Almost a town in its own right, it's on the Asian side, a pleasant place reached by ferry from Kadiköy. A very Turkish resort and a stop-off point for the unmissable Princes Islands. It also has the best fish soup this side of Atlantic! Find it at the Yildiz Yakamoz restaurant right in the centre. The squid was pretty amazing too.
On the edge of the Sea of Marmara, on the Asian side of Istanbul.
Walking into Balicki Sabahatin is a little like walking into a favourite Aunt’s front parlour – white linen tablecloths, white lacy coverings at the window, cream and sea-green walls with a few pictures - all neat, tidy but not off putting.
The restaurant specialises in fish and seafood - there isn’t a menu as such – although I believe you may be able to ask for one which includes hot starters. After showing you to your seat and taking an order for drinks (raki is a good accompaniment though we went for beer, they do have a wine list but we found it a little on the expensive side) a waiter will present a tray of mezes from which you make your choice. These include salads, marinated fish – the sea bass was delicious – mussels and rice (a speciality of the restaurant, a great mix of textures and flavours) dips etc.. If you are unsure what to have – and there is a wide choice – ask the, very helpful, waiting staff for their recommendations.
A little later, while enjoying your choice of meze, a waiter will bring a platter of fresh fish of the day from which you select your main courses, again if you are unsure - or indeed you need some pointers, as we did, to what fish is which - ask for a recommendation. Once your choice is made sit back, relax, finish your meze and wait for the fish fest to arrive!
The fish is either grilled or fried ( we went for red mullet and swordfish kebab) and simply presented with a small garnish of tomato, a slice of potato and a slice of mooli – the latter three acting more as palate cleansers than an accompaniment. Not that you need any accompaniment, the freshness and taste of the fish is what’s important and all you really need.
After that you may not feel the need for dessert but, if you do, there is a small but tasty selection of cakes and other traditional desserts.
Round this of with Turkish coffee and maybe even a liqueur and you have a great dining experience. In summer you should also be able to take advantage of the outside tables. Reservations are recommended, we went mid-week and it was pretty busy then.
Cost for four meze dishes, two fish dishes, 2 beers, water, a Turkish coffee and a dessert was 110YTL (approx. £39.00).
Seyit Hasan Kuyu Sokak 1
Near Cankurtaran Caddesi - a short-ish stroll from the Blue Mosque
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