Insider Tips for Savvy Turkish Travel

Turkey Travel Blog

Foodie Walks in Istanbul. The Options Keep Increasing!

One of our favorite colleagues has just added a Bosphorus foodie walk that includes legendary kaymak in Besiktas and visiting some great spots in the villages along the Bosphorus, north of Besiktas. Sounds like alot of fun!  We have other colleagues who offer walks in Asian Kadikoy to explore the wonderful food market there and sample lots of delicious things.  Cooking classes can follow that option.  Or, a foodie guided tour that takes in treasures in the Old City and then crosses the Bosphorus and explores Kadikoy.  Or, a ramble through Beyoglu, or, even a night time 'kebab crawl'.  Talk with us!  We can also help you map out your own independent day of delicious discovery.

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Considering a Gulet Cruise this summer? There is still time.

We just recieved an email from our favorite gulet company in Turkey.  They still have some availability for Gocek to Gocek cruises and other five to seven day routings this summer and through September.  So if you would love to have a sublimely relaxed experience with a small group of friends or family, consider a gulet cruise.  The wooden boats are beautiful, you have lots of time to enjoy sailing among small islands and along the rugged Mediterranean coast, you stop for blissful swims in secluded coves and enjoy three freshly cooked meals a day plus a break for tea in the afternoon.

Everything a vacation should be!  Call or email me (781 391 6183 or if we can help connect you with a gulet vacation. It is an excellent choice and surprisingly affordable for a top quality boat, with crew, with private bathrooms-- comfortable cabins and decks made for lounging.

I can email images of what some of these gulets look like.  They are beautiful boats!



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Kashif Sofa. A Treasure Trove for Antiques, Decorative Objects, Art

I always learn from my clients.  In late May while shopping in the Old City, on our way to the gorgeous Armaggan shop on Nuruosmaniye Cd. just outside one of the Grand Bazaar entrances, Barbara noted that she wanted to stop in Sofa.  I had read about the shop but nothing prepares you for the marvelously eclectic collections of contemporary art, Ottoman Caligraphy and paintings, furnishings, jewelry, objet's d'art and collectibles by the trunkload.  The shop is run by a gentle and knowledgeable man who clearly has labored to be counted in the 'ten best' antiques stores in Istanbul.  But Sofa is such a trove-- three floors of treasures. Take your time, explore the store, you will inevitably be intrigued by something or many somethings--- this is a very special place.

NuruOsmaniye Caddessi, 53 A.  Nearest tram stop is Cembertlas.


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Some up to date 'foodie' tips for the Old City

Agreed, the Old City in Istanbul is not the creative foodie mecca that Beyoglu is, or the Galata area, or the hip communities up the Bosphorus like Bebek.  But, since most visitors stay in the Old City and often look for a good place for dinner within walking distance I set out to find some reliably good spots on my May '14 tour.

First, Amedros.  This restaurant is in the area just off the Sultanahmet tram stop that is a warren of tiny streets lined with restaurants catering to visitors.  However, Amedros takes its cooking seriously and offers a large menu of updated Turkish and sort of pan-Mediterranean dishes. Prices are moderate, the quality is very good, and at least on the night we went, the service was excellent. Nice wine list, beers, the usual, available. Amedros is on the lane opposite the MacDonalds on Divanyolu--- the street the tram runs along.  Walk slightly up hill from the Sultanahmet tram stop, look for the MacDonalds on the left, turn right and Amedros is just in from the corner. 

Second, Sultans Kosesi (Sultans Corner).  At the intersection of Kucuk Aya Sophia and Tavukhane Sokak (just off the entrance to the Arasta Bazaar), this restaurant is greatly improved from its former basic kebab and mezzes self.  I went one night along wanting a light meal after a large lunch at my beloved Asitane (out by the Chora Church) and was very pleased with a delicious cold mezze platter.  At 29 lira it was not a cheap meal, but in reality that is about $14 and there were six mezzes, each very good.  The salads looked gorgeous and there is a full menu of the normal Turkish range--- kebabs, grilled fish, soups. It is lovely to sit outside at night and see a full on view of the Blue Mosque looming above.

Third, Nar Lokanta in the Armaggan store on Nurusomaniye Cd. near the Grand Bazaar remains excellent. The food is traditional Turkish but cooked with the best quality ingredients and offers lots of choices. Nar has an exceptional wine list of over 100 very good Turkish wines so wine lovers should definitely have a meal there.  During the day Nar serves in a traditional lokanta style with prepared dishes (and a vast buffet of desserts).  At night the place is quieter since this is not a residential area but a mercantile one. The tables are set with white tablecloths and you order from the larger menu.  Not at all stuffy, and for the quality of food Nar is a great deal.  Most mains are in the 25-38 lira range, starters vary.  Prices are not different than many of the more touristy places in Sultanahmet with vastly inferior food.

More to come-- I will share some more eating and shopping finds in upcomming posts.







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