Notes On Food & Drink, Istanbul

Food is tricky. It is so incredible here, there is so much going on, so I might flag these places but there is much more and likely better out there! I have had some good meals and seen some nice bars, and in my time here this is what I loved...

Khave 6: this is a relaxed spot for breakfast or lunch and has a sweet courtyard with a garden and fountain. Always friendly and not too busy, despite having great food, it is a little oasis. A good mix of Turkish and Western food.

Leb-i derya: great for a drink and some nuts while you check out the magnificent view. (I liked this better than the service at 360, a similar bar). There are two locations for this bar, both with views and food etc.

Istanbul Modern: great food and service in a lovely setting overlooking the sea. You can come for a meal and stay for the art. Excellent coffee.

Ehli Kebap: sample the magic of beyran corbasi, a spicy, garlicy, lamb broth, mouth-party of a soup. This is the best place in town for this specialty, often eaten for breakfast.

Urfali Haci Usta: kebab is their job and they are serious. The eggplant kebab is a place where you die, then go to heaven and then are reincarnated as a butterfly and live out your days in joy and wonder.

Sensus Galata Sarap Butigi Wine: a wine store filled with glorious Turkish offerings. They also do tastings, wines by the glass or bottle, and cheese and snacks. While there I was introduced to one wine the owner was enjoying, so he poured me a taste to try. They are relaxed and knowledgable, in a great cosy little bunker setting.

Pera Palace: a classic fancy hotel lobby with all the marble trimmings, and apparently the bar is good here but it was not open when I visited; the lobby serves good cay (tea) though, and has a piano guy and arvo tea on Sundays.

Grand Hotel de Londres: this lobby has become my unofficial hangout due to the martinis, the parrots, the comfy decadent atmosphere, unsleazy waiters and the free wifi. Yes parrots. From now on I demand all drinks to be served to me by guys in white jackets, it is so much more sophisticated.

Destination-less DIY food moments:
drinking cay and eating baklava by the sea;
eating mussels and rice on the street (pictured above), in fact eating all food on the street (not so much the simit but definitely the doughnuts);
buying some raki and nuts and reading in the sun at the Princes Islands;
all Turkish buffet breakfasts, which can be found in all hotels and many cafes on weekends, as these combine my love of buffet anything with gorgeous pastries, cheeses, olives, bread and eggs - love love love.

Note that these recommendations were found via Devrim, Istanbul Eats (wonderful wonderful blog) and happening upon things. OK, maybe a little Lonely Planet, too.


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Anna Metcalfe is a content maker, word writer and editor of things.