It is an international kitchen but with a Turkish touch. Open kitchen with a large menu and small prices for big plates!
Nice decoration and it was comfortable and cosy.
Child friendly atmosphere and very nice service.
The owners are from the Netherlands and the coffee they serve is fair trade with about 20 different types.
Büyükdere Cad. Eczacı Ali Kaya Sok. No. 4 Levent (Pol Center Kapı No. 35), Istanbul 34394, Turkey
+90 212 324 5588
Built in the 14th century, the 67m high, nine storey Galata Tower dominates the Istanbul skyline and has recently been completely refurbished to include a bar/restaurant and viewing balcony on its top storey. It was the tallest structure in Istanbul at the time, and now you can see the city that straddles two continents in a 360-degree panorama from the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace to the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmara. Enjoy a cappuccino and quick snack throughout the day, or book a table for a lively evening of fine international cuisine, great beers and wines and exotic but tasteful belly-dancing.
For the freshest fish in Istanbul, head for the harbour where a large traditional boat is moored on the quayside. As the fishermen land their catch, another group fillets the fish and lays them on a vast barbecue on the boat. It is quite a sight to behold as the golden mackerel sizzle gently before being placed on warm Turkish bread and served by men in colourful braided waistcoats. The queue is long but fast moving as hundreds of Turks and tourists alike enjoy a delicious lunch at the little tables set alongside the boat on the harbour while listening to the calls to prayer from the several mosques gracing the skyline. A memorable experience and lunch for two for less than a fiver!
Beside the Galata Bridge which crosses the Golden Horn at Eminonu, facing the Yeni Camii mosque.
Google map: bit.ly/GGoxRv
Expertly run by Evelin, a Dutch ex-pat, Cooking Alaturk runs a daily cooking class for tourists with the expert help of a local chef.
Don't fancy that? They also offer a four-course tasting menu of contemporary Turkish food which changes daily. Book ahead, since they have very limited tables.
I went on my 30th birthday and they bought me out a small cake and candle, while the staff sang 'Happy Birthday'.
When walking from the Galata Bridge to the Galata Tower, you might be fooled to thinking this little back street patisserie is just that, but when you take the almost hidden lift to the third floor of the building you can enjoy beautiful views of Sultanahmet across the Bosphorus. A large open air terrace sits upon the rooftop with excellent service, good prices and tasty food. The menu has a selection of Turkish, Italian and international dishes as well as a large selection of cakes from their ground floor patisserie. Excellent homemade soups for cold evenings and big salads for summer nights. A great place to watch the sun go down and the lights of nighttime Istanbul illuminate the Mosques and palaces across the river.
A wonderful blog giving you an insiders guide to everything you need to know. From simple workers cafes to specialist restaurants. We did the guided walking tour even though we had been to Istanbul many times and learnt more than any guide book can offer. It's a wonderful cultural event and you get a real feel for Istanbul , it's people and especially it's food! The guided walk may seem pricy, but proved to be worth every penny.
Most people will argue that, while in Turkey, you should eat kebabs in all their different incarnations (İskender, döner, şiş, etc) or the pide, or baklava or any of the other amazing foods that Turkey has to offer.
However, if you truly want to get to the heart of Turkey’s crowning glory, Istanbul, there is no better nor faster way than the midye.
Midye, the little stuffed mussels with rice and lemon juice, are ubiquitous in most Turkish cities. But to walk across the Galata Bridge, eating midye, watching the sunrise, is another experience in itself. The rice in the overstuffed morsel, absorbs the saltiness of the sea and the sourness of the lemon, producing a combination much like Istanbul itself, that in the overcrowding of 11 million people and four empires, you can find peace in the calm waters of the Bosphorus, highlighted by the sharpness of the sun.
On this bridge, at this time, with this food, you can feel the overwhelming sense of beauty of the Queen of Cities.
Sold everywhere near the Bosphorus and the Galata Bridge.
Google map: bit.ly/GACD81
Quite simply the most beautiful breakfast in Istanbul with the most stunning view.
House Cafe is a modern stylish eating establishment sitting on the banks of the Bosphorous serving a wonderful East meets West selection of fare for a reasonable price (much better than the surrounding hotels). I recommend their scrabbled egg on rye bread followed with a gorgeously presented fresh virgin apple mojito.
You can sit in the shade on decking looking out at the water or inside if its just too hot. At night the place becomes a nightclub/bar which is much friendlier than their neighbours.
Salhane Sokak No: 1 Ortaköy İstanbul
+90(0)212 227 2699-39
I cannot recommend one place only to enjoy the best cuisine that Turkey has to offer, solely because there are thousands of wonderful places to eat all over the country. I can however recommend that you head to any restaurant/cafe/street stall with the suffix "ci". Kofteci, cigerci, pideci ...
These are the places that specialise in one type of food, meatballs, liver, turkish pizza etc. They know their food, source locally and will serve you their dishes with great pride.
Every city, town and village in Turkey
For all the ageing hippies who headed east in search of enlightenment The Pudding Shop in Istanbul is still there, still acting as a meeting point and still serving good food at a reasonable price. Opened in 1957 the restaurant became a place to stop off for travellers in the 1960s who were heading out towards the cultural nirvana of India and Nepal. In a pre-electronic age its bulletin board acted as a communication hub passing on messages offering and asking for lifts. Today it is a self-service café offering decent Turkish food in Sultanahmet close by the Blue Mosque, Saint Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. Don’t go for a gourmet experience. Go for a nostalgic experience. Remember the days when travelling meant hitch hiking, VW vans and Citroen 2CVs not easyJet and Ryanair.
