This is a big ol’ post so be prepared.
Our first day in Istanbul had been great and we woke up the next day keen for more exploration!
Another wonderful buffet breakfast was laid on at our guest house, with a great view to match.
Note I had another plate of fruit, 3 freshly made pancakes with honey, a plate of home made pastries and cake (hand made by the cooks in the guest house every afternoon!) So good. Too busy eating to take photos of it all oops.
And our little breakfast view over the Bosphorus…
Not bad eh?
Me ready for the day ahead..
Our first stop that day was the cool, damp depths of the the Underground Bascilica Cistern, once an underground storage for water.
Very interesting and a lovely cool escape from the suns heat.
We then head off the the famous Grand Bazaar for a bit of shopping and bartering.
My new hand gear. I tried bartering but failed miserably so left it to the pro – my aunty.
The bazaar sold all sorts of treats, although I wouldn’t particularly recommend going there as a young female without a male…
Naturally we had to stop for a few snacks. These carts were dotted all around the city.
And of course a kebab! Kebab houses are everywhere too. These ones from a place just outside the bazaar were very good – doner meat, salad and yoghurt.
We thought we’d better experience some hubbly bubbly pipe too (a healthy day as you can tell).
After a busy day, we went back to the guest house terrace for the rest of the afternoon to relax before what was about to be the best dining experience I have had to date.
We had booked a table at Giriliti Restoran on Keresteci Hakki Sokak (I don’t know how you say that either) and after a little trouble finding it walked into a lovely hidden garden with a wood burning oven fire with a man cooking bread and pastry.
Firstly the service as soon as we sat down was amazing, so friendly but not intruding.
The only menu Giriliti offers is a type of mezze, and boy were we in for a treat.
First course some sort of fish based ‘pilaf’, think it was more like orzo pasta though. Delish.
Next up were 15 plates of yummyness; sea food, salads, hummus, pickles etc.
All soooo good. I got a bit too full here not knowing how much more food was to come, oops.
Next up we had a pastry (made by the guy manning the wood fired oven outside) filled with Turkish cheese, spinach and topped off with seeds.
And then (yes there’s more)….
The most tender barbecued octopus.
A ring of lightly battered squid with a scoop of something delicious but I have no idea what, very moreish.
Next we had a choice of fish, I opted for sardines in vine leaves. Delicious but I forgot how I don’t like vine leaves, rooky error.
Finally (stuffed) we rounded things off with freshly fried mini doughnuts and ice cream made in a fryer outside near the wood burning oven.
The best dinner I’ve ever eaten hands down. And as far as I’m aware, it didn’t break the bank either.
We also sampled some honey, florally liquor
Tipsily we walked back stuffed to the guest house!
The next morning we looked inside the beautiful Hagia Sophia.
Then reluctantly hopped on a flight back to the UK.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Istanbul! It’s a beautiful city with a lot to offer and some great food if you look in the right places. I also forgot to mention we spent the first afternoon in Turkish baths, a MUST if you visit Istanbul!! I’m not sure if it is somewhere I would visit as a back-packer or with friends, but for this kind of trip it was a perfect location. If I go again I would love to go on a boat ride on the Bosphorus, and visit the Asian side of the city.
Stay tuned for a string of posts on my trip to Budapest!