After four years of publishing weekly dispatches from Istanbul’s culinary backstreets, we are still regularly surprised by new discoveries, impressed by the staying power of old standards and shocked by how quickly so much can change. For better or for worse, it is that dynamism that Istanbulites line up for, and the city never seems to run short on it. Heading into 2013, we are licking our chops in anticipation of the expected and the unexpected, which are always sure to be delicious, or at least interesting. Here we present our Best Bites of 2012.
Chacha at Café Niko 
As good as the food is in Istanbul, the city is sadly lacking in the drink department. Given the choice of absurdly overpriced wine and industrial fermented swill, we’d often contemplated a dry existence – that is, until our life was changed by a bottle of black-market chacha. At Café Niko in Aksaray, the first cup of this homemade Georgian grape spirit made us blush self-consciously at the thrill of a drink on the wild side.
The rest of this post can be found on CulinaryBackstreets.com, here .