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Istanbul’s Galata neighborhood stands at the epicentre of the Istanbul experience, marrying historic sites with rich cuisine and a vibrant nightlife. From exclusive rooftop bars to local kebab joints, the area offers some of Istanbul’s most refined and internationally acclaimed dining locations alongside popular, simple culinary pleasures. Here is our insider’s guide to the ten best restaurants in trendy Galata.
Although Galata and its neighbouring district of Karaköy are famous for meyhanes, restaurants that focus on meze and raki, Meze by Lemon Tree remains a standout among a sea of indistinguishable competitors. From its chic interior to its smart service, Meze by Lemon Tree offers a traditional meyhane experience with a unique degree of refinement. While the main courses include a select number of elegant yet simple meat and fish dishes, the real event of the meal is the selection of a number of seasonal meze from behind the counter. The degustation menu for two promises to cover all of Meze’s bases, while a bottle of raki to accompany the meze and main course remains a must.
Though Galata is home to a plethora of upscale hotels, restaurants and clubs, institutions like Dürümzade stand as a testament to the varied (and sometimes polarised) demographics of the neighborhood. For those seeking a quick, inexpensive and delicious meal, however, Dürümzade can only be good news. Dürümzade’s namesake dürüm is a beef, chicken or lamb kebab wrapped in a flavorful flatbread and garnished with parsley, onions and tomato. This no-frills place is a hit among locals and foreigners alike, from tourists wandering the back streets of Istiklal Caddesi to late-night clubbers.
Situated atop the Marmara Pera, Mikla undoubtedly offers the most spectacular panorama of the city, sweeping from the Golden Horn to the Bosphorus and the historic peninsula. Open since 2005, Mikla’s head chef Mehmet Gürs announced his manifesto for the New Anatolian Kitchen. This philosophy is reflected in Mikla’s lauded prix-fixe menus which feature organic and ethically sourced ingredients in a range of culturally diverse dishes.