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Not sure where to put this. Is Turkey in Europe? Eurasia, maybe? Do we have a spot for Eurasia?   At any rate, I'm going to be spending a week in Istanbul this coming May. I've never been the

Between here and Taksim square I can get today's turkish delight, fresh squeezed pomegranate juice, kaymak, burek, kokorec, doner, simit, turkish ice cream, fresh black sea or Mediterranean fish, kell

Jaymes, I will be happy to help with Israel, but you should start a new thread under Middle East.

It's funny, I just met a Turkish fellow visiting Mexico City and he claims that less than half of modern Turkey now wants to be part of the EU. He personally didn't consider his country European, even though I assumed he was German before we started talking. He seemed to think young Turkey in particular didn't want to be part of the EU.

 

Since the religious contingent tends to have 4x as many children, it stands to reason that young Turkey would not want that.

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Of course, there's the existing Istanbul thread. Thirty five pages of fun and excitement.

 

Just to note, so the Admins don't think their lives are too easy, that this now-merged thread doesn't even cover the bulk of the Istanbul commentary on MF.

 

I figured that moving this topic into the mideast and africa forum would bring the several Istanbul threads under the same roof. I don't think we'd gain anything by combining the threads, though.

 

 

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  • 9 months later...

Just booked flights for Turkey - staying in an apartment in Cihangir while we are in istanbul - already discovered Istanbul Eats thanks to you guys. Anyone have any names for high end kebab places like those described here but more up to date reccs?

 

Thoughts on Ephesus and the Coast for hotels?

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Just booked flights for Turkey - staying in an apartment in Cihangir while we are in istanbul - already discovered Istanbul Eats thanks to you guys. Anyone have any names for high end kebab places like those described here but more up to date reccs?

 

I wouldn't worry much about getting updated recommendations, I don't think the kebab house scene evolves very quickly. Some of the same places I went 13 years ago are still in business and regularly mentioned among the best options.

 

You could try emailing Vedat at his new blog (Gastromondiale) to ask for more up to date info if you want to.

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  • 2 months later...

Sooo... Just back from a little more then two weeks in Turkey, a week in Istanbul then 10 days working our way from Izmir to the Lycian Coast (Fetihye, et al)

 

Istanbul - Just an exhausting city. Our apartment was in Cihangir, which was a great location. Just about at the end of the tram line that takes you to the big tourist spots on the other side of the Halic/Golden Horn (sultanahmet et al) while in easy walking distance of the fleshpots of Galata. We also found that after a few days it was great to checkout the neighborhoods up hard against the Bosporus - Besiktas, Ortakoy, Arnautvakoy, and to a lesser extent Bebek.

 

Eating wise - like everyone else here we relied a bunch on the Istanbul Eats guide, we also did their eating tour of the Old city - which was pretty good, but a totally overwhelming amount of food. To elaborate on a prior point - these guys are uber-chowhoundy - in that the conversation I had with our tour leader about higher end places was rather dismissive of the concept - and I'm not talking about Michelin stars, but rather table cloths et al. Their suggestions were also supplemented by some ideas from friends of friends who live in town. Particularly well done was a high-end fish place (Eftalya) in Arnautvakoy where we paid a quite high tariff to eat non-farmed sea bass and excellent meze amongst a big crowd of wealthy Istanbul families. The same person who took us there sent us to fancy kebab place in the Levent.4. Frankly while Eftalya was worth the tariff, the Kebab place was not when compared to places like Zubeyir (where weirdly, having picked it out of the Istanbul Eats book rather than from Orik's post, it was also our first meal in Istanbul). A particularly nice morning was spent checking out the Rumeli Hisari out past Bebek and having breakfast on a terrace at "Kaya" just across a two lane road from the Bosporus. Other places we ate well was some random Mehane off of Istikal that specialized in thinly sliced, chicken-fried liver that was just delicious (really how couldn't that be?). We also went to Ciya -where really it can be stressed enough how much of a low-key place it is, but the food was excellent once the ordering procedure is explained to you. Actually maybe the coolest thing I tried on the whole trip was the array of candied fruit, veg, and green nuts they had. The Walnuts had an amazing texture. Other highlights was a Kofte stand right by the dock in Arnautvakoy, and a Doner we had on the Istanbul eats tour that was layers of lamb, eggplant, and peppers, very thinly sliced served on a small length of light crispy bread. We also checked out a few of the Laz places around town, and were quite happy with what we ate. Really didn't have a bad meal, but we had lots of very casual meals. I don't need to see yogurt again for a while. I'm quite tired of Meze actually.

