The dish culture of Istanbul that served as a capital city to many empires for centuries and hosted plenty of civilizations throughout the history is quite vivid and cosmopolite in parallel to the city’s deep background. While you can discover a very distinctive flavor from the Turkish cuisine, a dish prepared by a restaurant, following the style of global cuisines, or doner in half a loaf of bread that you bolt on your way leaves an unforgettable taste in your palate. Then without losing any time let’s set out a merry travel to the places of taste in Istanbul.
Of course, the same thing is valid for the night life of Istanbul that is considered to be town living for 7/24. Accommodating numerous places of amusement appealing to every musical delight and budget, Istanbul promises you an unlimited entertainment.
Starting the day…
Those wishing to start the day with a fine breakfast in Istanbul may prefer the cafés, patisseries or historical pastry shops along the Bosphorus coast. You can build up a satisfying menu with su böreğı (Layers of fib pastry baked with cheese or meat filling), pastry filled with meat or cheese, a crunchy simit (ring-shaped bread covered with sesame seeds) or poğaça (a flaky pastry) in accompaniment with a hot tea. If you desire, you can also have a rich Turkish breakfast composed of honey, cream, white cheese, olive and other delicatessen products offered in many restaurants.
After long walks and sightseeing it is now noon time and you are very hungry. We have abundant suggestions at this point… Your time is limited but you wish to taste something traditional, then we have a satisfying and at the same time an affordable choice: Döner, lahmacun, köfte; served in portion or in bread… Besides you can find a buffet or restaurant at around every corner of Istanbul where you can gobble these tasty foods.
Kebab is so delicious that you cannot get enough of it!
If the fast food style is not for you, you can try the traditional flavors of the Turkish cuisine. Restaurants where you can find special Turkish dishes such as haricot bean, rice, tas kebabı (lamb stew with vegetables), karnıyarık (dish made of eggplant stuffed with ground meat), etli dolma (vegetables stuffed with meat), hünkârbeğendi (a meat dish made with puréed eggplant) are abundant in number. You can see and choose between the preliminarily prepared dishes through the display windows of these places that are publicly called as “bol kepçe/guilds.
Of course, the most reputable foods among the Turkish tastes are undoubtedly our kebabs. You can try very different kinds of Turkish kebabs served both in meat restaurants and in places publicly called “ocakbaşı (fireside)”. The Urfa and Adana kebab prepared with minced meat, shish kebab and kebabs with vegetable supplements stand among highly-consumed kebabs. Salads or appetizers served in accompaniment with the kebab may turn your lunch into a lavish meal.
Turkey is a Mediterranean country… So, you can find the intensive influence of the Mediterranean wind on the Turkish cuisine. Those admiring the Mediterranean cuisine should absolutely try the dishes cooked in olive oil such as stuffed vegetable in olive oil, yaprak sarması (a food made by wrapping a grape or cabbage leaf around a bit of stuffing), green beans in olive oil, artichoke in olive oil and Barbunya Pilaki (Red Beans with Potato and Carrots in Olive Oil).
If you desire to gobble something light and then sip your coffee, we recommend you the stylish cafés in Nişantaşı, Beyoğlu or Kadıköy…
Who says no to a delightful break at nightfall! Then escape to the Beşiktaş, Ortaköy or in the Anatolian side to one of the teagardens in Kadıköy pier or Moda for five-o’clock-tea, and enjoy your well-steeped tea in thin elegant cup in accompaniment with the marvelous sea view.
Your voyage of taste proceeds with dinner
Sunset has a distinctive charm in Istanbul… The streets, avenues and roads get crowded. While the employed are in a hurry to get to home, some plan to spend a nice night. As usual a fine dinner, several cups of drink and maybe dance…
You can prefer to have your dinner at a restaurant on the edge of Bosphorus or restaurants especially located in Etiler, Kumkapı, New Galata Bridge and Beyoğlu that serve traditional Turkish dishes, or you can go to classical Turkish pubs.
In the city embracing the two continents, do not forget the places offering around all examples of world cuisines. Especially in the Kadıköy, Bağdat Street, Beyoğlu, Maslak, Levent, Etiler and Nişantaşı regions, it is possible to come across restaurants offering all examples of global tastes.
The inseparable couple: raki and fish
How about enjoying fish while inhaling the sea odor? You can find plenty of alternatives in the region where fish restaurants are clustered around.
There are numerous fish restaurants in Kumkapı or along the Sarıyer-Tarabya route in the Bosphorus line. As to the Anatolian side, Çengelköy, Anatolian Grove, Beylerbeyi and Adalar are golden landmarks for a real rakı-fish delight…
While picking up fish, take care in choosing the seasonal fish and prefer especially sea fish. And note that you can examine fish showcased in the display window of many restaurants and pick up the one you like most. But if you refer to our opinion, we highly recommend bluefish, bonito, gilthead seabream, whiting and mackerel. And especially anchovy, a petty but a very tasty fish… In accompaniment with fried mussels, squid, shrimp and seasonal salads.
Sweet goes well after fish… Our recommendation is ekmek kadayifi (crumpets in thick syrup) with cream on it or buttery baklava…
When anyone talks about fish, the first thing that comes to the mind is rakı and, eventually the pubs… In pubs where the Greek, Armenian and Ottoman appetizers are enjoyed in accompaniment with rakı and considered to be a common culture of communities living in Istanbul, you can enjoy appetizers that are remarkable highlights of this cuisine. Especially accompanied with violin and clarinet-playing musicians on your sumptuous table…
If you do not expect too much, you can find the above all in the pubs located in the Çiçek Pasajı and Nevizade Street in Kumpakı and Beyoğlu.
First, your rakı is served accompanied with the fragrant anise odor, then the appetizers: spicy paste, haydari (a spread made of yogurt seasoned with garlic), fried eggplant, barbunya pilaki (Red Beans with Potato and Carrots in Olive Oil), salted and dried mackerel, shrimp cocktail and here are the foremost hot appetizers: Fried Filo Pastry Rolls, Fried fib pastry filled with cheese, liver, meatballs stuffed with cracked wheat… After enjoying supplementary dishes cooked in olive oil, kebab and then the creamy quince dessert, honeyed banana or fruit follows and the night comes to an end with an indispensable Turkish coffee.