HIP GUIDE
 
FOOD FOR EVERY TASTES

Street Food: Look out for the pretty wheel pushcarts that grace Istanbul’s streets. Each one sells a specialty Street food, perfect for snacking.

Simit: A chewy salty bagel-like ring topped with sesame seeds. Most asked and liked street food ever.

Balık Ekmek: Crispy mackerel sandwiches, topped with onions, lettuce and a squeeze of lemon, then shoehorned into a quarter loaf of crusty White bread. Sold by the boat vendors that flanks the Galata Bridge.

Kokoreç: For the daring foodie only , these spiced lamb’s intestines are as stinky as they are addictive. Follow your nose to the night-time smoky grills that set up shop behind the Spice bazaar and around Taksim Square.

Sahlep: A steamy, sweet milky drink made from ground orchid roots topped with cinnamon. It’s a winter warmer.

Boza: A vitamin-rich, fermented millet beverage that we think tastes a little like apple cider, boza is a love-or-hate-it kind of drink. Take time to hunt down Vefa Bozacısı-İts beautiful tile interior is worth a visit alone- and try it for yourself.

Kebabs: Döner(Lamb slow-roasted on a spit) and şiş ( fired up on a skewer) kebabs are synonymous with Turkish cuisine. Hole-in-the-wall kebab shops all around Istanbul.

Hamdi: Plump for their famous fıstıklı Kebab, a mix of veal and lamb studded with pistachios. Rezerve in advance for table on the top floor terrace.

Kebabcı İskender: Creator of Bursa’s famous İskender Kebab- grilled lamb smothered in tomato sauce, topped with foaming browned butter and served with a big dollop of ultra-rich yogurt. Bring a hefty appetite.

Meyhaneler :Translated literally as ‘taverns’, Istanbul’s Meyhaneler are raucous, heavy on the rakı (Turkish aniseed alcohol) and bags of fun. Expect loud live folk bands roaming the restaurants from 10pm onwards.

Beşiktaş Balık Restaurant: Terraced tables spill out into the Beşiktaş fish market, rendering their seafood super fresh.  Try the lakerda(Marinated kingfish) and kalamar tava (deep-fried calamari rings, served with walnut dip)

Yakup 2: One-time hangout of artists, aristos and 1960s film stars. The Rolling meze cart groans with platters of stuffed vine leaves and patlıcan ezmesi ( smoked eggplant puree); follow up with ahtapot ızgara (grilled octopus) or the catch of the day.

Balıkçı Sabahattin: Unusual appetizers-avocado laced with dill and baby shrimp, cinnamon-infused mussels- plus super fresh fish, served in an atmospheric 1920s villa.
İskele Livar Balık Evi: Beautiful Bosphorus views, home-smoked bonito and two miniscule balcony tables worth staking out early.

Ottoman CuisineWant to dine like a sultan? A handful of historical high-end restaurants recreate the exquisite royal cuisine that once graced th Topkapı Palace tables.

Asitane: Big names and the dishes they devoured including fodula (rye bread stuffed with beef, carrots and shallots) as enjoyed by Mehmet the Conqueror and entourage and Çankırı goose kebab with almond pilaf, served under Suleiman The Magnificent. Gorgeous garden.

Tuğra: Lux it up Bosphorus-side: Tuğra is set within the Çırağan Palace, an Ottoman-era playpen. Chef-historian Uğur Alparslan’s magical dishes herald directly from hand-written kitchen records, including lamb kulbasti.(grilled and served with smoked walnuts and eggplants.

Sweets : Turks have the sweetest teeth known to humankind. 

Baklavacı Güllüoğlu: Baklava worth crossing continents for- coddled in bucket loads of Gaziantep pistachios.

Kanaat Lokantası: Amazing aşure(Noah’s pudding) made from wheat beans, dried fruits and nuts, topped with pomegranate seeds. 

Konyalı: Ottoman restaurant turned sweet-and-snack counter Fabulous walnut baklava and creamy pudding.

Özkonak: The place to try sweet tavuk göğsü, ayummy pudding made with thinly shredded chicken and milk.

İnci: Rich, gooey profiteroles, plus an indulgent array of handmade chocolates.

Hacı Bekir: Confectioner to the sultans and inventor of Turkish Delight. Visiting during winter.  Ask for kaymaklı lokum, Turkish Delight with a dollop of Kaymak(clotted cream) at the centre.

Mini-Dondurma: A literal hole-in-the-wall, serving our favourite slightly chewy Turkish ice cream. Seventeen sweet flavors daily; open March to November.