Istanbul Restaurants: Tom's Favorites

Comments and recommendations for Istanbul restaurants

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peynirkafasi
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American Food

Post by peynirkafasi » Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:42 pm

I understand how frustrating it is to be an American who has been raised on Kraft Mac and Cheese, Velveeta, and Oreos. We do have a love/hate relationship with our crappy food.

I often find myself drawn, for better or for worse to all that is processed and partially-hydrogenated - feeling simultaneously ashamed, but not ashamed enough to give up Doritos. That's part of our strange American cultural heritage - that comfort food often comes in a box or styrofoam (now foil or wax paper) package and has an alarmingly long shelf life.

The wonderfully liberating thing about Turkey was the absence of these insidious favorites. Wonderful, fresh bread daily, vegetables and fruit in season (even those little unripe green plums were good!). If one strives to eat Turkish, I have no doubt you're on your way to clearing the toxins from your body and a healthy life.

On the other hand, I had my favorite things that closely resembled the American mainstays -especially when I was homesick for a little something self-destructive. A couple of them are below, but there are adequate venues in Istanbul for transgression.
__________________________

For raw carbs, nothing beats biscuits (biskuvi)... those little cookies in a sleeve you can get from any bakkal (corner store) and at the kiosk - I still have philosophical problems with going to the big grocery store (Migros), but that's me being a snob. My wife likes the chocolate cookies, but I'm a big fan of Yulafli (Oatmeal cookie-like things).

At a bunch of cafe's there's a thing called "Tost" which is bread and cheese. I'm from Wisconsin, nuff said, and nothing says Wisconsin like a little chesse samich. This stuff is usually straight up bread and cheese (not the feta, the other mild, less salty kind). Often it can be ordered with Turkish "Sucuk" added, a little sausage.


turkeytom
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Bisküvi

Post by turkeytom » Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:05 am

Hah! :D Bisküvi!

How many years, for how many tens of thousands of kilometers, have I lived on Ari Bisküvileri (known to us devotees as "Harry's Biscuit Lorry"). Or the analogous Ülker article.

Pötibör (Petit-beurre) Bisküvi kept me alive for years of travel.

Miss a bus? Miss a meal? Driving too hard to stop for my favorite lunch, a bowl of mercimek çorbasi (lentil soup) and fresh Turkish sourdough bread? Bisküvi to the rescue! I'd glom a handful and drive on!

I don't think I've ever taken a trip in Turkey without a sleeve of bisküvi in my carry-on.... :)

Tom Brosnahan

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Post by Rauf » Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:44 pm

For the people that want to be addicted to a "Turkish" snack, try Eti browni.
The only reason why i will get up at night and go to the nearest market.

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Post by Rauf » Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:42 am

Btw, Tom.
If you want some good coffee try royal zimbabwe in gloria jean's I'm addicted!
(don't drink coffee at the gloria jean's in the airport, it's awfull.)

I'm at my third cup at the moment :D
I drink it everyday and that while I'm not a person who like's coffee.

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Recommeded

Post by copperfield27 » Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:51 pm

Just back from Istanbul and can recommend the Giritli in Sultanahmet near the Citadel Hotel down by the sea wall (not somewhere you would generally walk past which is probably why we appeared to be the only non-Turks in the restaurant.) There was a fixed menu at 55 new lira per head (about £22 each) which included unlimited (very acceptable) wine and water. Rather than having to choose mezze -difficult when they all looked so tempting- you get all of them, first cold, then hot, then a choice of very fresh fish. This was extraordinarily good value for the quality of food and service. Only caveat - wear loose clothing unless you are very disciplined about portion control!

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Post by ChrisWin » Thu Apr 21, 2005 6:04 pm

Kees wrote:I think it is really funny that there are always Americans asking if there are any McDonalds, KFC, Pizzahut restaurants in foreign countries!!! Just try the local food!!! It is much better than that fatty stuff from the USA. These posts only consolidate the image people have of Americans. Don't get me wrong: I lived in the States for 5 years and I just love the country and the people are very nice, but sometimes these kind of things irritate me...
There are many American travelers who absolutely enjoy the countries they go to but they may be weary of ordering food they are unfamiliar with. On top of that, not everyone can just order something and enjoy it no matter what it is. We all have individual tastes, we all don't like the same things. Without speaking the local language very well and not wanting or having the time to flip through a guide book looking for exactly what those things on the menu are, it can be intimidating sometimes. While in other countries I try to indulge in their local cuisine to the best of my ability. But if I had a long day and I'm dead tired back at the hostel, I got no problem whatsoever with walkin' down to Pizza Hut for a quick comfort meal instead of having to deal with a foreign language menu which I cannot read. So the fact that a city like Istanbul has Burger King and Pizza Hut can truly be a blessing to some American travelers. Often we don't spend thousands of dollars traveling to a country to taste the country, some of us go to just see the country. If someone doesn't enjoy those foreign tastes as much as another traveler, there's no reason to look down on that person for that.

peynirkafasi
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Pizza Hut

Post by peynirkafasi » Mon Apr 25, 2005 3:51 pm

Well said. There is much in Turkey for every kind of traveller. Even for those less adventurous about food. Don't let our snobbishness deprive you of a good time in Turkey. I certainly understand the draw of Pizza Hut or McDonald's After a week of standard Turkish fare and not understanding everything, it was refreshing to have a Pizza Hut.

This said, you really can't go terribly wrong with Turkish food, and 99% of the time it's nothing we all haven't eaten a million times - beef onion, paprika, chicken, bread, butter. The way Turks prepare food and some of the traditional meals are so worth trying, not because they are exotic and strange - which more often it is not, but because it is masterful cooking and embodies tradition.

Some Turkish fare is extremely simple, like breakfast. Bread, preserves, butter, cheese (feta or a mozzarella-like "kasar"), cucmber, tomato, olive, maybe a soft-boiled egg. The standard bread is crusty "Italian style" that people covet at American delis. Vegetables are fresh...

That's what is so neat about this forum, people can give you an idea of some foods and let you know what they are beforehand - without expectation that you eat everything. We, and I think I speak for a good number of people, just want to share these experiences that we had as (sometimes skeptical) foreigners. Being pleasantly surprised at the quality we found and wanting to pass it on so badly that we denegrate our own familiar foods is the unfortunate side-effect.

-Jason

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Post by steve » Wed May 11, 2005 3:11 pm

I'm off on a DIY two and a half week Turkey trip starting and finishing in Instanbul. This Beyti place sounds very very good. How long would it take to get there from Sultanahmet?

Zeynep
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Post by Zeynep » Fri May 13, 2005 10:46 am

Hi,

To get to Beyti Restaurant in Florya from Sultanahmet, would take approximately 15 minutes by taxi, assuming light traffic.

I would suggest that you have your hotel order a taxi for you and have them ask if the driver knows how to get to Beyti. Most drivers should know the place, because it is well-known, but you never know.

I can't resist putting in a plug for my favorite soccer team- while you're dining at Beyti, why don't you walk a few steps down and check out the Galatasaray shop? This is one of the top soccer teams in Turkey and was the UEFA champion in 2000. It might be interesting for you to see the grounds where they train- though we tried walking around and they were very strict about no visitors. Still, you can go to the shop and buy some souvenirs... :D

Hope you get to make it to Beyti. :D

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Post by steve » Fri May 13, 2005 10:52 am

Thanks so much for the info. Just out of interest, how long is it in heavy traffic, or am I juts being stupid asking?


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