Please recommend restaurants in Istanbul

Old Jan 22nd, 2010, 06:42 AM
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Please recommend restaurants in Istanbul

We will be in Istanbul for one week in March. Please post names/locations/prices of places where you enjoyed eating lunch and dinner.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2010, 08:39 AM
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I've mentioned a few restaurants in my trip report. Click on my name and you should be able to connect to that report.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2010, 11:16 AM
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what kind of food do you like?

volume, price, setting, creativity, tradition, meat, fish, veg, chicken, mediterranean, home cooking, kebabs, presentation, good wine, view, people watching, non-touristy, with music, ........?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2010, 12:10 PM
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You may want to get on the website www.chowhound.com. There are headings for the US regional areas and also international. I the heading you want is TURKEY-GREECE. Just click on that heading and look for your topic.There is a contributor named antman who seems to know quite a bit about Istanbul restaurants. I have not personally gone to any of his recommendations, but I intend to when I am in Istanbul in May.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2010, 01:47 PM
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Oh Bourdain just had a new Istanbul episode this week - I wonder if it's available on Travel Channel?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2010, 07:53 PM
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Hi Ignutah. We spent 3 weeks in Turkey last May. We ate at lots of nice places in Istanbul but two restaurants in particular stand out. One day we ate lunch at Cimberlitas in Ortakoy, not far from the centre of Istanbul. The manager suggested we grill half our sea bass and try the other half baked in a tomato and pepper based sauce. We're glad we accepted his recommendation ... it was sooo good. Unfortunately I didn't take note of the price but I remember thinking it was reasonably priced. The service was also great.

The other restaurant, the Albura, was recommended by Tom Brosnahan of Turkey Travel Planner. The Albura is a bistro which serves Turkish fusion cuisine. It's an easy walk from the Arasta Bazaar on Akbiyik Caddesi. We ordered 3 mezzes: hummus, a hot spinach salad with pistachios and pine nuts and a mushroom cheese dish ... all delicious. The main course of lamb stuffed with rice and pistaccios (an old Ottoman recipe I believe) was fantastic. For dessert we treated ourselves to a chocolate souffle with ice cream. We also shared a great bottle of Angorra wine. The meal came to 130 lira which we thought was more than reasonable. The food and service were excellent and it was a very pleasant and memorable way to end our last evening in Turkey. Hope this helps. Enjoy your holiday!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 04:48 AM
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Oh, and one other thing, Ignutah, you will only get touristy restaurants at locations near the historic sites when you post on these threads.

you really have to post differently to get the local gourmet recommendations.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 04:59 AM
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On a trip to Istanbul last May, my wife and I had good, inexpensive meals at Tamara, Buhara 93, at a cafe just outside the Arasta Bazaar, and at The Pudding Shop. All are in Sultanahmet, and the first three are close to the Blue Mosque.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 07:44 AM
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Forgot to mention another site which you all might be familiar with- http://istanbuleats.com/ I love good food and I am so looking forward to the treats that Turkey holds!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 06:28 PM
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otherchelebi---good question from Jan 22-Here goes!
volume: we prefer smaller amounts of food at one time
price: budget to moderate
setting: informal
creativity: Yes, but traditional foods fit the bill
tradition: see above
Meat, fish, chicken, veg, etc: Variety is the spice of life
Wine: not interested
View: what's on my plate is more important than what I see out the window, I actually prefer "atmosphere"-ie, locals eating in the place, setting should represent the locale
Music: if representative of the region's history
Non touristy: almost a requirement
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 05:13 AM
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Thanks for the information Ignutah.

If 'non touristy' is almost a requirement, you may need to travel a bit sometimes. i will try to suggest restaurants which have reasonably good public transportation access:

- Bursa Garaj, for excellent iskender kebap. serves almost nothing else, except lentil soup and maybe salad. also has excellent free pickles. Take Metro to Levent. Come out across from Metro City or Canyon mall. Walk on main street to your left in the further direction, till you come to light. Turn right. Cross street at the end (T junction), it is on your right.

