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Trip to Turkey two weeks in May

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My wife and I will be staying overnight(s) in Istanbul, Canakkale, Izmir,Antalya, and Cappadocia and would appreciate lunch and dinner rest recs suggestions based not only on food, but ambiance, interesting surroundings, friendliness of staff, and ease of access (I.e. not impossible to find or get to).

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  1. Hi! Hopefully this post will reach you before you go on your trip. Each time, that we have been to Istanbul, we have done a tour with Istanbul Eats. Their guides are very knowledgeable about the various cuisines in Turkey and take you to places that you would be unable to discover on your own. They are constantly changing their tours as they discover new places and old ones change. We have done 4 of their tours and would suggest either their Cosmopolitan Beyogulu tour or Old City tour. They go to approximately 8 different places where you try very different things. They do stops for coffee or tea and desserts between the stops with food so that you don't feel too full and so that you will be able to continue eating. They also let you eat as much as you want and will stop to buy something if you are curious about any food that you see along the way. All the food you consume on the tour is paid for by them. If you don't want to do a tour with them, I would suggest purchasing their guide book, Istanbul Eats. Our favourite place in Istanbul is Surt Seref Buryan Salonu. They serve traditional pit roasted lamb from the Kurdish region of Turkey. Go for lunch and order the lamb ribs or have your hotel reserve a portion of the ribs for you if you want to go for dinner. Also order the perde pilaf which is another regional specialty. It's a spiced chicken rice wrapped in pastry. We traveling right now or else I would have other info for you but I don't have access to my computer.

    We were very disappointed with the food in Cappadocia. Our guide explained to us that there isn't much of a dining out culture in Cappadocia so all the restaurants are aimed at tourists. We did a cooking class with Cappadocia Home Cooking. It was a wonderful experience though not a real cooking class. You go to a family's home and watch them cook. You do get to help out with a few things here and there like filling manti. It was great visiting someone's home and getting an idea what life is like. Plus you will get a home cooked meal. The wife and mother do all the cooking while Tolga does the translating. We wanted to try the testi kebap while we were in Cappadocia which is their regional specialty but we were told that most places just cook the stew on the stovetop and the dish it into the clay pots for presentation. We did find a place that said that they slow cook it in the oven all day but I can't remember the name of the restaurant which was recommended by our hotel. It looked like a tourist trap and had nothing Turkish on the menu but our hotel had called ahead and our concierge assured us they had good testi kebap. We ordered the testi kebap and manti off menu and they gave it to us.

    We stayed in Cesme in Izmir and have food suggestions there. Where will you be staying?

    1 Reply
    1. re: kawainekko

      Hello-
      I just read your post and am in Turkey now. Thank you for the detailed recommendations to the other poster. Have read Istanbul Eats and was planning on a tour - will go with one of your recos.

      Would appreciate suggestions/input from you (or anyone reading):
      In Bodrom now - any suggestions for lunch or dinner? Going to Mizoma for seafood.
      In Cappadocia - received reco from our tour guide- Ziggy's Restaurant, Sukruogullari Restaurant and Somine Restaurant in Urgup near our hotel. Sounds like this won't be our best eating experience of trip.
      In Istanbul -have six days/nights. had the following suggestions-
      Ulus 29 for drink and /or dinner.
      Ciya
      Antiochia
      Zubeyir for kebab
      And those above from you.

      In Istanbul we'd like some of the "best food in town" that is both traditional and modern Turkish and regional specialities.

      I will continue reading and will be back with more specific questions. Wanted to get this out in the meantime.
      Thanks!