The best of any cultural eating should comprise more than just the food itself. If for more than a hundred years, the people of a certain culture have been celebrating events, anniversaries and special occasions through feast-like long dinners (be it fish, meat or pasta that is being served), the places where feast-like grand dinners can be enjoyed should also be considered part of local eating scene.
Hence, is the name of this 'Best of List' is the 'Best Scenes of List.' The places, which are designated on this list, do not offer just great food, but some of these places are also renowned for their high quality service and feast-like culture.
Day 1 - Istanbul
A word or two on these fabulous restaurants below:
The top of the list, occupied by Asithane, is a favorable choice by the business men, who are entertaining foreign clients. In fact, at any given time, there may be more foreigners here than locals. However, do not let this discourage you. This is not a typical tourist's place... Try Piruhi, a unique form of the traditional Turkish dumplings (known as manti), the stuffed vine leaves with sour cherry (a mediterranean delicacy), Mahmudiye (Spring chicken stewed with almonds, dried apricots, grapes and flavoured with honey and cinnamon), and Tash Kadayif for desert. Do not forget to pick up your home-made jam (compliments of the house) as you leave. For the complete menu, check out: http://www.asitanerestaurant.com/English/winter_menu.php
Next on our list is the renown Four Seasons Hotel in the Sultanahmet region. There is another Four Seasons Hotel in Ciragan/Besiktasi, where there is a very elegant Italian restaurant is managed and run by the Hotel. However, the branch in Sultanahmet is particularly interesting, as it is supposedly reconstructed from what used to be a city prison. Food needs no compliments, it has the delicate touch of Four Seasons trademark.
Moving further down on the list, at the forth place, is Kanaat Lokantasi. Totally off the beaten path, very cheap, very delicious, yet very traditionally Turkish. Take the vaporetto from Besiktas until Uskudar (where Kanaat is located) for a romantic and nostalgic trip to the Asian Side of Istanbul. Then, treat yourself to anything of your like. You may go near the kitchen and choose what you want from the pots. Mind that the best food finishes early as this place gets lots of traffic at rush hours.
At number six, we have Musa Ustan Ocakbasi... "Elbows in" definitely. Try out this unique and delicious experience for a once in a life time occurence.
Ciya Sofrasi is traditional southeastern food, best and one of its kind in Istanbul.
Finally, last but not the least, Iskele Restaurant for a change in your taste buds from meat dominated meals to fish. Turkey's seasides are all fishermen's villages, therefore, it would be a discredit to them if we do not mention one of the best fish restaurants in Istanbul. Rumeli Lokantasi is one of those places, where the Turkish people "feast" on food. Starting with cold appetizers (feta cheese, melons, sardines, raw fish, and green salads), they move onto hot dishes at the turn of the hour (calamari, shrimps from the oven, shells etc.). Even though, they complain about how much full they are, they are very likely to order grilled or stuffed fish to the middle or separately as the main course, which is later followed by fruits and desert (souffle is the tradition for desert).
Kariye Camii Sokak 6
34240 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 635 7997
Tevkifhane Sokak No. 1
34110 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 638 8200
Çırağan Cad. No: 40
90 212 227 2216
Selmanipak Caddesi No:9 Uskudar
90 216 341 5444 / 90 216 5533791
Mim Kemal Öke Caddesi 21
34360 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 225 4662 / 90 212 225 4665
14 Istiklal Caddesi
90 212 245 2932
12 Divan Yolu
34110 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 513 1438
Caferağa Mahallesi Guneslibahce Sokak 43
+90 216 330 3190
Arnavutkoy 1. Cadde No: 111
Yahya Kemal Caddesi 1 Rumelihisari
90 212 263 2997