- Set Kebap, for very good Urfa or Adana kebap, also made with chicken meat. Again the same Metro station, take immediate side street at the metro station across from Metro City. Go to end (T junction) turn right and then second left at lights on main Nisbetiye Street, against the traffic. It is on your left about 300 feet.

- Ismet Baba, fish restaurant (will only take cash) at Kuzguncuk. Take boat from Eminonu to Uskudar and bus or taxi to the next stop on the Bosphorus. It is to the right of the old ferryboat landing.

- Savoy balik, fish restaurant at Siraselviler street, Cihangir. Walk down Siraselviler from Taksim Square, past the big the two hospitals across from each other to a large parking lot on your left (400 meters or so) restaurant next to and back of the parking lot.

- Savoy Patisserie, at the corner of the street next to the parking lot above, excellent sweet and salty patissery choices, and breakfasts.

- Any fish restaurant at Nevizade Street, parallel to Istiklal, entrance through one of the streets across from Galatasaray Highschool with the imposing gate midway down Istiklal.

- Yildiz Restaurant, traditional Turkish hot plate and home cooking at Astoria Mall, close to Gayrettepe Metro Station (the one before Levent) Come out Buyukdere Caddesi, turn back towards direction you came, on your right.

- Husrev, traditional beans, Same Metro, make same turn but turn left at traffic lights before you come to Astoria Mall. Follow street, and underpass to the next set of lights, turn left after you cross, on your right, some 150 feet.

-Ali Baba, Meatballs, at Arnavutkoy, on the Bosphorus. Take bus or taxi after end of tram line at Kabatas.
Also has a fish restaurant nearby for very reasonable fish.
- Girandola, ice cream, not cheap, but the best icecream in istanbul, also at Arnavutkoy, further up from the Ali Baba restaurants, on the coast road.

- Kanaat Restaurant, at Uskudar, take ferry or motor from Eminonu, go directly across square and take the major road to your left after the mosque (not the coast road). It is across from you just past the curve of the road. Has excellent hot plate and home cooking specialties, and the biggest selection in all of Turkey.

Ciya Restaurant, at Kadikoy. take ferryboat from Eminonu, Cross the square, walk up the pedestrian only street, second or third street on your right. Has kebap restaurant which is OK, but also the traditional Southeast Syriani cooking with fruit sours which are very special.
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 05:50 AM
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Wow! Thank you very much. I will print this out and take it with me.
Kisses from America.
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 12:22 AM
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Ignatuh,

Adem Baba in Arnavutkoy for a fish lunch. on sundays dont miss the soup. the skewered and grilled sole is a favorite. full lunch 20-30/person.
Antiochia in Tunel/Beyoglu for Hatay cuisine. get the mixed meze plate and a durum. (full dinner with a beer 30tl/person).
Cukur Meyhanesi in Galatasaray. excellent everything. Get the celery in strained yogurt meze, liver and grilled sardines. (20-30/person with a raki)
Ozsut in Karakoy for kaymak (clotted cream) in honey for breakfast. get a glass of warm water buffalo milk on the side. heavenly. (5-10 tl/person)
these are places that i have tried from istanbuleats.com
the site was mentioned above. really good honest reviews.
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 12:48 AM
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Hi

Is there more than one Yildiz Restaurant? We ate in one at Sultanahmet. Well I think that was the name of it. The desk clerk at our hotel (Hanedan) recommended it. Here is a map - http://www.hanedanhotel.com/location.htm. Walk past the Hanedan maybe 300m down Adiye Sokak towards the seaside. It's on your left. Excellent Turkish cuisine in an atmospheric setting. Inexpensive too. Watch locals smoke their Narghiles and play backgammon.

Try Tarihi Sultanahmet Koftecisi 12 Divanyolu Caddesi 12/A Sultanahmet. Located at Sultanhmet Square. Great meatballs! Traditional food. Cheap!

