This may be asking to sacrilege, but I'm hoping some of the folks her might have some unusual recommendations for Istanbul.
We have an extended layover in Istanbul (2.5 days) planned for mid-April. This will be our second time (not just connecting at the airport). The last time, we stayed for over a week, and hit up the usual recommendations, like the fish restaurants, kebabs, etc. Two really memorable meals were the full-day cooking class we did and also Tugra at the Kempinski (pricey but totally worth it).
The thing is, now we live in the Middle East. This will be our layover on our way back to North America for a much-needed break. Baklava, lokum, plus the above, as the usual Turkish foods are great, but not really our pace this time around.
I have a long list of recommendation for folks who are tired of Middle Eastern cooking in my own city, but I'm coming up a bit blank for Istanbul. While I realize most people go to Turkey for Turkish food, does anybody have any outliers they can recommend?