1. Take a bite of the delicious SIMIT.
Turkish people are famous for their breads and what could be better than a Simit ( a Turkish bagel) which is round in shape and has sesame seeds on top to give the perfect crunch. You can have this with chocolate or any other filling (I prefer the classic plain one) with hot Turkish tea or coffee. You also get cinnamon rolls, churros , roasted chestnuts and boiled corn on the streets. This is easily available everywhere or you could buy them the Simit sarayi shops. It tastes exactly same, the only difference being simit sarayi could toast the simit for you to make it extra crunchy. Cost of simit here is 5lira while on the street it is 1.5lira.
2. Have Turkish Tea/ Coffee
Tea is an integral part Turkish cuisine and rightly so. No meal is complete till the time you’ve had a sip of your tea. It is served in those small cute tulip shaped glasses and even though I am not much of a tea/coffee person I came back being addicted to Turkish tea. It comes in different flavors such as apple, pomegranate, ginger with apple being my favorite. You could have this with or without sugar depending on your taste. This can be the perfect thing for you to take back home for your friends and family
3. Dine at Nusr-Et Sandal Bedesteni
If you are a steak lover you cannot miss this place. It is owned by the renowned Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe also popularly known as the iconic salt bae. The ambiance is cool and the staff is friendly and attentive. From juicy burgers to steaks this place will satisfy all your taste buds. The restaurant has various branches across the city so choose one nearest to your place. The place is always full so make sure you have reservation before coming in avoid waiting in long queues. Some may find it a bit over priced but it’s worth the experience and don’t forget to order baklava with ice cream which is the BOMB !!! If you want a detailed review of the restaurant check here
4. Have a taste of ottoman cuisine.
They say the best way to experience culture is through their food. The rich Turkish culture reflects well in their cuisine through their various kebabs, grills and more. Although It has more of meat based dishes there are options for vegetarians as well. Every locality has their own signature dish. The sultana-met area has their famous köftesi (grilled meat balls). You will see Turkish women in shops making traditional gözleme (Turkish flatbread) in front of you on open stove to serve It hot. This gözleme can be filled with cheese, meat , spinach or any filling of your choice. Then there are Turkish pidde (pizza) Donner kebabs (shredded meat ) in a roll and if you are a in a mood for some delicious meat then order a mixed grilled platter which serves a variety of kebabs, meat balls and lamb chops.
5. Turkish delight and dessert at Hafeez Mustafa.
Hafeez Mustafa is a famous pastry shop in Istanbul which has been around for 150 years. It is famous for its dessert and lives up to all the hype around it . The two most well known Turkish desserts are baklava and kanafeh. Baklava is a Turkish pastry filled with pistachios. You either try a whole baklava platter with different variations or the classic pistachio one. Kanafeh is a thin semolina pastry filled with either cream or cheese and best eaten when it is served hot. They also serve various other desserts from milk pudding to baked chicken breast pudding (yes u heard it right). During rush hours there might be a long queue of people waiting to just sit inside and have their favorite dessert with tea. You will always see people rushing in and out of the shop to take their favorite dessert in boxes back home. Your trip to istanbul might be just be incomplete without having a bite so don’t miss them.
Have you visited Istanbul? What was the best thing you has there ?