Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Turkey - Istanbul Food

We aren't huge fans of Turkish food, especially The Husband, so we kind of decided to go with more varied cuisines while we were in Istanbul.  We figured our choices would be much more limited to Turkish food when we were in Cappadocia and there's not nearly the amount of restaurants to choose from.

Flamm - We got lost trying to find the restaurant I'd picked out after pouring over Time Out Istanbul.  So we pulled out the Blackberry to search and find another restaurant.  We ended up in a great area of town called Taksim.  This is where the hip Istanbulites come to eat and drink.  Flamm is an Italian restaurant.  I had a fabulous spaghetti carbonara.  The Husband had tagliatelle with pesto.  We both loved our pasta.  The Husband started with a subpar Caprese salad.  The mozzarella was not very good but the tomatoes were delicious.  I had a Turkish pastry which was full of gooey cheese and was very good.  Also, with the bread came a grilled tomato in olive oil with sun-dried tomatoes on top that had an excellent fresh taste.  The meal was a little expensive, mostly because of the wine.  Wine in Turkey is heavily taxed by the government.  Our bottle was one of the cheapest on the menu and was 80 Turkish Lira which is nearly $60.

Alemdar - We went here for lunch since it was about 50 feet from the Hagia Sophia and we were starving.  We knew that we were in tourist territory with likely high prices and mediocre food but it was pretty good.  I had lamb shish and The Husband had meatballs.  The meatballs tasted like little sausages.  The dishes came with grilled tomatoes, what looked to be a grilled pepper, something that looked like onions seasoned with something else, some delicious rice, pancake like things to wrap it all in, and french fries.  The food was decent and they had live traditional Turkish music playing.  I think it's a decent choice if you're in the area.

Picante - We headed back to Taksim for dinner and chose Picante, a Mexican restaurant.  I was impressed with Istanbul's ability to do Mexican.  We started with some chile con queso that was so good I wanted to order another.  I had a plate of chicken nachos that were very good and The Husband had a chicken burrito. Nothing standout besides the chile con queso but solid choices.

Anadolu - We chose our restaurant in this Bosphorus village based on the amount of actual Turkish people sitting there.  All the other restaurants were empty.  We managed to order the fried mussels and the chicken kebabs.  These both came in sandwich form.  The fried mussels were a big fail.  The chicken kebab sandwich was very good though.  It came with tomato, onion, and lettuce on the sandwich along with some great spices.

11 Leblon - Another night in Taksim.  We had another bottle of 80 Lira wine.  The wine may be expensive but it's been very good with each bottle that we get.  For an appetizer I had a trio of 3 mini-samosas.  One had shrimp, one had meat and peas, and another had spinach, roquefort, and walnuts.  Very good.  The Husband had Cajun Chicken Crisps which turned out to be similar to chicken fingers.  He thought they were delicious.  For dinner I had a pasta in roquefort sauce with mushrooms.  The Husband had spinach ravioli with walnuts in a cream sauce which was wonderful.  The best part was our chocolate souffle for dessert.  Amazing.  Probably second only to the chocolate souffle we had in Costa Rica last year.

Orient Cafe - Another round of pasta, this time for lunch.  It was on the way from the Grand Bazaar over to the Blue Mosque and we were starving.  Pastas were cheap and were decent but very greasy.  Even better we weren't hassled to come in the restaurant like almost every other restaurant we passed.

Otto - Another restaurant in the Taksim area.  We were sold on the restaurant because of the cool bar.  We enjoyed a prosciutto platter with green salad (rocket as it's called in Europe) and dried figs (amazing) for an appetizer.  Then we shared a 4-cheese pizza with parmesan, mozzarella, gorgonzola, and emmanthal cheeses.  The pizza was wonderful.

Spinach ravioli at 11 Leblon

Delicious bagel type thing that is sold on the street

There's lamb in here under the wrap


Alemdar Restaurant

Taksim at night

On Saturday night this alley was so packed you could barely get through

Chips and queso at Picante

Nachos at Picante


Turkish tea

Bread at 11 Leblon

Trio of samosas at 11 Leblon

Cajun Chicken Crisps at 11 Leblon

pasta at 11 Leblon

Eating outside at Picante.  They give you blankets because it's freezing.


Insomniac said...

Love those nighttime shots. I love places with a lively night life.

weezermonkey said...

I can't lie -- I'm surprised you ate Mexican food and pasta in Turkey.

HaveShoesWillTravel said...

weezermonkey - You really shouldn't be surprised. Do you remember what happened when I took The Husband for dim sum? He acted like I tried to poison him.