Restaurants in Istanbul

Old Apr 18th, 2006, 08:36 AM
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Restaurants in Istanbul

I am looking for suggestions for some interesting, atmospheric places to dine in Istanbul. What was your favorite place for coffee, lunch, dinner or just people watching. Good food is important, but I am also looking for something special, not to be missed. Please state why you thought it was great.

Thanks
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 11:51 AM
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This is considered the very best restaurant in town:

Feriye Lokantasi
Çiragan Caddesi 124, Ortaköy, Istanbul, Tel. 0090-212/227 22 16

It is located directly at the Bosporos in a historic building that belonged to the Sultan's palace. In summertime, you can dine on the terrace by the water. The chef has learned Arabic to understand the historic cookbooks. He celebrates highly sophisticated traditional cuisine in a contemporary way.

We also liked eating in the restaurant of Divan Hotel at Taksim Square. They serve highly innovative Turkish cuisine in an elegant, modernistic setting. This is the favorite restaurant of the upscale locals.

Divan Oteli
Cumhuriyet Cad. No:2 Elmadağ 34437 Taksim/İstanbul
Tel: +90 212 315 55 00 / Faks: +90 212 315 55 15
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 12:05 PM
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We just returned from Istanbul on Sunday! We ate VERY well!! The food was fantastic everywhere we went though I did a lot of research--using lonely planet and the hedonist guidebooks (a great series by the way!)and on chowhound. For dinners we ate at Balikci Sabahattin, 360, and Lokanta. Lunch we ate at Hamdi (TWICE! This is a MUST), The Pudding Shop (a local institution, very convenient for the sights) and Brasserie Nistansi. 360, Lokanta, and Brasserie Nistansi are very trendy with electic menus. Lokanta and 360 also are late night drinking venues. The views from 360 were amazing--as were the bonfires they set up on the terrace! Hamdi is just out of this world. We loved the lamb with pistachio kebab, the meat with garlic kebab, and the meat with aubergine kebab. The views over the Bosphorus are gorgeous--it's very conveniently located by the Spica Bazaar. FYI, my husband and I stayed in the Sultanahmet. If I could change one thing about our trip, I would have stayed on the other side of the river, perhaps the Tepebasi. Most of the restaurants we went to in the evening were there, and the traffic is TERRIBLE in Istanbul. The taxis were cheap but short trips took ages. We were a half hour late on one night and nearly 15 minutes late the next! Aside from the traffic, I have nothing but fantastic things to say about Istanbul.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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If Victoria is writing about Hamdi et Lokantasi, I agree that this is a great place for local flavor (of both sorts) at a reasonable price. Be sure to reserve for the terrace, as the place has several floors. Kebabs are the specialty. Lots of atmosphere, extremely humourous translations of Turkish into menu English.... While the place is known to tourists, I found many of the tourists interesting in and of themselves, as they come from many countries including all over the Middle East. ..We met up with a party of Iraqi women the night we were there and had a really interesting evening.

In Nisantasi there are lots of trendy places; among the better ones for food is the upscale Hunkar, known for modern renditions of Ottoman classics but really, the food there, while excellent, is not radically different than in other places more a bit closer to most hotels and sights. Seems to be a favorite spot for well-to-do locals. That area has many cafes and trendy shops.

On Istiklal, I thought Haci Baba was very reliable for food and a pleasant, not trendy, atmosphere.

Sabahattin is good espcially if you are in Sultanahmet. You can eat outdoors under the arbors in a garden setting.....known for fish.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 12:44 PM
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Victoria and eks : Thanks for all the tips. I'll need this when I visit in October.

Any other recommendations for true local places with great food ? Doesn't have to be well appointed, just clean.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 01:00 PM
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Second the rec for Sabahattin; reserve if you want to be outside, as it is very popular.
Lipsos is another excellent seafood place that is mostly frequented by locals. It is located on Nevizade sokak, which you can reach by turning off Istiklal caddessi into Cicek pasaji (the old flower market, near Galtasaray Square) then take the first right onto Sahne sokak and the first left onto Nevizade. Lipsos is about halfway down on your right.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 01:56 PM
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I second the recommendation for that area...try to go on a weekend or late when there will more likely be live music at many places. A tremendous amount of fun.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 07:51 PM
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 12:06 AM
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There are a lot of new restaurants in Istanbul - many of them are high-end now. 360 Istanbul and Cizy (Asian side) are my favorites.

A great resource for Istanbul's restaurants and hotels is http://www.eatsleepgo.com/Turkey.html which has reviews from the major publications.
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Old Apr 20th, 2006, 06:46 PM
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What about any great cafe's for coffee or tea?
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