You have either visited or heard about the beauty of Istanbul, and all its fascinating destinations and activities you can do when you are there, for this reason, I will not talk about that, today we will speak food! I explore new cities with an angle on the culture and history of food I am eating, and Istanbul has given me much to tell you about.
We arrived to the city on a semi-cloudy beautiful morning. After we checked into our hotel, we headed to Taksim Square, a very busy shopping and dining district. We had a long walk in Istiklal Street where the very first thing I ate was a “pineapple stick”, and ended our small journey climbing up one of the highest and oldest towers of Istanbul – Galata Tower; where you can have a magnificent view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus from the panoramic terrace.
For lunch, we went to The Market; a place with heavenly great food and a great view of the Bosphorus, by noon the weather was a little bit hot but that did not stop us from enjoying our meal outdoor. Their rich menu includes traditional and modern dishes from different cuisines, moist and tender steaks, seafood and desserts. Our host Nisreen was very kind and friendly, and made the best recommendations of food.
We had Dana Śaślik, it tasted like meat and felt like a marshmallow! It so tender that it melts in your mouth, and seasoned to perfection – scrumptious!
Although am not a big fan of hot-dogs, but these mini hotdogs tempted me so much I couldn’t resist, and it was really good. We also had kuru patlıcan dolma; a sun dried eggplant stuffed with rice, and served with yoghurt. We did not have desserts here, so we can have it somewhere else later on, but we ended the meal with 2 cups of Çay – Turkish tea.
The Market has an open kitchen concept and they offer a variety of quality cheeses, dry-aged meats, and olive oil for sale, with a great display of the raw materials they use in cooking at the entrance of the place.
We went back to Taksim square that night, and ate Baklava at Hafiz Mustafa, one of most well-known places for Turkish delights and baklava, and it’s always, always crowded!
During our visit to Büyükada – The Princes’ Islands, we had a very light lunch at one of the so-many seafood restaurant at the sea front. Local, simple, but delicious. We had Midye Dolma, stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, herbs and spices, a very common and delicious treat at Istanbul you can find it in all tourist destinations and in fancy restaurants as well; and it’s good both ways. A must try when you are there. We also had fried calamari and Greek salad there. And oh, when you are there don’t forget to enjoy their famous lokma – a bite-sized fried dough soaked in syrup.
During your long walks in the streets of Istanbul, you will see all these mostly red wagons (they are sometimes in different colour) which offers you yummy grilled chestnuts – my favourite, corn on the cob, simit, and other kind of goodies. Street food is so important to this city.
After site-seeing Sultan Ahmed mosque and Hagia Sophia, we relaxed over a sip of Çay, and then took a stroll to the Grand Bazar. On our way there, we stopped for desserts. It is not in your hand, all these shops with their attractive full of sweets window’s display calls you to go in and get fat.
For a boat tour in Bosphorus, you go to Ortaköy; a little area with narrow streets, little cafés and many junk shops. Ortaköy is famous for the kumpir; fluffy baked potato from the inside and crispy skin that you can top with butter, cheese, and your choice of steam veggies, it is huge you cannot eat it all by yourself. The area is also famous for its freshly baked waffles, you can smell it all around; I had one with Nutella and strawberry – yummy.
Just between the district of Beşiktaş where we our stay was – at Renaissance Hotel and Ortaköy sets the The Kempinski Ciragan Palace, which was built by Sultan Abdülâziz between 1863 and 1867 and is now a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide. Hubby and I went there for shisha and a drink at the hotel’s outdoor café. The view was just breath-taking.
For our last dinner in Istanbul, we choose to go to one of the fanciest venues in the city; Sunset Grill & Bar, they have a unique view of Bosphorus and amazing food! Which I will tell you all about in the next blog post.
Istanbul is definitely a great destination for all foodies out there in the world! not to forget to mention that except for fine-dinning restaurants, eating is very affordable there. Am sure I will be back to have more of what this city has to offer!