QUOTE(Slapsie Maxie @ Nov 12 2009, 06:39 PM)
1) take the ferry across to Kadikoy, where you will find some really exceptional places. There is one restaurant called Ciya which I recall being very good.
2) Just under the Galata Bridge (which spans from Europe to Asia) the re are lots of small restaurants selling Balik Ekmek, a sandwich made of freshly grilled mackerel, topped with sharp raw onions and doused with lemon juice. It was one of the great tastes of my trip.
1) Ciya Sofrasi is very good. A dozen or so stews, four of which (eggplant and lamb, cherries and meatballs, "greens", and huge stuffed artichoke hearts) are shown below, a selection of cold meze, a vast variety of kebabs from Ciya Kebap across the street, kunefe that I think was rushed in from a kunefe specialist down the block. Very enjoyable and the owner is extremely serious about preserving Turkish cuisine and using great ingredients (including a mushroom described as a local truffle) without turning it into a michelin star affair. Service, as in many restaurants around town, seems largely focused on avoiding eye contact.
It's useful to read the menu before going:http://www.ciya.com....dex_en.php?menu
2) Let me refine that recommendation a bit. You can certainly sit in one of the cafes under the bridge and drink coffee or tea, but a better bet for a fish sandwich, or fried fish by the kilo, or grilled whole fish is behind the small fish market that's to your right just before getting on the bridge from the Beyoglu side. There are a few makeshift operations that set up shop (a bunch of plastic tables and chairs, a grill, and a deep frier) every day just before lunch time, and one of the stalls in the market itself will sell you balik ekmeks or fried fish. There are many other great options for balik ekmek, including at the ferry port in Kadikoy (the southernmost one) and just north of the port at Besiktas, not to mention all around the Besiktas fish market.
3) Turkish Kokorec is lovely, quite different from the Greek version - simply suet and spices stuffed into intestines, skewered and grilled for a very long time, then chopped and griddled to make it crispy and usually put in bread (although some restaurants also serve whole fried slices). Be sure to get one that just came off the skewer, it becomes significantly less charming when it stands around for hours.
4) Also in the Besiktas market (on Mumcu Bakkal Sokak), Pando's Besiktas Kaymakci serves never-refrigerated Kaymak that the octogenarian owner makes on the spot. (5 liras for Kaymak with honey, bread, cheese, olives, veggies)