If you're visiting Istanbul, there are hundreds of options for fine dining as well as a multitude Chinese, Italian, Japanese, restaurants popping up around the city. But what is a trip to Istanbul without a traditional Ottoman meal? Here are some of our favourite hearty Turkish delights...
Kebapçı Etiler is the latest venture by famous Turkish meat expert Nusret Gökçe, whose steakhouse Nusr-et recently went international with its first branch in Dubai in early 2015. Kebapçı Etiler has quickly managed to become the talk of the town as an upscale kebab restaurant with an emphasis on quality cuts of meat. We recommend starting with Turkish mezes like içli köfte before moving onto a main course of Adana kebab or döner made with dry-aged beef. For the grand finale, look to none other than the heavenly katmer. etilerkebapci.com.tr
Over the past 25 years, Asitane has made a name for itself as the city’s premier restaurant specialising in Ottoman cuisine. A great deal of historical research goes into each dish, which is presented on the menu with a date as well as a brief description. Located in the boutique Kariye Hotel near the Chora Museum, Asitane serves cold and warm appetisers, rice and pastries, main courses, fish and desserts. asitanerestaurant.com
Galata Kiva is a tourist’s favourite for seasonal Anatolian fare at the foot of the Galata Tower. In addition to soups, mezes and hearty oven-baked dishes, the restaurant also offers plenty of vegetarian options. We recommend ordering a little bit of everything to sample a variety of flavours. You can also purchase ingredients like olive oils and jams from different regions. galatakivahan.com
A time-tested restaurant that’s been around for 65 years, Hünkar Lokantası serves a blend of Ottoman and traditional Turkish dishes at both its Nişantaşı and Etiler locations. You can make your selection from the daily-prepared meals in the food display cabinet or peruse the extensive menu, which even includes a vegan section. Don’t forget to order a glass of rakı to complete the experience. www.hunkarlokantasi.com