Eating out in ..., Europe, Food, Food on the Road, Travel

Eating Out in Istanbul: Part One

Back in February this year, for my 25th birthday, I got to visit one of my favourite cities. Straddling the Bosphorous strait and being the world renowned point of where East famously meets West, the cultural metropolis of Istanbul provided some of the best food I have ever sampled, anywhere in the world. In the city for five days, I already have a few meals in mind that I am considering giving their own post – they were just that delicious.

Arriving into Istanbul late on a Saturday afternoon, our trek across the city on public transport immediately awakened all of our senses to what culinary delights loomed large over the next few days. Our first point of call on Saturday evening was (not the place we intended to visit – more on that later) the rather bizarrely named, but delightfully delicious Food & Beverage Culture. Eager to get my Mr to try traditional Turkish Pide, as even the best replicas in London simply don’t do them justice, we both opted for the one with a spicy, Turkish sausage topping. As you can see, it had been a very long day, and my #HungryEllie instincts kicked in before my blogger ones and I took a bite before I got a picture! 

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After a good night rest at our wonderful hotel, we headed into the centre of the city on Sunday morning and picked Poika as our first port of call. A humble, speciality coffee shop tucked away from the bustling streets on a tiny alleyway, Poika provided us with with interesting Turkish pastries that were cheese based and very light, as well as toasted Turkish sandwiches, tiny Turkish omelettes and traditional Turkish teas and coffees. The vanilla rooibos is always a favourite of mine and was what I went for. 

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Spending a good seven or eight hours getting lost in the city, before heading back to our hotel we collapsed into a wonderful Turkish restaurant not far from Hagia Sophia, which I believe was called Mahmiye. I say believe because the place did not show up on geo tags, it is not on Google street view at all and none of the pictures of the restaurants in the street resemble the ones I have. Despite this, here we feasted on Tavuk GΓΌveΓ§, which literally translates to chicken casserole. The chicken is cooked with an array of vegetables and Turkish herbs and spices in a guvec pot – a traditional clay pot which is made food proof by a glaze they put on it. We also sampled a Turkish version of a calzone pizza (far more filling and tasty than it might look) and a dish which consisted of more meat and vegetables with rice at the centre, served with some soft, cheesy bread.* Followed by an abundance of complimentary Turkish tea, it is safe to say that this (possibly unnamed little place) was one of my favourites on the trip. 

* Before seeing all of this food, I should probably state that me and my man met up with his brother whilst in Istanbul so if there seems like there is more food than there usually is for the two of us, there was!

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Like any good blogger, before travelling to Istanbul I took in some suggestions of places to sample on my visit. One of the places that came up a number of times from a few different bloggers was Cuma Cafe. Selecting this one for my birthday breakfast on a sunny Monday morning, it was located a 20 minute walk from our hotel, going via the beautiful Galata Tower. Describing themselves as colourful, fresh and ever changing, this little cafe on the hill caters for all sorts of vegan dietary preferences you may have whilst providing typical breakfast for the meat lover as well. Their bread is much denser than bread you may be accustomed to in much of the city. This is because it is made with a heavier wholemeal flour but is still nothing short of yummy. We all opted for a variation of eggs and smoked salmon with two pans of smoked Turkish sausage on the side. You get bonus points if you can spy the Cuma Cafe kitty in the pictures below!

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Later, on my birthday afternoon we made our way to Istiklal Caddesi which is basically Istanbul’s version of Oxford Street. Apparently visited by almost three million people on weekends, the pedestrianised street provides a vast array of shops, boutiques and of course chocolatiers, restaurants and cake shops. 

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With it being my birthday it seemed pretty sinful not to stop at one of the cake shops to grab a slice and the window of Mado drew us inside. The Turkish ice cream brand, founded in 1850 became a global brand in 1991, spanning from Australia and Malaysia to Georgia and The Netherlands. I picked a piece of the most chocolatey, chocolate, chocolate cake ever, dusted with cocoa and drizzled in a slightly bitter chocolate sauce, it was definitely the only slice I needed to turn 25 with.

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With the remainder of my birthday and two other days still to cover, I will leave it here for now – part two coming very soon! Have you ever visited Istanbul? Were you as impressed with the food there as I was?

35 thoughts on “Eating Out in Istanbul: Part One”

    1. That cake was beyond amazing. I get flashbacks of the shop each time I even open my Instagram – I think posting the picture was a bad idea πŸ˜‚ Thank you for reading β™₯️

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  1. I’ve been to Istanbul but only on stopover to other places…..looking at those pictures I think it’s a place I actually need to leave the airport……bring it on😎😍😘

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  2. That was one amazing trip. All the pictures are so good as usual and love your writing ✍🏻, been waiting for you new post.
    P.S I found the kitty in Cuma cafe pictures πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

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    1. 😍 Thank you for reading. Istanbul was one of my favourite trips ever 😏 I’m glad you like the pictures – and my writing style. Thank you as always for reading! The little kitty was savouring some early winter sunshine 🀩

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    1. It was all seriously so good – I had to split it into two posts – everything was just soooooo amazing! I’m glad it was decent food b/c I had hyped it up so much to my partner – luckily it lived up to the expectations! ~:D

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  3. In Istanbul has been one of those places that’s on my bucket list but at the very bottom, however after seeing how amazing that food looks I think I may need to reconsider! I’m in dire need of a foodie holiday! Nice blog btw, your Warsaw piece was very enlightening; I was going to visit this summer after having been to Krakow (which is incredible).

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    1. No way! This city needs to be moved up your list – at least from a foodie holiday point of view. It is one of my favourite cities in the world β™₯ Thank you for reading this and my Warsaw post – I would love to visit Krakow, I loved so much about Poland last year x

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      1. I think it may have to be after seeing the food! May drag the boyfriend and do a weekend visit πŸ€”πŸ˜‚ Krakow is amazing, the food is so cheap and so so good, I remember it fondly most days!

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      2. I went ar Christmas, I assume it’s a similar market to Gdansk; quite small, carriage rides and food stalls? Still a lovely time to visit though but I love any market, I’m easily pleased on that frontπŸ˜‚

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      3. I was really disappointed with the Christmas market in Warsaw but it’s still a lovely city to visit 🀩 That’s why I’d like to go back to Poland b/c the markets look good but I wasn’t impressed with Warsaw and want to give the country another chance πŸ˜‚

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      4. It’s one of those days meant Warsaw said Gdansk, my whole morning is topsy turvy πŸ˜‚ but yes, I definitely think giving it a try is a good idea! I hope Krakow can change your mind when you visit πŸ’•

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  4. WOW and now I’m hungry!! I never knew the food in Istanbul was that good, defiantly not something I would have expected, I always thought of it as a typical city with some cool buildings, shops, history etc but this has opened my eyes! Really cool post!

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    1. I was really hoping that the food in Istanbul lived up to my hype b/c I traveled with my partner and he was super apprehensive about it too. I’m glad my post made you think differently about the city – hopefully you will like it if you ever get to visit β™₯ Thank you so much for reading.

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  5. Wow! This food looks sinply delicious. 😍 Especially the Capone type pizza. I love that you found a cafe that catered to vegans, that’s always something I’m weary of when I travel to other countries, as I have a dairy allergy.

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    1. Thank you 😊 Turkey always has some of my favorite food – I think it’s such an underrated foodie trip! It would be very difficult to find lots of choice in Istanbul for a vegan but hopefully theyll get there soon β™₯οΈπŸ‡ΉπŸ‡· thank you for reading πŸ’›

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