 

Other dining notes - drank Efes with everything - I hate anise so Raki is out, and all of the wine we tried was very modern in style. Guess that's what happens when you kick out the culture that drinks wine, but hey...

 

Generic comments - Yeah, its a tough city to be a tourist in. Had three different cabbies try to rip us off in very obvious ways, and I suspect many more took "interesting" routes to our final destination. Need to always count your change, etc. By the end of the time in Istanbul I had taken on a quite aggressive posture with respect to shenanigans like this, going so far as to grabbing a police officer when a cab driver tried to mouth off to me when I refused to pay a fare inflated by his decision to take the great circle route.

 

There was an election going on, and its quite a heated thing in Istanbul, with much of the moneyed class being violently opposed to the current ruling party, but lots of weird score-settling and manipulation going on behind the scenes evidently. Interesting to note the very different rates of head coverings in different neighborhoods, and not even purely split upon economic lines (well, the wealthy nabes had 0 across the board, but some of the more normal areas had very different incidence rates)

 

Tourist Sites - A few things - the Church of Holy Savior in Chora/Kariye Müzesi is spectacular and not to be missed. Very much worth the 40 lira or so in cab fares it costs to see. We also spent a day on the Asia side, taking the ferry from Besiktas to Uskudar walking up from the Uskudar ferry landing visiting a bunch of mosques, ending up at the Cinilli Hammam - very much a locals only Hammam - where half the fun is the pantomime of figuring it all out. I was grunted at several times for some lapse of etiquette on the men's side, while my wife met a youngish woman who spoke enough English to guide her along on the other side. After that we grabbed a cab to Kadikoy where we checked out the market and had a late lunch at Ciya, then took the ferry back to Eminonu.

 

You will of course spend plenty of time in Sultanahmet. Really I personally think its best as a place to go to, and then leave as soon as you have seen the sights. Its like if Times Square actually had something interesting in it, but was as equally devoid of locals.

 

Shopping - Lots of cool places to visit in Besiktas, et al. Also more European style stuff going on in Bebek

 

Guidebook - can't recommend highly enough "Strolling through Istanbul."

 

Rest of the trip was great, but not food focused at all, so won't say much. Ephesus and the other major sites between Selcuk and Mugla were great, and if you learn to go late in the day to the big sites you have them virtually to yourself. The Datca peninusla was really lovely as a place to just drive around looking for little isolated beaches to hit, while our three days spent in Faralya were exhausting days traipsing up and doen from seaside up to the ridgeline checking out the beaches and wondering around the Lycian Trail.

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  • 1 year later...

NY Times has a nice write up on the Georges Hotel Galata in Istanbul.

 

Similar to Anthony Bonner's experience, the writer was banged up nicely. By the hotel, this time. Reserved a lovely room but it wasn't available. Expansive breakfast included in the rate.

 

A call downstairs told us that the room we’d reserved was still occupied by a party that had extended its stay and could not be asked to leave. After repeated apologies from the staff and an offer of a 20-euro discount off the rate of a less-expensive room and a bottle of Champagne, we agreed to a room on the second floor with a partial Old City view. It was spacious, with hardwood parquet floors, high ceilings, brass lighting fixtures and a large, inviting bed furnished with white linens and a goose-down duvet. Two flat-screen televisions and an iPod docking station met our electronics needs. The balcony, with a view of a nearby rooftop and a sliver of Topkapi Palace, was large. For a lively part of town, the room was blissfully quiet.

 

http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/travel/hotel-review-georges-hotel-galata-in-istanbul.html?ref=travel

 

Serdar-I Ekrem Sokak 24, Galata; (90) 212-244-2423; georges.com/en

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  • 3 weeks later...

Nice, short piece in the NY Times by Susanne Fowler describing a walking tour of her neighborhood in Istanbul.

 

Take the bus to the Fener / Lighthouse bus stop on the shore road You're a short walk from the Church of St George, seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Continue walking to the "Sellers of Roasted Chickpeas Street", and past it the Yanbol Synagogue,

 

Farther along you'll find mosques, coffee roasters, and a drop dead view of the Topkapi Palace.

 

http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/travel/europe-in-9-walks.html?ref=travel

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  • 8 months later...

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