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As a local I must say that most of the choices here are geared towards tourists around Sultanahmet area, and while they will give you a good idea of Turkish cuisine and serve you well, they are not necessarily the "best" places to go to.
You need to understand Istanbul is a huge city, and many of the places I write below might too far for you to bother.


Arnavutkoy will have great options. go to VIRA VIRA for a more expensive meal (depending on choice of fish and drinks it will be between 75 to 150 TRL per person). They will have all sorts of Turkish Meze and fish there. For cheaper Turkish fish restaurants you can do TAKANIK or ADEM BABA, they will be much cheaper, will have many of the fish choices except the very expensive ones, but do not serve alcohol. These two are more fast food type, so dont go there for mezes or atmosphere.

Unlimited amount of great kebap places in Istanbul. Develi- Yuzevler- Kosebasi- Tike are all good kebap chains with higher quality restaurant settings and many locations. look for the closest one online. They will cost 50-100 TRL per person.

Turkish Food and Meat restaurants:
Tugra in Ciragan Kempinski will be the most expensive and most Michelin-like Turkish cuisine restaurant, expect 150 TL and above depending on choices.
Borsa restaurant in Nisantasi or Istinye Park, Hunkar and Gelik are all good options with 50 to 100 TRL per person.
Beyti is by far the oldest and best meat restaurant in Turkey, think Turkish steakhouse with many Turkish specialties such as Doner. Near the airport.

Turkish Taverns:

Asmalimescit in Beyoglu area is the go to neighborhood for this and very close to Sultanahmet district. There are many choices of taverns here where you will get a choice of mezes, some meat and fish choices. In my opinion food will be generally mediocre. But the crowded tavern and drinking can be best seen here.

For street food you must try stuffed mussels that are sold on the streets. Also try fried mussels or lamb intestines KOKOREC (sounds gross but tastes amazing) . You can find them at chains like Sampiyon.

Do try and make it to Rumelihisari area on the Bosphorus, enjoy the view and eat a tradional Turkish breakfast. Try the Borek choices etc.

This is all I can think of now, let me know if you have question

Nov 14, 2012
mmemch in Europe

Tokyo Review

First of all I would like to thank all chowhound posters for their excellent recommendations. If it wasnt for them I wouldnt have been able to eat at some of these amazing restaurants. In 5 days my wife and I went to Sushi Yoshitake, Sushi Sawada, Kyubei, Dons de la Nature, Mon Cher Ton Ton Rappongi and 7chome.


All were excellent as expected. But my experience in Sawada was by far the best, and miles ahead of the other two. The quality of his ingredients, the amount of food he offers and his general presentation of what he offers were all amazing. Yoshitake has some different dishes and tastes, and I enjoyed his sushi rice very much. Definitely worth going also. Kyubei is your high class, high standart sushi shop. But it is not an "experience" in my opinion. Maybe better for lunch.

Dons de lan Nature did offer the best steak I ever tasted. The steak itself was I believe the best in the world, and his seasoning and cooking made it even better. One word of advice. 400 gr's of tenderloin is too much for even a person like me who can eat 1kg in one sitting :) The fat is just too much to handle. I did enjoy the fillet much more (shared 1 of each with my wife).

Mon Cher Ton Ton Rappongi was also a very nice dining experience. It was great for teppenyaki, had very high quality food and overall is a great place to spend an evening. They do offer a variety of dishes so don't just think of it as steak, lobster and shrimps.

7chome: This is the only place I have a hard time justifying the cost. Do not get me wrong. It is amazing tempura. The fig tempura and quail egg tempura will always remain in my heart as well as some others. But after 35,000 Yen this was the only place I left with the question "Was this worth it?"

In general I think Tokyo is the top food location in the world for me after spending 5 days there. The attention given to what they cook and the perfectionism of Japanese people in general make everything so much better than elsewhere. At one point I was offered a cucumber and thought " My god this is amazing".

Again thanks for all the recommendations.

Jun 03, 2012
mmemch in Japan

Going to Sawada and Yoshitake Sushi, my wife doesnt eat sushi! PLEASE HELP

thank you for your suggestions. i have reserved the sushi restaurants for 1 now so that everything goes easier.

May 19, 2012
mmemch in Japan

Going to Sawada and Yoshitake Sushi, my wife doesnt eat sushi! PLEASE HELP

i would eat her portion and double the expense. my main issue is how the chef would react to that. i dont want to be offensive to the chef and his art by making someone sit there not eat anything and the person next to her eats all her food.

May 15, 2012
mmemch in Japan

Going to Sawada and Yoshitake Sushi, my wife doesnt eat sushi! PLEASE HELP

Ok here is the deal,

I love sushi and want to taste the best while on a vacation in Tokyo. My wife cant touch it even if I put a gun to her head. But dinners at these two locations usually take some time and she wants to come with me, drink a few things, hang out, and let me eat her food as well if necessary and we pay for two.

I am afraid this would offend the chefs greatly but I would prefer not going alone so I am stuck.

Can you give me any suggestions as to what I might encounter, and how should go with this,

May 15, 2012
mmemch in Japan