I wish I could mark my travels in Turkey with photos of my food experiences. They’d represent the meals slowed down by conversation after a long day of sightseeing, the startling views from the rooftop terraces, and the gift of having homemade soup 5000 miles away from home. The thing is, it takes dedication to photograph meals enjoyed while travelling and most of the time I was too busy savouring the food and the company to take out my camera. So I have my memories and even though these don’t represent all my favourite meals, they still represent my happy travels through Turkey.
Corn Salad from Kadi Lokantasi in Kadıköy. I went into this lokanta because the food looked good from the window, it was busy at 3pm, and there is plenty of seating. I ordered this corn salad and a chicken dish (9 TL total). Not very adventurous, I know, but it was delicious and filling and exactly what I needed at the time. I was nervous about ordering and eating by myself without knowing the language, so it was nice to be able to order by pointing and quickly sit down with food. This also meant I could promptly get back to exploring the seemingly endless store lined streets in downtown Kadıköy.
Lokma from Cart Outside New Mosque in Istanbul. Warm deep-fried dough drenched in honey to be enjoyed among the bustling weekend crowd outside the Spice Bazaar. The Spice Bazaar is part of the New Mosque Complex, which is my favourite spot in the city. I felt like I was in the centre of it all—among families celebrating the sunshine, friends finding weekend fun, and other tourists experiencing the city for their first time or their tenth. (3TL from Osmanli Lokmacisi.)
Chicken Stew in Clay Pot from Bizim Ev in Avanos. The restaurant, Avanos, and the entire Cappadocia region is a trip. Walking around this restaurant, my hotel, and Avanos felt like a confusing and fun adventure because every time I turned a corner, I felt like I was somewhere new. I was too tired and hungry by the time I got to Bizim Ev to remember the food but the restaurant has atmospheric indoor and outdoor seating, lots of wine options, our server was great and my travel mates were keen to return. (17TL for the stew, I’d order something else.)
Minced Meat Pide in Selçuk. The pide is from a restaurant in the tourist area by the aqueduct arches. It wasn’t my favourite meal in Selçuk but a trip to Turkey wouldn’t be complete without trying pide fresh from the oven. (About 7TL for the pide from Tat Cafe Restaurant – other great food options, funny/friendly owner, and lovely house made bread).
House Meatballs from Trak Restaurant in Tekirdağ. These meatballs were amazing! The meat was tender and contained the perfect combination of spices. This really took me by surprised because the restaurant is attached to a gas station. Instead of taking photos of the restaurant or view I took this odd photo of a donkey (on the lower level outside the restaurant) but it really is an attractive restaurant with a tranquil seaside view. (12TL for the meatballs, good options for side dishes | Trak on Foursquare.)
Seafood Casserole from Anatolia Cafe and Restaurant in Istanbul. Slightly upscale atmosphere with food options that should fit everyone’s taste and friendly service—this restaurant is a good choice for visitors in Sultanahmet. The best part is that everyone in my group felt welcome as we laughed away the evening. (About 30TL for the casserole, coffee/tea on the house is a nice way to end a meal | TripAdvisor.)
Pistashio Kebab from Ocean’s 7 in Istanbul. This restaurant is on a touristy street near many hotels so I was apprehensive before going in but it was a nice choice for my last lunch in Turkey. We sat 3 1/2 levels up and were bathed in sunshine, which besides meaning I was 4 1/2 levels away from the washroom, was quite lovely. The view is not the best (there are a lot of great views in Istanbul) but it was a comfortable place to eat, I appreciated the cute plating, and like all my other food experiences in Turkey, I can’t imagine having it any other way. (19.50TL for the kebab, bread basket had an interesting variety of bread, good drink options | TripAdvisor.)