It is not surprising with its fertile soils, sufficient rainfalls and favorable temperatures that Turkey produces a fantastic assortment and amount of crops. This coupled with the legacy of the Ottoman Empires’ obsession with creating superb food and the influence form nearby Asia, Middle East and Mediterranean, Turkeys cuisine is one of the most impressive in the world.
Eating out can be done on many levels and at a very reasonable price, some of the best value and tasty meals of my life have come from here. Just be wary of non ordered dishes arriving at the table and then being charged on your bill and course the forever present tourist trap joints that try and lure you in.
Tipping should be around 10% and done in cash directly to your waiter, although it is not obligatory or necessary if the service was below par.
A pleasant boat trip across the Bosporus sipping Turkish tea takes you to the Asian side of Istanbul and one of the wonders of the restaurant world, Ciya Sofrasi. As you walk in have a good look at the countless pots of that days dishes simmering away so you can choose what you would like to feast on. Dishes will include regional specialities from around turkey and waiters should be happy to help go through them.
Suitable for a food adventure
Drink as no alcohol is served stick with tea or water
Effect on wallet minor
Address: Minare Sokak 1, Beyoğlu
No need to pore over the menu, you have but one choice which is …liver skewers. They are phenomenal. Served with fresh turkish bread, parsley salad, tomato and pomegranate molasses salad and of course yogurt and sumac. Once you cant eat any more perfectly grilled livers move onto the desert, kunefe made next store – fried pastry with cheese, honey and pistachios. Incredible.
Suitable for a late night feast
Drink soft drinks
Effect on wallet minor
No information at present
On the bridges along the Bosphorus river you will see a haze of fishing lines If you don’t fancy elbowing in and trying to catch your own there will be a nearby casual joint selling the fresh fish wrapped in grilled bread and served with yogurt and salad – its one of the best street snacks Ive had.
Baklava (a sweet pastry made with honey, nuts and filo type patsry) should be tried from one of the tempting pastry shops or markets, even better when served with turkish clotted cream (Kaymak) which is seriously good.
You may also see a noodle like fried pasty with cheese, honey and nuts called Kunefe – this is also very much worth finding and trying.
Grilled meats/kebabs are done here to a whole new level on charcoal pits and served with perfect bread, tasty salads and cooling yogurt. Similar to this are;
Iskender – meat ( often lamb cubes) smothered in tomato, butter and yogurt then baked.
Kofte – grilled long meatballs often served with pickled chilies and bread of course.
Turkish bread is soft and tasty. its not uncommon to see it being rolled out by women sitting cross legged with their long thin rolling pins.
Pide – is a boat shaped bread half stuffed with ingredients like cheese, meats, egg and butter
Lahmacan – a thin pizza like dough topped with fried minced meat and grilled peppers – a very tasty snack.
Pilav – rice is given treatment as though it were the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Involving butter, fragrant stocks and often jewels like raisins, herbs and meats the pilav is a wonderful dish.
Manti – these are steamed dumplings similar to ravioli that are served with yogurt,garlic, sumac ( crushed dried lemony red berries), dried mint and butter. They are often stuffed with lamb and chickpeas.
Tea and tisanes – Turkish tea, served in delightful glass cups so as to keep it hot and be able to admire its color makes for a pleasant afternoon refreshment. A tisane (herbal teas) come in many flavors the most popular being apple. Always drink them black.
Turkish Coffee – different in process to other countries Turkish coffee is made by heating the grounds with the water ( and usually sweetener) then it all being poured into the cup to drink. Let it settle before you drink and don’t try and drink the dregs! You will usually be asked how sweet you want it, bare in mind the Turkish have quite sweet teeth go for the medium if not sure at first.