Category Archives: Taksim


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



2 **

Nothing sets the nerves atingle quite like the chance discovery of a new ethnic restaurant in Istanbul, no matter how many times you’ve been sucked in before. To sit outside a cafe soaking up the meyhane atmosphere of Asmalımescit (Asmalımescit Mahallesi Sofyalı Sokak No: 20)
but with a dish of noodles….Ah, how international. Continue reading

Tünel Lokantası

**This restaurant is no longer there but whatever must have taken its place is well worth going to as this was the terrace** Continue reading


3 ***

Amongst the trendy bars, boisterous meyhanes and ‘in’ places to eat in Asmalı Mescit, Helvetia is an unassuming, almost unmarked, place that beckons you in with a warm hug rather than a ‘Daahling! Mwah, mwah’. Continue reading

Otantik – How it’s done in Anatolia

4 ****

For some reason I’ve managed never to notice Otantik, despite it’s prominent Istiklal position (no. 170) and unsubtle decor.  Water features and faux foliage abound but, although I am sure a more ambience discerning customer would find it tacky, I thought it was charming.  Even the woman sitting fully costumed by her gözleme (Turkish pancake) stone was fine by me – it means hot, fresh gözleme whatever cool points it loses.  But, I had been away for a few weeks so maybe my Istanbul snobbery gauge needed resetting. Continue reading

Meyhanes – Mahzen, Çiçek Pasajı

4 ****

Imagine your living room but packed with people clapping along to folk music, tray after tray of food being brought to your table and an endless supply of raki. The essence of a good meyhane is making the diner feel totally at home but with the atmosphere cranked up to full power. Continue reading

Çin Büfe – Sweet or sour?

2 **

Once someone suggests going for a Chinese, the idea takes hold and won’t let go until you seek out a place where chopsticks come with dinner.  Usually, in my experiences of living abroad in countries with a low Asian population, the chopsticks are about the most authentic thing about the food. Continue reading