Like most tourists we spent a few memorable days in the historic Sultan Ahmet area visiting the cluster of utterly fascinating attractions. This left us little time to look for places to eat, so we opted for the safest bet, a famous restaurant just a stone’s throw away from Hagia Sophia – Tarihi Sultanahmet Koftecisi.
Since 1920 this place has been catering for locals and visitors alike – it turns out basic but simply delicious, lightly seasoned beef meatballs known as koftas best eaten with a salad and bread accompaniment.
A plate of Koftas costs 12 TKL approx £4.40 website: www.sultanahmetkoftesi.com
Get hooked on freshly grilled fish sandwiches
At least twice on our visit we found ourselves in Eminonu either taking a boat cruise on the Bosporus, or visiting the Spice Bazaar then popping into the Rustem Pasa Mosque to admire the exquisite Iznik wall tiles. We needed a quick refuelling and the best place we found for a tasty bite was the fresh fish restaurants under the turquoise Galata Bridge.
Locally known as balik ekmek, freshly grilled fish is served up in a salad sandwich within seconds – Our kids had chips and ketchup with it too, our kind of fast food! Watch out for bones and chew properly! Each sandwich costs 5 TKL each (approx £1.80).
We spent almost a whole day wandering through the breathtakingly magnificent Topkapi Palace Museum and on exiting it through the Gulhane Gate we needed a place to rest and something warm to tuck into. Just opposite was the Han Restaurant – we were drawn in by the lady seated behind the window rolling out pancakes or gözleme and stuffing them with a variety of fillings.
We chose pancake fillings that included minced lamb, feta cheese and spinach. We watched them being freshly prepared and they were a welcome hot snack costing about £5 each.