I was in Istanbul for work this week. I have been to Istanbul a number of times for work and I have to say I am always disappointed by the restaurants I go to. Topaz in Gümüşsuyu, Istanbul being the exception. Topaz is always great but more for special occasions as a bit pricey. I know I could plan and read guide books etc but I prefer to wing it.
This week (maybe due to a different hotel location than normal) I came across 3 establishments which were excellent so I thought I would share these with other YellAli members.
First one is Aheste Pera on Gen. Yazgan Sokak. A long thin restaurant (Beyoğlu District, İstanbul)
· The menu was very simple made up of salad, cold meze, hot meze and mains. 4 to 5 salads, 6 to 8 different mezes either cold or hot and 4 mains. I ordered 2 cold and 3 hot and Raki as an accompaniment. I have never drank it as a main meal drink before but it worked. I trusted the waiter to choose for me and his choices were great. I particularly enjoyed the octopus and the liver. The liver was cooked in butter and sat on a garnish of onions, sumac space, tomatoes with orange juice. Often watchful with liver as it can be tough this was great.
Second was Meze by Lemon Tree – just opposite the Jumeirah Pera Palace Hotel (Beyoğlu District, İstanbul)
· On the Monday night with a work colleague we tried to walk in off the street and it was fully booked. This always a good sign, so the next day I booked and managed to get in. The menu again was straight forward. Meze to start with about 8 choices. I have had Meze many times before but this was what I would call a sophisticated Meze selection, with clearly a lot of thought gone into the combinations. As I was on my own they did a selection of 4 which was a perfect size. My favourite was the small grilled peppers filled with clotted cream, honey and assorted nuts. It was great and so tasty. Main was meatballs and roasted vegetables; simple and seasoned skilfully.
Third was Noir Pit Coffee Shop (Beyoğlu District, İstanbul)
· Next door to Ahesta Pera was a great little coffee shop. Small with a whacky wallpaper and hat display (you need to see it to appreciate it). The coffee smelt great and was very caringly prepared by the staff that spoke some English and was very attentive. Apparently it has been open for 6 months only but with what they have to offer you can see it becoming very popular and doing well. I had a couple of morning coffees there and thoroughly enjoyed them crisp, clean and refreshing.
I hope this of some use to other members. I will definitely be going back to these places.
YellAli Member - NZmark