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Jan 28
Since You Asked: Cruising to Dinner?

(Editor’s Note: This post is part of our occasional “Since You Asked…” series of advice columns. We welcome our readers’ questions, so feel free to send any you might have to

Dear Istanbul Eats,
The Asian side’s Körfez was always my very special night out when friends came to town, especially since they had their own boat that would come pick you up on the other side of the Bosphorus. Being swept across the water by private boat was always an impressive start to a reliably excellent meal. Now that
Körfez is closed I don’t know what to do. Can you help?
Marooned in Mecidiyeköy

We feel your pain. Cruising over to Körfez was certainly one of our favorite Istanbul dining experiences. There are some other options, though. Lacivert, also on the Asian side, offers a boat pickup service, although the food and service are not quite up to Körfez’s standards. Kordon, a very nice restaurant housed in the same Ottoman-era building as the waterfront Sumahan Hotel, can arrange for pickup on the hotel’s boat (as long it’s also making a run to collect Sumahan guests).

But we suggest cutting out the middleman and chartering your own boat. There are lots of freelance boatmen looking for business along the shore of the Bebek area, but we’ve had good luck with Kaptan Erdoğan, who docks his boat on the Eminönü/Fatih side of the Golden Horn. He can be reached at (0)532-651-0331 and even has his own Facebook page. Expect to pay 80-100 TL per hour for his boat, which comfortably accommodates 10.

Whichever boat you end up with, ask the captain to take you up the Bosphorus to Suna’nın Yeri in Kandilli or İsmet Baba in Kuzguncuk. You’ll have excellent food at better prices than the fancier spots along the Bosphorus and you can put the money you saved on dinner into the cost of the boat ride. Happy sailing!

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4 Responses to “ Since You Asked: Cruising to Dinner? ”
  1. Uskumru restaurant located just under the 2nd bridge has some nice food and the boat to ferry you across but I can not compare it with the legendary Körfez as I never had the chance to dine there.

  2. Here here! The Korfez days were great! And I agree that Lacivert is no substitute.
    I had a painful meal there last year representing a lowpoint in the history of restaurant service. I ordered a bottle of Cabernet Savignon. The server returned with a bottle of Savignon Blanc, saying they were out of the Cab and suggesting this one in its place. Okay, not everyone is a wine expert, though I’d expect a server in a “fine dining” establishment to know the difference between white and red. But then we had a very tough and unpleasant octopus which we decided to send back. The server set it on the table next to us and she and her colleagues dissected it right there in front of us. She said she had to prove to the kitchen that there was something wrong.
    Wow! “Guilty until proven innocent” and “the customer is always wrong” seems to be the training motto at Lacivert.
    Maybe I was just there on an off night. I will concede that but I will never go back to find out. An infuriating dinner for nearly $100 per person. No thanks.
    I wish Korfez would come back.

  3. i would recommend “Sea Port” that also offers a boat ride from the European side. İsmet Baba is definetely a legend though. There is also “Rigel” there, close to Sumahan, however i promised myself not to step into that restaurant since i had to pay around 100 $ per person two years ago. never had the chance to dine in Uskumru,but one of the well known chefs from Asian side and a bunch of great waiters work at that place so it would be a good choice i guess.

  4. Anyone know anything about Kiyi Restaurant in Tarabya? I am not sure if you need to take a boat but it gets good reviews.

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