Category Archives: 5 stars


5 *****

Cezayir, queen of French Sokak (Hayriye Cad, Galatasaray), reigns from a restored school building that has kept its high ceilinged corridors and respectable, institutional feel until you get to the toilets which are decorated to make you feel like you’re on acid. In winter, you come for the food alone, which is no bad thing. The menu is one of the few in Istanbul than really tries to do something a bit different instead of the samey sameness of most of the restaurants at this level. In summer, you get the double – the creative food and the great garden space; part bar, part restaurant, part hang out. Continue reading



5 *****

Fish restaurants in Istanbul can get a bit samey, varying only in how much they charge for simple plates of grilled or fried fish. Kosinitza, a Time Out Food and Drink Award’s nominee in 2008, allows far more scope for originality by using fish and seafood as ingredients in dishes, rather than as the only thing on the plate. Continue reading


5 *****

Zazie, crowned Time Out Food and Drink Award’s Best New Restaurant 2008, is one of those places that, the minute the doors swish shut and you enter the intimately lit bar, transports you to Any European Cosmopolitan City. Continue reading

Hüsrev – Black Sea Kurufasulye Magic

5 *****

Comfort eating Turkish style means Kuru Fasulye, a vastly superior version of the baked beans Heinz could only wish one of their 57 varieties equalled. Continue reading

The House Cafe – An Empire


You could build an entire Saturday around The House Café’s Istanbul Empire. Walk along the Bosphorus from Beşiktaş to avoid the traffic and work up an appetite for breakfast or brunch at the Ortaköy waterfront restaurant; spend the afternoon and all your cash in Nişantaşı and drink lemonade in the original Teşkvikiye garden café; do the Sunday promenade along İstiklal, stopping off for coffee at the latest House Café, on your way to the Tünel café for dinner. Continue reading


5 *****

If you don’t work in one of its towering urban bee hives, you might not find many reasons to get off the metro at Gayrettepe.  But all those executives have to eat somewhere, so there are some surprisingly good quality restaurants, and Caretta is my favourite. Continue reading

Açıkdeniz – my local

This is a bit of a mystery as I can’t find out from Google if the restaurant is still there or not. Worth a look anyway, there has to be something in its place as there are no empty corners near busy mosques in Istanbul. I didn’t remember the experience until I got to the chicken soup part…then it came back to me. Continue reading