Hamdi Restaurant

Kebap in Bazaar District

One of the city's best-loved restaurants, this place near the Spice Bazaar is owned by Hamdi Arpacı, who started out as a street-food vendor in the 1960s. His tasty Urfa-style kebaps were so popular that he soon graduated from his modest stand to this building, which has views of the Old City, Golden Horn and Galata from its top-floor terrace.

The food is excellent. Try the yoğurtlu şakşuka (yogurt meze with fried eggplant, peppers and potato), the içli köfte (meatballs rolled in bulgur) and the lahmacun (thin, meat-topped pizza) followed by any of the kebaps and you'll leave replete and happy – extremely replete if you finish with the house-made baklava, katmer (flaky pastry stuffed with pistachios and clotted cream) or künefe (layers of kadayif – dough soaked in syrup and topped with a layer of clotted cream – cemented together with sweet cheese, doused in syrup and served hot with a sprinkling of pistachio). Any place this good is always going to be busy, so make sure you book, and don't forget to request a rooftop table with a view (outside if the weather is hot).

One slight caveat: staff work hard and are clearly encouraged to turn tables over as fast as possible. Don't expect much personal service, and be prepared for little time between courses.

There's another branch on the rooftop of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Beyoğlu.


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