On a night out in Istanbul, we often find ourselves forced to make sacrifices in one or more categories of the overall dining experience. Great food at reasonable prices will surely be laid out in a room decorated in Anatolian kitsch. Bosphorus views and contemporary furnishings are a license to gouge and serve up flaccid renditions from the world kitchen. In the alcohol category, settle for rakı or suffer the consequences. This is an oft-repeated refrain that most people in Istanbul can join in on. But tune it out and prod a little, and even the most contrary Istanbulite will reveal a place or two that checks all of the boxes. Cibalikapı Balıkçısı got the nod from a couple of trusted sources, which led us to a series of surprisingly great meals.
We’d seen the place dozens of times, but had never gotten a good feeling from this strip of the Golden Horn. The waiters in front of the restaurants flanking Cibalikapı Balıkçısı had pounced on us, flapping menus and hissing urgent, aggressive greetings when we’d tried to pass by. But perhaps it’s the low curb appeal of Cibalikapı Balıkçısı that keeps casual visitors away. You have to really want to go here and once you do, you’ll really want to return.
The rest of this new review can be found on CulinaryBackstreets.com, here .