While the food in Turkey is among the richest in the world, it is a complete and delicious combination of Eastern and European colours and tastes. Good restaurants are in abundance in this unique city but it is worth wandering off the beaten track where the real gems of Turkish cuisine are to be found.
Because you are on the shores of the Bosphorous, locals would strongly recommend that you try one of the many seafood restaurants that line the banks of the river. One fish dish which proves extremely popular is Lakerda, an appetiser made with bonito fish. And to finish try baclavar, a flaky pastry with nuts soaked in honey accompanied by a Turkish coffe or kahve but tell the waiter how sweet you want it when you order as the sugar is added as its being made.
And of course there is the obligatory kebab. While this is one meal that has truly make its mark in the Western world, it is clear that Istanbul has a great deal more than dishes with shish or donor in the title to offer. Nevertheless, the kebabs too are well worth sampling. These guys will show you what a real one should taste like.
21 Buyukparmakkapy Street, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey
Now the name of this place is probably enough to tell you that this is one for all the veggies out there. Serving vegetarian food from 11.00am to 11.00pm, it caters for all you who do not wish to avail of all the lovely kebabs on offer around the city. All you need to do is remember that it is closed on Sundays.
21 Bekar Street, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey
If you are a coffee drinker, then Café Frappe should certainly satisfy any caffeine cravings you have. With over 40 different types of coffee from all over the world and home made cakes for an extra treat, this place is well worth a look. Open from 10.00am to 10.00pm daily.
21 Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey
This restaurant, which has now been in the family for three generations, is well worth a visit. It serves a variety of reasonably priced vegetarian dishes as well as kebabs. Actually, I do not know why I am telling you all of this. All you need to do is check out this guys website. Not only does he tell you what his restaurant serves, he also gives you the recipe to cook it. What is he trying to do - drum up come competition for himself.
Istiklal Avenue, 7 Zambak Street, Istanbul, Turkey
Now an internet café is always something which comes in handy when travelling around and computers are in abundance in Chat. You can also avail of reasonable and tasty sandwiches and coffee which may prove handy if you decide you need to e-mail that lost love in the middle of the night. Yes, I am afraid it is true, this place is open around the clock.
303 Istiklal Cad, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey
Rio Bravo is definitely for anybody who may be feeling a little homesick, well at least. missing the food from home. This venue has three parts to it, a native Indian reservation which serves as a restaurant and the other two parts comprise an English pub. The atmosphere is good, the jukeboxes are relatively up to date and booths provide just the right amount of intimacy to let you enjoy your meal in peace.
6 Divanyolu Cad, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
This is an eatery with a little history all of its own. It became known as one of the stops on the trail of hippies traveling from west to east. Naturally, this also gave it a reputation as a haven for drug dealings and other unsavoury business dealings. Now, however, it serves as yet another fast food restaurant but is worth a visit if only to tell your parents about it and start them off on a trip down memory lane.
Istanbul Hilton Hotel, Elmadag, Istanbul, Turkey
This one is a real treat but you may well be from a land which makes Turkey seem like a paupers paradise, and if you are this restaurant has to be tried. With an excellent view of Bosphorous and the Asian side of the city it is ideal for a romantic night out with candlelight and live violins. Serving both local and international food, this really is a venue for something special.