The typical cuisine which can be found in Turkey is largely a fusion of Balkan, Central Asian and Middle Eastern food. If you lean towards the veggie side of things, you will find an abundance of choices, a popular example being eggplant. However, there are many rice dishes cooked with meat, vegetables and onions, a popular meat dish being lamb, typically in the form of a kebab. There are also different types of freshly baked bread, some incorporating cheese or meat, then baked or fried. So whatever you prefer, there should be something to suit your taste.
If you are a fan of exciting dishes, head to Istanbul where you will find numerous examples to entice you. Being the largest city in Turkey, you are bound to find something which appeals to your taste-buds. If you would like to see a little culture first, there are many attractions including the famous Blue Mosque and the neighboring Hagia Sophia church.
The famous, historic area of Istiklal Avenue in Beyoglu is an ideal place to sample some of the best restaurants in Istanbul. Here, you can first take in the beautiful architecture of historical Churches, Mosques and others of political significance. Then try some retail therapy at the lovely boutiques and be entertained at the theaters and cinemas. Then when in need of refreshment, Istikal Avenue has many exciting places to eat. If you want a lovely view of the Bosphorus, the restaurant Leb-i Derya offers this, plus traditional Ottoman cuisine which has been modernized, check out its website: http://www.lebiderya.com/.
Another specialty of Istanbul is seafood, which you will find in many places, including Kumkapi, part of the Faith district and south of the Grand Bazaar. In the small plaza here, you will find many seafood restaurants, so take your pick. They can also be found along the shores of the Bosphorus. Also called the Istanbul Strait, this body of water runs through Istanbul. This means that the city is interestingly situated on two continents, Asia and Europe. So, its shores are very populous and feature great seafood as well as traditional Turkish cuisine.
For mainly Mediterranean food in this area, try a fine dining experience at the Reina by going to http://www.reina.com.tr/. This luxury club features plush dining rooms to really relax in. However, if you want something a little simpler, travel to Taksim Square in the heart of Beyoglu. Here you can find an abundance of ‘meyhanes’ or taverns, where you may sample cold starters, called ‘mezes’. In Nevizade Street, you can really find the party and enjoy your holiday freedom.
Istanbul has lots to offer for the traveller. Whether you are interested in architecture or religious history, you will surely find something to make your stay enjoyable. An aspect which must be explored is the cuisine, so decide what you want to eat, find a place and enjoy trying new flavours. For more information please visit My Destination Istanbul, and have a great time!
By Rosalea Collinge