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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 istanbuleats@gmail.com)

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 [2] 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 [3], 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 [4], 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 [5] 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 [6] in Kandilli or İsmet Baba [7] 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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