Saturday, April 23, 2011

Impressions of Istanbul 2

Though I was fairly convinced I would find something tasty in the food of Istanbul, Nick’s rather conservative tastes were another thing, especially as he is not much into salads or cheese.
Our first night, jet lagged, we wandered out of the hotel early evening, through a local bazaar and found this very large restaurant, Muradan, complete with chandeliers and a view out over the sea. It was far too cold for the roof terrace but inside was fine.
The waiter was very friendly and happily provided gorgeous puffy pita bread rolls that they baked themselves. Nick ordered a shish kebab and I had a lamb skewer of minced lamb with spices and chili. No alcohol so I had a pomegranate juice which was delicious, tart and refreshing. The fresh fruit platter Nick had was a delight. My quince dish was very sweet, almost a jam. Home to sleep off the jet lag.

My lamb skewer and pomegranate juice

The food varied a bit but was mostly delicious and Nick surprised himself with the variety he ordered and enjoyed. Just a word, if you get a good look at the menu and nothing appeals, leave. We got caught at the “Cosy Pub” with atrocious pizza and an open chicken sandwich that was covered in white sauce. After that we stuck to local food and did well. Food such as pide and kofte were more than acceptable and I just once gave in to sweets.

Katafi and pistachio with Turkish coffee

One evening we were recommended to go to a street of fish restaurants near the fish markets. We were taken there and back by mini-van for free and so were a bit apprehensive, especially when we saw this brightly lit street and the menus with pictures and in different languages. However, the fish was outstanding, beautifully cooked and simple. We shared a garlic shrimp entree, then Nick had salmon and I had sea bream. We both finished with ice cream which was dense and tasty. Food cost about 60 Turkish Lira or about $37aud. Wine, unfortunately, cost about the same. It is very expensive in 
 Istanbul and not very tasty.


Kalamar fish restaurant at Kumkapi

Walking down the street you see windows just stuffed with food, often sweet, but sometimes fast food for the hungry workers. Everything looks fresh and bright and clean.

Various sweet things
Take away puddings and cakes
Take away meals
Nuts and Turkish delight

In the Spice Bazaar the variety of foods, spices and other comestibles continued and spilled out onto the streets. The weather was foul, cold and rainy, so we were happy to be undercover.

Umpteen varieties of caviar
Various spices

And still more spices
Rosebuds for rose tea
Amazing varieties of fish
aphrodisiacAnd for monsieur…
The Grand Bazaar was full of carpet shops and salesmen who really, really wanted to show you carpets, “maybe just a small one, we ship anywhere, be there when you arrive” type invitation. We responded with lots of smiles and “No thank you’s”. Apart from carpets, which I dared not show an interest in, there were shoes and lights, jewels, gold, tea sets, powdered teas such as apple tea (yummy) linen and boxes and piles of Turkish Delight.

Children’s shoes

Turkish slippers

Gold bangles galore
Pretty lights
Embroidered boots
Dolls for sale

antique silver
Antique silver
Turkish delight boxes, tea sets, soap

So the food, street and market scenes of Istanbul gave us great pleasure, really a whole new world.
Next episode, the glorious buildings, art history and archaeology displays.


  1. I wanted to buy and take home some of those pretty lights the first time I saw them at Grand Bazaar. I swear they'll look perfect in our balcony or veranda in the province. The problem was shipping. Waaah!

  2. And, I believe, getting bulbs to fit them anywhere but Turkey.