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Jan 24, 2011 10:39 AM

Fine Dining in Istanbul - Decisions.

A week of dining in Istanbul and considering the following :

Ismet Baba
Balikci Sabahattin - mixed review including surly service & unispiring mezes.
Haci Abdullah - mixed review.
Zubeyir Ocakbasi
Park Samdan
Tike Kebab

Which top six would be your choice for an introduction to Turkish cuisine/culture ?

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  1. Iskele is a fine traditional fish restaurant on the water. one of the better of its sort in the city.
    Ismet Baba is the redheaded stepchild of Iskele- great fish, views, fine meze, but more neighborhood grit.
    Likewise, Tike is upscale kebab. Very nice and high quality food. A little stilted for kebab in my opinion.
    Zubeyir has more of a local, rowdy feel, as a kebab place should. but it is still quite comfortable and clean. top notch kebab for sure.
    Meze is a newish place specializing in N. Aegean cuisine. Its a smart room with great service and killer meze. It is located just across from the Pera Palace Hotel.
    Sidika is another fine restaurant without the fuss. Its also serving really good meze.
    MuzedeChanga is a great place when the terrace is open. Its not really traditional Turkish but it is quite good.
    Giritli is also significantly better in warm weather when you can sit in the garden. The food is good year-round. There are some Cretan meze on menu that you wont find anywhere else.
    I think you need a good Black Sea restaurant on the list. A lunch at Hayvore or Klemuri in Beyoglu should do the trick. For something more upscale try Pafuli. I haven't been for years but it used to be good.


    3 Replies
    1. re: antman

      Great tip on Black Sea cuisine. Definitely a lunch (hamsi) at Hayvore or Klemuri. Seems like it is hamsi time in the winter
      Re: Pafuli, written up at as a very famous restauraunt, but everything else is downhill.
      I like to end our Istanbul trip at a nice restaurant ( good food), overlooking the sea, just like in the brochure, and where I have to start making reservation immediately.
      Thank you.

      1. re: towkay

        If you are willing to make the trek to Tarabya, how about Kiyi for great seafood? It overlooks the water and is definitely a nice restaurant with regards to food (and unfortunately the price to match...)

        1. re: ngmatthe

          Unable to get to Kiyi this trip, but definitely will attempt for next visit.
          However thoroughly enjoyed Mikla (fusion),and Balikci Sabahattin ( service and food was great) to Turkish durum ( best wrap ever), accompanied by raki ( Yeni or Tekirdag gold) with most meal.
          Really excellent find in Turkey.

    2. Correction. My apologies re: Balikci Sabahattin, There was good enough selection of mezes . Fresh catch of the day , perfectly done , and because of their friendly service, went back a second time. Try their local wine. Their white is a pleasant delight for someone new to the Turkish scene.