Istanbul Restaurants: Where The Turks Eat

Hamsi is the most fabled of all the fishes sold in restaurants in Istanbul. The diminutive anchovy can be bought at cafes ranging from the high end { Four Seasons} to the most downmarket you can imagine: fishermen selling them off brazier grills drove into the muddy banks of the Golden Horn.

In the United States we typically eat our hamsi from tin cans. They’re packed in oil and shipped from halfway across the world before they make their way to grocery store aisles in Illinois, Texas or any number of other American colonies.

Before I began my journeys through Istanbul, I was ignorant of the importance of hamsi to the Turks. There, the fish has been accorded status that takes it well beyond any other creature of the sea. Hamsi is a way of life.

Thousands of restaurants feature hamsi, but a few stand out above the rest. My favorites are Hayvore, a Laz restaurant in Beyoglu, Klemuri, another Laz restaurant in Beyoglu. Both of these restaurants are featured in my book: Istanbul Restaurants: Where The Turks Eat. Adem Baba is another insanely delicious hamsi source.

Here’s a field report I filed on Adem Baba: ttp://



About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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