Istanbul is a city built between the sea of Marmara, the Black Sea, and around the Bosphorus, the detroit connecting those two seas. Naturally, because of it’s geographic position, seafood restaurants are abundant in the city. The culture of eating fish and mezes exists since the Byzantine Empire era, when coastal cities used to welcome the sailors looking for drinks and fresh seafoods.
Istanbulites accompanied meze and fish and seafood meals with Raki , an anise flavored alcohol similar to the French Pastis and the Greek Uzo. Turkish people say “go to a Raki Balik” witch means go to a seafood restaurant and drink Raki.
In this establishments, cold meze entries are first presented on a plate to the restaurant customer, mezes are a selection of small dishes served in the Mediterranean. There are a multitude of mezes and after the cold ones you usually have to choose between fish and hot mezes, do not miss the Karides Guvec (prawns cooked with mushrooms, tomato and cheese), fried calamaris, octopus a la plancha, the fish Kofte (meatballs), and many others …
If after the hot mezes you are still hungry you can eat fish, generally prepared grilled without sauce and accompanied by a salad, a slice of raw onion and lemon. You can also oder it right after the cold mezes.
The price of fish is variable depending on the season, it is not always indicated on menu, so remember to ask the price..
Eat amazing fishes, seafoods and mezes in Istanbul is possible, but only if you know the right addresses.
One of the best, it is hard to recommend a speciality because everything is good and the menu varies depending on the season. Eftalya is located in the Arnavutkoy district on the European side between the two Bosphorus bridges. The view is fabulous and the seafood is excellent. To get a good table with a beautiful view I advice you to make a reservation.
It is a beautiful terrace on the Istiklal Avenue with an amazing view of the Bosphorus. The mezzes are fresh and rich in flavors, and the prices are reasonable; what elese? Remember to book the same day during the week and a few days in advance for weekends before you get there.
Located in the old Jewish district of Balat, this tavern dates back to 1890 and was bought two years ago by a Turkish cinema.producer. The boss, Ezel, tried to recreate at best the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the neighborhood and attaches particular importance to the culture of drinking raki. Surrounded by Turkish, Armenian and Greek cooks, the team managed to recreate the seasonal cuisine of the last century. Everything is very good and fresh and also homemade: even the olive oil comes from their own fields. The subdued atmosphere recalls also the old taverns the past. The incredible mix of flavours makes of Agora one of the most interesting places in town. The only little problem is that the area is not busy at night, but you can always jump in a taxi and go party elsewhere. Remember to book on weekends.
Adresse : Ayvansaray Mh., Mürselpaşa Cd. No:185
Duble Meze Bar
Duble the Meze Bar is a rooftop restaurant overlooking the old city where the food is great and the ambiance greater. The place is especially nice because most of its costumers are Turkish, some days after dinner time people start dancing, it’s one of our favorite restaurants on the list.
This restaurant, located in the bohemian neighborhood of Cihangir, is very sweet with its small outdoor courtyard and its inside cozy atmosphere. You can find almost daily Turkish, Greeks or Armenians musicians playing live music. Although a little hard to find, this is a very good restaurant, local, and especially romantic. Do not miss it if you are walking through the area.
In the neighborhood of Tarabya, a district on the North of the Bosphorus, Kiyi is an institution that opened its doors in 1964. Everything is delicious. The place does not have a terrace, this is the only little weak point of the restaurant.
An authantic seafood restaurant tasty decorated. The restaurant is located in the district of Karakoy facing Eminonu. Their is a comfy atmosphere, not many choices but the price is fair and the food is good. I advice you to go with the mezes rather than the meals.
A great restaurant only accessible by boat. To get there go on the Rumeli Hisari docks and take the boat with the name of the resrtaurat that takes you on the other side of the Bosphorus. The best period to go there is between April to October because you can eat on the terrace next to the water, an unforgetable experience. I advice you to go there in the evening or during a sunny afternoon. Entries are superb (sea bass with basil or squid a la plancha with walnuts and many others). This place is very popular, have a nice table outside requires a reservation.