Archive for the ‘Food & Drink’ Category

Uskudar Eats

We had a chance encounter with a restaurant that we have avoided because it looked too “touristy” for our inclinations. Located in Uskudar, just a couple hundred meters towards Uskudar Center from the Vapur is “Gunaydin”. A three story orange faced cafe that looks over the old bazaar area.
Yesterday we found ourselves famished, hot, and without a ride home. We walked into Gunaydin and up to the terrace. As we ordered, we commented that these views could compensate for any lack of culinary genius….but that stipulation was far from necessary.
The food was traditional “Istanbullu” and was excellent. Tavuk Sis, Kuzu Sis, Mecimek Corba, Kanat and Salata were ordered and quickly devoured by our tribe. We had a side dish of Cig Kofte Lamacun and a Kofte (?) type of meatball; All of it of excellent quality.
The views are of the old covered bazaar and are spectacular. It cost our family of four around 50 lira to make our getaway…which due to our recent feeding was less than remarkable.
Bottom Line? Great food, Amazing Views, and at the upper end of the working class pay scale for a dinner out…but for a special spot with incredible atmosphere…amazing.
Tips? Ask for the terrace and wait for a table at the railing. If dining cheap is attractive…order the Lamacun and Tavuk Sis and split it (plenty for two)….out the door for less than 10 lira.


Wagamama is the new Japanese noodle restaurant in the Kanyon mall. We went there a little while ago and adored everything. Except the food.

Wagamama takes good care of modern fast food aestathics, which is something I really enjoy. The menues looked like something made by a Google web designer. The air condition was wonderful in the heat and personell were very professional. An hour after the dinner i realized that I had forgotten something valuable there. When I got there again they handed me my stuff and told me that shouldn’t have worried – not a chance that anything forgotten would be lost there. That was a nice touch.

But the food was definitely a bit awkward for us. My fried noodles we ok, but my friends boiled noodles were a bit too strange for someone who hasn’t grown up with noodles. But I guess I will give the one more chance, someday.

Cremeria Milano, uno gelato di Milano.

Italian gelato is legendary. Nothing compares to it imho, even Haagen Dazs stays pale in comparison so when a new gelato shop opens up in our beloved city, trust me to be the first one queuing up to taste and judge the creamy goodness prepared a-la-italienne. Swing by Cremeria Milano which is situated towards Tunel, Taksim and experience the gelato first hand and don’t forget to thank me for giving you such a good address! I wonder if they’d rent me a room in their back yard..

(one ball: 3YTL two balls:5YTL)

Cremeria Milano 0212-245-50-64
Asmali Mescid Mahallesi Istiklal Caddesi 342 Beyoglu

Fish Under the Bridge

Ever since setting my sights on Istanbul, I have had one thing in mind: to have a fish in between bread with tomato and beer. Today I had that under the Korpru(sp?) bridge.

For five lira(would have been more if not for the aid of my Turkish friend), and that made me very happy. I am a big fan of street food(witness my obsessions with bacon wrapped hot dogs). I know that it probably seems dumb and basic to most of you out there reading this, but really it made my day.

Cemre Kebap

IMG_2934.jpg Cemre Kebap
I am treading in dangerous territory here…in Istanbul for just 3 months and already a food critic (well, let’s make that a food “fan”). Leaving Southern California and the vast array of gastronomian (my own word) delights, I thought we had seen and tasted it all. Wow, my wife is right again, I was wrong. We have been overwhelmed by the quality and succulence of the local food. While we are a big “eat at home” family…I have been seduced by a little cafe down the street.
Enter “Cemre Kebap” in Kazasker, just off Minibus Yolu and right across the street from the Kazasker Camii. This little eatery has blown my epicurean doors in and I am loving every minute of it.
This is where the “danger” comes in: first, our limited experience here is sure to show up in our naivety of truly local or authenticate culinary styles. And, my once lithe form is suffering from the repeated onslaught of Alti Ezmeli, Iskender Kebap and the most succulent and savory Fistikli Kebap I have ever tasted.
IMG_3068.jpg A Full Veranda Every Evening
This café has a great veranda and a charming interior, but I would have to say it is the management and clientele that create the atmosphere that makes this such a cool place to hang out. The portly owner takes his frequent (and generous) meals at a table reserved for he and his cronies. However, if I am nearby while he is eating, he orders me to sit at his table, hands me a clean fork, and has me eat off his plate. That is the “Golden Fleece” in this community, for his plate always holds something that is not offered on the daily menu. Even his cronies look with envy as I sample these forbidden delights. Our ravenous family of four can eat, drink and çay ourselves for well under 25 YTL.

Want to hook up? Cemre Kebap, Şakacı Sokakö No 93/3, Kazasker, Kadikoy (0216) 380 36 20

More praise for Istanbul

An Istanbul lover Di welcomes the summer in Istanbul. A good, nostalgic take on Istanbul!
Iain Mayhew from Daily Mirror praises Istanbul’s history, culture, food and Nighlife.

Breakfast in Beyoglu


Now that i have a regular job (i.e., i have to get up early, be seen in the office between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and drink lots of coffee) after having worked freelance for more than three years, my breakfast routine has been compromised. i am not a big fan of food, i just eat whatever i find when i am hungry, but i rarely miss breakfast and “breakfast time” used to be my precious hour of the day in my freelance days. during the first weeks of the new job, i really tried hard to be content with the pogaca (a lump of foul fat and “too-soft-to be-true “dough) of simit sarayi and felt lousy the whole day. then i came across the tadim soguk sandwich people.

bambi strikes khalkedon

legendary taksim hangover meeting point; bambi, is in kadikoy finally. located just next to last stop restaurant and opposite of haldun taner theatre, kasarli durum forever!

although we have lost the championship, here is just another reason to stay anatolian, heh.

starbucks coffee birthday magnet

starbucks coffee birthday magnet

yesterday was starbucks coffee‘s 3rd birthday in turkey. but i recently noticed istiklal dunkin’ donuts closed again. *sigh*

Umami – Lovable kebabs at high prices.

Umami is a kebab restaurant located in Etiler. I went there with friends a couple of days ago and simply loved it!
Etiler being what it is, the prices are very high because they cater to the rich and famous but the meat is excellent and the service is very very good. When you arrive, they seat you and then bring to your table a big tray of mezes from which you chose (4-5YTL per meze (approx)) and then you get to chose which kebab you would like to eat. Try not to fill yourself up with the mezes (even tho they are delicious) and have a try at the various kebabs that are offered on the menu. I had a “Cartlak kebabi” (liver) which was beyond words. I’m yet to try something that’s not good at that restaurant. Prices for kebabs range from 11YTL to 15YTL. You can also order online if you live around Etiler on
Contact number for umami: 0212/279.74.74
address: Nisbetiye Caddesi No21 34330 1.Levent Istanbul

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