Green Corner Cafe on Alemdar Caddesi. Opposite the exit of the cistern. Good Turkish options in a lovely garden setting at inexpensive prices. Great burger and fries too!
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 06:01 AM
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One of our favorites was Sofyali 9 in the hip Beyoglu neighborhood--traditional mezes (small plates) and very delicious and reasonably priced. Always crowded. Another good meal was at Hamdi near the main dock on the Sultanahmet side of the river. Their kebabs were very good, and it's a good place to try raki (the super popular anise-flavored liquor). More info and pics at http://patrinadoestheglobe.blogspot.com/
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 07:24 AM
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Definitely go to Galata House near the Galata Tower. It's not just the good food that won me over, it's the whole experience of eating in someone's home while they entertain you with music and stories of their lives in Istanbul. Amazing experience. Info: http://www.visitingeu.com/turkey/200...-istanbul.html
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 10:35 AM
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in response to Katrinab above: I agree with you on Sofyali 9. Always reliable for a good comfortable lively dinner. However, I strongly discourage anyone from setting foot in Hamdi. It is overpriced and very unreliable. I suspect they have grown comfortable from being mentioned in all of the guide books which i suspect take each other's recommendations rather than seeking out truly excellent, unique places. In place of Hamdi, I'd go to Zubeyir in Beyoglu. This is great kebab in a more local atmosphere.
And in response to amazingview, also above: Galata House near the tower might have its charm but the food is NOT good. This place claims to have Georgian food but, in fact, about ten years ago they had a Georgian women cooking in the kitchen who added a couple of Georgian recipes to the menu. then she left and they never changed the menu. the problem being that whoever is in the kitchen now doesnt know Georgian food from Texas BBQ. I'd keep away from there too. But, alas, there is not good Georgian food in Istanbul. The closest you'll find are Caucasian specialties at Ficcin just off of Istiklal Caddesi.
I am not trying to be a wet blanket on other posters. Just trying to keep the board better informed.
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 01:20 PM
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Hamdi has such a wonderful view and also very good service, that you can forgive them their average quality food. Although their Gavur Dag salad is quite good.

I also find Hamdi's kebabs more suitable to the newcomers' tastes, being low in transfats. True, a Turk from Adana or Antep would find them lacking, but an authentic Adana kebap would be considered too fatty by a western tourist.

We live in istanbul and ate at Hamdi, for the view, just yesterday, and it was definitely not overpriced. Today, we ate a hole in the wall meatball place, Filibe Koftecisi in Tahtakale, although very delicious did not even give us knives until we asked and also cost 37TL for two.

Here's the link to our short Iznik round trip, ending at Hamdi restaurant with photographs taken from Hamdi.

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredi...fUQ&feat=email
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 01:38 PM
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Dear otherchelebi,
i respect your opinion on Hamdi and will return but I strongly disagree with your reasoning on why "newcomers" might prefer the place.
Many travelers have pretty sophisticated tastes and dining experiences. They come to Turkey to dig deep into the food culture not to try a "beginners" kebab.
It is just this sort of mentality which steers so many visitors away from the real "damak tadi" that they search for and into tired old tourist restaurants.
This is the mentality that visitors often encounter when they ask for a recommendation at a hotel. They say, "where can we find authentic Turkish cuisine?" and rather than answering the question, the concierge- with no knowledge of the customer- thinks, "I should recommend a famous tourist restaurant, that will be suitable for these foreign visitors."
This is extremely frustrating for most people looking for the real thing, fatty meat and all.
Istanbul is filled with ultra-authentic, very interesting, non-touristy, local places that are rarely talked about. Forums like this one are a great place to break into this topic.
So lets drop all preconceived notions about what is "suitable to newcomers' tastes" and talk about those hidden gems that are the real fruit of travel.
I bet you have some great recommendations for good local places who care less about decor/view and focus strictly on the food. I hope you'll share those with us all.
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Old Jan 27th, 2010, 01:21 AM
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Dear Istanbulac, you are either trolling or have difficulty understanding my poor English. Please let me enjoy less authentic but less fatty and less cholestrol meats and mention them. If you also had any interest on the subject of food, you would have looked at my former posts on the subject.
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