies
        1. re: nuxvomica

          A few suggestions (if you have room):
          Maybe rather than Grifin, catch a lunch at Tarihi Karakoy Balikcisi downstairs. Its the same exact kitchen and much more fun. Grifin has great views but you can get that elsewhere.
          When at Ciya save room for a lahmacun at either Halil or Borsam (or both). Check our roundup on the subject for addresses. Ciya also makes an excellent kunefe.
          If you were planning a fish dinner at Grifin, consider Tenedos in Taksim (right across from Aya Triada. It's a new place opened by Ismail from Furreyya that has more comfortable seating that Furreyya and a wider menu. The folks from Savoy Bakery also opened a nice fish house in Cihangir called Savoy Balik. Its a good neighborhood spot with nice fresh fish.
          I suggest adding Sehzade Erzurum Cag Kebab for a quick and overwhelmingly delicious lunch in Sirkeci. If you'll visit the Spice Market and its surroundings, you can easily hop over here for a Cag kebab without much of a detour.
          On the Grand Bazaar, we've received some mixed reviews from Havuzlu. We haven't been back to confirm, so for now, I'd give it a pass.
          Hope this helps.



          1. re: antman

            thanks, Antman. this is brilliant, i just made a few changes - leaving in a couple of hours!

            if we had one more dinner to throw into the mix, what would you recommend? Hayvore? Meze? sadly can't go anywhere up north (and we're squeezing la Moulette in somewhere already)

            1. re: nuxvomica

              or just go to Tenedos?

              by the way, is sea urchin fairly easy to find at fish places? what's the season?


              1. re: nuxvomica

                Maya in Karakoy is excellent. You'll need a reservation. Hayvore is more a lunch spot and a great one. Meze is also very good. Maya gets my vote though.

                1. re: antman

                  it would be great to hear how your trip went. I am just beginning a search as i am arriving in instanbul in 2 weeks with my father and brother.
                  I am staying for 4 night, two in Beyoglu, then two on the Asian side. I would love some advice on where not to miss. We all LOVE fish, we arent fussy with any food types, and i would like turkish fare so i am not bothered about modern european cuisine or asian fusion, it would be great to mix it up , so with casual places and restaurants.
                  far from my search i like the look of the following and would love opinions on them, and whether i need to reserve a table:

                  Balikci Sabahattin
                  Galata Bridge Fish Grills
                  Korfez or Poisedon (is it worth it? i am not going with my husband so dont need a romantc experience!)


                  tarihi selim usta sultanahmet

                  are any of these places on the Asian side?

                  thanks in advance!

                  1. re: justmarried

                    We'll also be in Istanbul in June for four nights, staying in Sultanahmet. We'll already have been in Turkey for two weeks, staying in the small seaside village of Patara, so will have had a lot of home-style Turkish food. I guess I'm probably looking for something a little different in Istanbul.

                    So far I'm thinking along these lines:

                    Burç Ocakbasi in the Grand Bazaar
                    Fatih Karadenziz Pidecisi

                    Adem Baba / Ismet Baba
                    Abracadabra (is it still closed?)

                    Any other suggestions would be gratefully received. I am a big fan of Turkish mezze dishes. My other half loves grilled meat - me, not so much although I do like an adana kebab and an iskender kebab.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Hi Greedy Girl - I recognise you from the London board, I think you are a fellow South Londoner!
                      I think I have whittled my selection down to the below:

                      27th May - Zubeyir (Kebab)
                      28th - Antiochia (modern)
                      29th Saros? or Galata Fish Grills? (fish)
                      30th Ciya

                      As I only have 4 nights I want to make them count! So hope this wil be a god cross section of meals. Apparentl Abracadabra is closed.

                      Hope you enjoy it too!

                      1. re: justmarried

                        Hello justmarried. I am indeed a South Londoner - from Brixton/Herne Hill.

                        You'll be there before me, so do report back!

          2. As a local here is insider tips for best ottoman cuisine and top turkish restaurants in Istanbul,
            I would say Asitane Restaurant or Feriye Lokantasi on european side of Istanbul, and Ciya Sofrasi at the asian side of istanbul. If you would like to know the other nice options you may want to check luxuryistanbul

            1. Can you recommend a restaurant with nice atmoshpere and good Turkish food in the Beyoglu area, for a small group of 40+y olds?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Ruby1

                Hi Ruby,
                HACI ABDULLAH offers Ottoman Palace Cuisine
                Aga Camii, Atif Yilmaz Cad. (Old Sakizagaci Cad.)
                No: 9/A 80070
                Beyoglu / Istanbul

                Enjoy your Istanbul trip! If you need any help please feel free to ask,
                Luxury Istanbul

                1. re: Ruby1

                  On a recent trip to Istanbul we really enjoyed Antiochia and Meze by Lemontree. I think either would suit your purpose - Meze is a lovely intimate space right opposite the newly refurbished Pera Palace Hotel and the meze are very inventive and delicious. Antiochia is more casual and has a more limited menu.

                2. As a local I must say that most of the choices here are geared towards tourists around Sultanahmet area, and while they will give you a good idea of Turkish cuisine and serve you well, they are not necessarily the "best" places to go to.
                  You need to understand Istanbul is a huge city, and many of the places I write below might too far for you to bother.


                  Arnavutkoy will have great options. go to VIRA VIRA for a more expensive meal (depending on choice of fish and drinks it will be between 75 to 150 TRL per person). They will have all sorts of Turkish Meze and fish there. For cheaper Turkish fish restaurants you can do TAKANIK or ADEM BABA, they will be much cheaper, will have many of the fish choices except the very expensive ones, but do not serve alcohol. These two are more fast food type, so dont go there for mezes or atmosphere.

                  Unlimited amount of great kebap places in Istanbul. Develi- Yuzevler- Kosebasi- Tike are all good kebap chains with higher quality restaurant settings and many locations. look for the closest one online. They will cost 50-100 TRL per person.

                  Turkish Food and Meat restaurants:
                  Tugra in Ciragan Kempinski will be the most expensive and most Michelin-like Turkish cuisine restaurant, expect 150 TL and above depending on choices.
                  Borsa restaurant in Nisantasi or Istinye Park, Hunkar and Gelik are all good options with 50 to 100 TRL per person.
                  Beyti is by far the oldest and best meat restaurant in Turkey, think Turkish steakhouse with many Turkish specialties such as Doner. Near the airport.

                  Turkish Taverns:

                  Asmalimescit in Beyoglu area is the go to neighborhood for this and very close to Sultanahmet district. There are many choices of taverns here where you will get a choice of mezes, some meat and fish choices. In my opinion food will be generally mediocre. But the crowded tavern and drinking can be best seen here.
                  Some choices are YAKUP, ZEYTINLI, AKBABALI.

                  For street food you must try stuffed mussels that are sold on the streets. Also try fried mussels or lamb intestines KOKOREC (sounds gross but tastes amazing) . You can find them at chains like Sampiyon.

                  Do try and make it to Rumelihisari area on the Bosphorus, enjoy the view and eat a tradional Turkish breakfast. Try the Borek choices etc.

                  This is all I can think of now, let me know if you have question

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mmemch

                    Our first visit to Turkey is coming up in March and I'm happy to find this thread and thrilled to find this post. We crave hanging out with locals and eating 'their' food. We love pig intestines so am sure we'll like lamb!. Thanks.