The area near Sirkeci Station has many good restaurants, and several streets crowded with cafés and restaurants, offering variety and a pleasant indoor or outdoor dining experience.
In general, you receive much better meals at more reasonable prices in Sirkeci than in Sultanahmet, and yet Sirkeci restaurants are only a 5- to 10-minute walk, or a 3-minute tram ride, from the Hippodrome (map).
Look particularly on İbni Kemal Caddesi, a pedestrian street that's lined with restaurants offering sidewalk tables in fair weather.
Here are two of my favorite hangouts:
The ground-floor restaurant of the refined Sirkeci Mansion Hotel (map) is a good place to try what might best be described as updated Turkish regional/fusion cuisine. These dishes from all over Turkey are not quite what a Turkish mama used to make—they're better. Service is top-notch, and prices are reasonable, with a full meal often costing only about TL40 to TL60 per person, wine included. More...
Yes, the name is from the John Wayne movie, the theme is American West, the Efes beer is cold, but the menu provides more variety than did any saloon in Wayne's day. Red River is a good place to relax informally any time of day (map). More...
—by Tom Brosnahan