The name of the food is La Majune - i dont think its spelt like that but the food is amazing - there are so many of these take away and eat in places where its advertised clearly in front that they make and sell La Majunes. These are large circular flatbreads which are smothered in a lamb sauce ( not spicy at all ) and lettuce tomatoes and cucumber are added along with their fantastic houmous - you then roll it up and enjoy. It's a lovely filler as a light lunch to get you going on your shopping spree as the eastern side of Istanbul is bargain central!
If you are staying on the western side of Istanbul and fancy something more authentic - then catch a boat marked USKADAR at the port of the sea of Marmara and it will take you straight over.
Google map: bit.ly/GT1tAS
Istanbul's skyline is magical at night and one of the best places to enjoy it is from the restaurant on the rooftop of the Adamar Hotel in Sultanahmet. Just a stone's throw from the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia, the rooftop terrace has a 360 degree panoramic view, great food and a romantic atmosphere. The Bosphorus Bridge twinkles with ever-changing colours, the commercial district sparkles with modern skyscrapers, and the mosques and minarets glow with golden light. High above the rooftops, the sounds of the muezzins' evening calls to prayer echo and collide in the night sky around you.
And If the weather is less than kind, there is an indoor restaurant on the floor below with equally good views.
Kadıköy is a bustling district on the Asian side of the city. There is a market and lots of small speciality shops, such as cheese, honey, herbal, gold, antiques and second hand books. This is the place to see the Istanbul of Istanbullus. After browsing for an hour or so sit down at one of the many small restaurants for some meze or fish. Try the "midye dolma", battered mussels. Çıya is a favourite restaurant of locals and visitors if you want to try unusual Turkish food. Keep an eye open for the fortune telling rabbits.
Take the ferry from Eminonu or Karakoy. Walk straight ahead, cross the road and dive into the side streets on your right.
Google map: bit.ly/n0pKUJ
Sauda is a floating swimming pool in the middle of the Bosphorus lined with huge beds and including a host of bars and restaurants that provide essential sustenance to guests. It's unmissable for its unique location and innate sense of calm.
Galatasaray Adası, Kuruçeşme, Istanbul
+90 212 263 7300
Quite simply the best patisserie in the heart of old Istanbul. Eat your honey sweet Baklava while listening to the Blue Mosque's call to prayer. Or ask Çigdem's staff to wrap up your pastries so you can take them home for your friends.
Alemdar Mh., Divan Yolu Caddesi 62, Istanbul, Turkey
Google map: bit.ly/qTbE1r
If you re looking for delicious and amazing cuisine, you ll be delighted to stop by here. Think about a whole chicken stuffed with rice, covered by salt and roasted in wood-fired oven for two hours, or baked hummus with excellent diced lamb. They have a wide range of menu, including great mezes, special kebabs(which are really hard to find anywhere else), so it is really hard to choose but I do loved all the things I ordered. I recommend you to try it if you ever visit Istanbul.
This is a great restaurant on the Asia side of Istanbul. The servers are nice and the food is moderately priced. Hands down the best food I had in Turkey. When you've had too many donners go here for dinner. There is a nice market down the street too.
Guneslibahce Sokak 43, KADIKOY, Istanbul, Turkey
Google map: bit.ly/mt0VBA
Take time out from the whirl of Istanbul's Grand Bazaar by stepping out on to its beautiful rooftop, and admiring the rows of domes from above. Climb the stairs in the courtyard opposite Cebeci Han.
Secondly, a totally authentic and cheap place for late breakfast or lunch in the bazaar is Onur Pilic (meaning "Honour Chicken"). This hole-in-the-wall serves delicious "menemen", scrambled eggs with tomato, cheese and green peppers served with French bread. Even better - ask for slices of chicken from the doner above to be placed on top, add chili flakes and enjoy.
Cebeci Han, Grand Bazaar.
Onur Pilic, Kavaflar Sokak 49, Grand Bazaar.
Google maps: bit.ly/9FKauZ
For a change of scene, hop on a ferry across to Üsküdar. Just five minutes by taxi from the port is the pretty Bosphorus-front "village" of Kuzguncuk (incredible though it is to believe, sprawling Istanbul was formerly made up of a series of villages). Remnants of a fascinating Jewish, Greek and Armenian past include tiny, tucked away synagogues and churches. Today's leafy main street is made up of super-friendly grocers, patisseries and even the odd gallery. Once you've had a wander, stop at chic Ilya for a cappuccino and chin-wag with charismatic owner Arzu. Born and brought up here, she has many a tale to tell and before you know it, you'll have spent a couple of hours here. Cafe by day/intimate restaurant by night it'sa real find. Oh, and it's BYO.
This Turkish bistro served us the most amazing starter (mushrooms in a sort of shredded pastry) and a beautiful steak that would stand up to comparison with any good restaurant in England. The menu could be described as Turkish, Mediterranean, English fusion. Classy but reasonable at about £25 a head. The clientele seemed to be young professionals but as 40/50 year old women, we felt welcome and it was so nice to have a change from the meze that you get around Sultanhamet. We just kept saying 'mmm' all the time.
Near Taksim main shopping street on the left. See www.hayalkahvesibistro.com for better details
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