An esnaf lokantası, is a restaurant that only serves up classic home cooked dishes for the working man. Hünkar has been around since 1950 serving the best examples of these esnaf dishes in a clean and modern atmosphere. Walk up to the cafeteria style display and choose from the day’s dishes, with favorites including kadınbudu köfte (meatballs with rice dipped and fried in egg batter), su böreği (moist pastry filled with cheese), and patlıcanlı kuzu incik (tender leg of lamb enclosed in eggplant).
Mim Kemal Öke Caddesi No.21/1 Nişantaşı, +90 212 225 46 65
Karaköy Lokantası has been packed every weekend since it opened in 2000. Their secret is simply to serve traditional Turkish fare with a more modern twist, using excellent ingredients. With two separate menus for lunch and dinner, the restaurant features a home cooked classics lunch menu and a more tavern-like dinner menu featuring various meze and grilled fish. We’ve always been fonder of lunch at Karaköy Lokantası including the gorgeous hünkar beğendi (slow cooked beef on a bed of smoky eggplant puree), the ızgara köfte (grilled meatballs), and the tahinli muhallebi (mastic pudding with tahini).
Kemankeş Caddesi No.37A Karaköy, +90 212 292 44 55
Gönül isterdi ki hafif bi salatayla öğleni geçirelim ama Karaköy Lokantası'nın hünkar beğendisi reddedilemez! Kırmızı et ağır gelir derseniz tavuk soteden yapılan versiyonu da gayet güzel. Bu arada doğal karaköy yoğurdunu da şiddetle tavsiye ediyorum👍 #karaköy #istanbul #foodporn #instafood #instagram #yemek #delicious #lezzet #instagram #instamood #gourmet #cuisine #yum #foodie #foodstagram #foodblogger #eat #eating #like4like #likeforlike #lunch #lunchtime #instaphoto #instagrammers #picoftheday #shotoftheday #foodie #foodpic
Meze, small made-to-share dishes served before the main meal, have become a staple of the Turkish kitchen and Meze by Lemon Tree has become an expert at serving experimental versions. Instead of the classic meze you’ll find sea bass ceviche with lime juice and grapefruit or fried sweet pepper filled with cheese and pistachios, as well as excellent grilled meats (lamb with beetroot and potatoes is the winner).
Meşrutiyet Caddesi No.83/B Tepebaşı, +90 212 252 83 02
When I was planning to come to Istanbul, folks told me to be sure to check out meze, Turkish small plates, which can start or replace the full meal. From top left, the corned beef (or something similar), pickled peppers & veg, sea bream whitefish salad, peppers stuffed with a blue cheese-like feta and smoked salmon. By the time we got through these, it was clear our main course would end up in a to go bag. These were too good to just snack on. – @ultraclay #FRTakeover