I recently embarked on a journey to one of the most incredible places on earth, Turkey. With its rich architectural heritage and oriental inspired traditions, I was taken by its magnificence.
I had to compile a food diary for you all, as Turkey has become a popular travel destination and I find it comforting to be familiar with your surroundings when travelling.
As a foodie, I wanted to eat everything. And I probably did. Turkey has multiple cultural influences, there are ottoman influences, Middle Eastern influences and of course Turkish influences. Ottoman cuisine consists of meat and fruit and Turkish cuisine consists of a combination of meat and vegetable. You will also come across a variety of mezze style dishes, and there will be bread wherever you go!
Street food is a popular culture in Turkey , with carts of roasted corn and chestnuts at every corner and the famous Turkish style bagel “simit”. Which can be filled with Nutella, cheese or cinnamon (I prefer it plain or nutella filled, with a cup of tea or coffee). I also came across a sweet Goolab Jamun type dessert in the spice souk. It’s called lokma, these crisp fried pastries are drenched in syrup and is a must try.
We stayed in the Sultan Ahmet area, which is in close vicinity to the Blue mosque and the Topkapi palace. I loved that we chose to stay in this area, as I was told by the hotel concierge that due to the proximity of the Mosque, the restaurants in the area all serve halaal meat. However if you have any doubts they will gladly present a halaal certificate for you.
Some of the best restaurants that we dined at were located specifically on one street, just a kilometre away from the blue mosque. I loved the vibe of the area as well as the quality of the food served. It is located centrally near the Sura Hotel.
We dined at NAR – steak and doner, 3 out of 5 nights that we were there. They have multiple awards for service and excellence which they did not fail to serve to us. We especially loved their version of a special Turkish meal, Testi Kebap Kuzu. Which is your choice of beef, chicken or mutton kebabs cooked in a clay pot with a gravy like sauce and vegetables. I loved it, especially because it’s accompanied by theatrics! On our second dinner the hubby ordered a T bone steak which is served sizzling on a cast iron plate for you to “cook” to your liking, it was an exceptional quality of dry aged beef served with a side of vegetables. I loved their shakshuka and stuffed aubergines which you can order individually off their mezze menu.
Another favourite of mine would be the Mihri café and restaurant located outside the AyaSofya hammam in the centre court of the sultan Ahmet area. We had breakfast and lunch on different occasions and I enjoyed every dish! I ordered the menemen, which is scrambled eggs in a tomato and green pepper sauce, and the pan fried eggs with pepperoni which were both amazing! They serve a variety of pizzas and wraps on their lunch menu and I highly recommend them! Another plus is that they don’t serve alcohol, unlike many of the other restaurants ,and are therefore strictly halal.
When visiting a restaurant in turkey, don’t hesitate to ask them to see their menu, but most of the places offer you to look at their menus. When choosing your meals, ask them what their most popular dishes are. If you’re not a fan of a strong meaty flavour in your mutton, I suggest you stick to beef and chicken options. Most of the restaurants do serve pasta just in case you’re not feeling adventurous.
Look out for part 2 of my food diary!
check my instagram page for updates and vlogs of my trip!