Istanbul eats: the best kebabs

When we were in Istanbul about a year ago (during the Eid al-Adha) holiday, we ran into my friend Noorah and her family several times starting at Istanyi Park on the first day of Eid. And as is customary of tourists, we discussed the places we’ve been to so far and the food we’ve eaten. They gave us the best recommendation: Hamdi for kebabs.

I raced back to the hotel, of course, and called Hamdi for a reservation that night. The restaurant was full. I was torn. Was it really that good? Or was the restaurant stretching the truth a little, like Metropolis? I called them back a few days later and reserved a table for a late lunch. We planned our day so that we’d be in the vicinity, checking out the Egyptian Bazaar (which is overrated by the way, it’s a total tourist trap) first and then walking to Hamdi.

By the time we got to Hamdi, I was starving. It’s located just to the left of the Egyptian Bazaar, also known as the Spice Bazaar, in one of the older buildings. The best way to get there is to take the tram to Eminönü and walk to the restaurant. Reservations are necessary if you want to sit upstairs on the terrace. The terrace overlooks the Golden Horn of the Bosphorus with the minarets of the Yenni Camii to one side and the craggy cityscape on the other.

I’m sorry to report that we didn’t order all the food that looked good on the menu, because we probably wanted to go somewhere for a late dinner or maybe we were tempted by the street food I previously mentioned. The beetroot salad was horrible (it was basically pickled beetroots) and the hummus was alright.

What was really good, however, was the kebab. Noorah’s recommendation was spot on. I really can’t remember what it was that we ordered but it was delicious. I was tempted by the pistachio kebab but my sister wasn’t about to try that, so I went for something more conventional.

So make sure you go to Hamdi’s Restaurant when you’re in Istanbul. The food was delicious and the view spectacular. It is a little pricey, but definitely was worth it.

As the light was shifting, I stepped out on the balcony to get a few more shots. The pictures I took that day are my favorite captures from that trip, they remind me of the really difficult 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzles that I used to love as a kid. I plan on framing these pictures. One day. Soon.

One thought on “Istanbul eats: the best kebabs

  1. Hamdi was one of my three favorite restaurants in Istanbul and hugely for its historic, beautiful, and serene ambience- so breathtaking…..but admittedly, also partly due to the pistachio kofta :)

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