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Sunday Lunch near Hagia Sophia, ISTANBUL

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Hi everyone, we're in Istanbul for a weekend and one of our tours is on a Sunday. Any suggestions as to where to have lunch in Sultanahmet near Hagia Sophia? We're looking for something light as have a booking for Meze by Lemon Tree that evening.

Is Matbah worthwhile or will it just be packed with tourists?
What's the absolute standout kofte nearby?
Any lokanta that may be open on a Sunday?

Thanks in advance for your help and recommendations. Turkey is delicious (pardon the pun), can't wait to go back.

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  1. I can't give you the name but I can direct you there. Come out of HS and bear right along the streetcar line. Don't stop at the first kofte place but a couple of store fronts up. It's more old school, wood, etc. I was referred there by a friend who was born in Istanbul and visits regularly because his mother still lives there. Excellent.

    6 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      thanks c oliver, just google mapped it, could it be
      Tarihi Sultanahmet Koftecisi Selim Usta?

      1. re: janixes

        I'll look at my pix tomorrow and try to narrow it down. My friend calls it "SULTANAHMET KĂ–FTECISI" but it seems like the first one you pass has a similar name.

        1. re: c oliver

          thank you so much, I just came across a discussion on tripadvisor about which is the legitimate one, so confirmation from you would be optimal, so excited, thanks!

          1. re: janixes

            We ate at both but the one just a few doors up from the first one you come to is better.

            1. re: janixes

              For some odd and scary reason I'm not finding my Turkey pix. But here's the google images that show the real deal. The other one is much more casual, for lack of a better word. There will be no doubt in your mind. Promise. And H. Sophia is wonderful. I probably like it even more than the Blue Mosque. Probably because of its history. You'll enjoy both, I'm sure.

              https://www.google.com/search?q=SULTA...

              1. re: c oliver

                Awesome, thanks for the photo! It is Tarihi Sulltanahmet Koftecisi - Selim Usta ... Since 1920! Wooohoo. Hagia Sophia is top of my list, I agree with you, the historical significance really resonates with me. Thanks for taking the time to reply and also for sharing your photos.

      2. Recommend that kofte place as well. The resto l really liked was two stops back from HS on tram but do not remember name.
        The most important thing you should hit is not food but Turkish towels. Name of the store is Jennifer's hamam and from Hagia Sophia walk towards the blue mosque and follow signs for the tile museum. It will lead to Jennifer's hamam on the only street in Turkey where high quality goods are available without being constantly pestered by vendors.
        These cotton towels, linen bed covers, and bamboo scarves are expensive but will last generations. They even give you a large zipper bag to carry them. While expensive they are less than half the price for the few items sold on Amazon of hers. It is her weavers and hers alone.
        She is on Arasta Bazaar and is wonderful.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          Excellent, thank you very much, especially for the shopping tip. I'm marking Arasta Bazaar as an essential stop. Cheers!