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Jul 09
Reviews (Eats)
Fish: Mmmm…Meze!

“D’oh!” we said with a wince when we spotted the Ferrari parked in front of Fish, the restaurant we were heading to for dinner. It may have been the lucky day for the valet parkers who crowded around snapping pictures with their cell phones, but for us it meant certain financial doom. “D’oh!” we thought to ourselves as we imagined a month’s earnings splashed out to eat a fish among the fabulous of Bebek.

But our mood quickly changed as we made our way past the valet marked “Lucca,” the chic restaurant across the street that was the Ferrari driver’s actual destination, and up the stairs to the simple but stylish Fish. Inside, there was no burly security there to stop us from touching the scaly metal walls, so we gave them a feel as if petting a giant goldfish swimming down to the bar. Upstairs on the terrace, old style filament bulbs and blue awnings are all that adorn the comfortable, quiet dining space.  While the Ferrari-driving types were busy seeing and being seen across the street at Lucca, everyone on the terrace at Fish seemed focused on the food in front of them.

The founders of Fish – the people behind some of the more glam spots around town – are no strangers to the high life. But if their other ventures, the ritzy 360 and Suada, express a Crockett and Tubbs aesthetic, then Fish is channeling Colombo – cool, smart and to the point. Stripped down of the glitz, Fish wins with the food, course after course, the meze in particular

Our meal at Fish began with fresh salty rolls and flatbreads served alongside a sort of tarama-infused butter and a tiny marble mortar that held a single roasted clove of garlic sitting in a bath of olive oil and pesto. The waiter produced an equally tiny pestle, mashed the garlic and left us to it.

The meze selection seemed designed to please a range of Istanbul diners. For the finicky meyhane stalwart there was a wedge of white cheese with melon to go with a duble raki and an excellent fava puree. For the slightly more adventurous, Fish offered interesting spins on meze classics such as a whole artichoke stuffed with rice and mussels served alongside a butter sauce for dipping the leaves. And for those at the table who have seen and eaten it all, there is a world-class fresh catch carpaccio, and roasted kumquat with caramelized onions. We indulged in all of these along with excellent stuffed squash blossoms.

After several skewers of fat, tender octopus legs and a plate of squid stuffed with smoky eggplant puree, there was no tempting us into one of the lovely fresh catches we’d planned to eat that night. The waiter brought over a beast of a turbot and two beautiful sea bass, but in the end, we agreed on a chocolate soufflé and apple baklava.

“Next time,” we promised the waiter and ourselves, but in the three times we’ve eaten at Fish we’ve never managed to save room for fish. Someone at the table suggested they rename the restaurant “Meze,” but we’re sure that the fish are equally stunning. When the bill came – Ay caramba! only $60 per person – we decided we’d definitely be giving Fish another try very soon.

Address: Suada Club, Galatasaray Adası, Kuruçeşme
Telephone: +902122650158
Hours: noon-midnight

(photo courtesy of Fish)

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8 Responses to “ Fish: Mmmm…Meze! ”
  1. $60 per person for meze with no fish? Are you kidding? I know it’s Bebek, but that seems a bit excessive.

  2. We should have made it clearer in the review, but the $60 bill was for a ton of very good meze (both cold and hot), lots of booze, dessert and coffee at the end. It was a full meal and we believe we would have paid much more had we ordered the same way at one of the other fish restaurants along the Bosphorus or even at one of the average meze spots on Nevizade street.

  3. Pokerci Hoca

    Jul 9, 2010

    If the mezes are that good, it’s probably worth a try. But I have to agree with Carpetblogger, it is expensive.

    On the other hand, there’s a theory that in some fish restaurants, you pay for the fish whether you eat it or not. They expect a certain revenue per person, and if you fill yourself up on meze before you get to the fish, it’s your fault.

  4. Daniel mallah

    Sep 27, 2010

    167tl with a bottle of wine and a prix fixe menu for 2. The food and service were awesome, the meze and fish mains were flawless. Nothing more to add. Try it out!

  5. Hi! Few questions: is this (I think fantastic restaurant) reachable by public transportation from Beyoglu (marmara pera)?
    I’ve tried to find prices on their website for the menus, nothing unfortunatelly. @ Daniel would you mind telling me what menu you had?

    Best regards Elles

  6. One other question, I have done a lot of googeling, but I cannot find the exact location of Fish (there is not that much information (which is good :-).
    Is Fish also on this ‘island’ where Suada is also part of?
    Thanks for helping me out! I will post back my foodblogs.

  7. istanbulmandan

    Sep 9, 2011

    Fish moved. They are now on Galatasaray Island, a really ostentatious barge-like thing right across from Kurucesme. I liked the food at Fish and went there a few times when it was in Bebek but I just cant stand the scene on that “island”. I’d give it a pass.

  8. Hi Istanbulmandan,

    Thanks for telling me, it’s that floating ‘island’ yes I saw it. I have never knew the old location.

    I thought Fish is a tiny small part of the whole party thing with a different atmosphere?
    NO? Please tell me a bit more. I am planning for a dinner on Sunday unless your information makes me not want to go there.

    What kind of scene are we talking about? Fake rolexes, tits, players, loud music?
    All this not avoidable when eating only @ Fish?
    What are the prices like? I can’t manage to get any information on that.
    All your info very welcome.

    Oooh and we are 5 people, mather in law, and four 30 plus people who like hip, but not over the top. Price vs quality in the right place.

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