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Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

Edenbridge Kent
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3 posts
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Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant.

Probably the worse food in Istanbul. The SIX Mezzes were totally unispiring, dull and presented with no flair or imagination. Slabs of plain Feta cheese, no herbs , no oil. A gloop that was supposed to be Eggplant or Aubergine and that was just the beginning. Starters consisted of three deep fried Calamari rings, yup that's it. Oh and the wine list. In total the restaurant was out of three white wines and the two Roses which is a lot cosidering how small the wine list is. When we finally managed to get a bottle that was neither medium or sweet it was served warm. All of the above cost over 50 uk pounds, a total rip-off. When you compare the Giritli Restaurant which is also in the Sultanahemet serving 17 mezzes to start, all fresh with herbs, flavours and passion, you wonder why on earth anybody in their right mind would go to Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant.

Istanbul
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for Istanbul
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67 reviews
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1. Re: Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

Hi HaxtedMill,

Thanks very much for you review. We have been getting mixed reviews about Balikci Sabahattin lately, with some complaints about quality, choices, and prices.

I will post this review at our permanent restaurant sticky.

Cheers,

London, United...
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2. Re: Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

Wow I had only read excellent reviews about the place. Just goes to show how important it is for people to post their experiences - good and bad as places can change. Will add the Giritli to recommendations now!

istanbul
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227 posts
2 reviews
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3. Re: Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

Maybe you friends should slowly leave the old peninsula and check out the fish scene at other restaurants around the town. there are plenty of options and some are really good!

Here are a few recommendations:

Eftalya (in Arnavutkoy & Beylerbeyi)

Fishmekan (Arnavutkoy)

Deniz Yildizi (Cengelkoy)

Doga Balik (Cihangir & Caddebostan)

Balikci Kahraman (Rumeli Kavagi)

Balikci Hasan (Arnavutkoy)

Son Vapur (Ortakoy)

Mount Dora, Florida
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for Istanbul
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14,153 posts
245 reviews
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4. Re: Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

How sad. We had one of the best meals of our visit at Balikci Sabahattin, and the number of expensive European cars parked all around the restaurant reinforced what we had read about the popularity of this restaurant with local citizens of Istanbul

The experience HaxtedMill describes bears no resemblence to our experience, with the possible exception of the wine, which the wine drinkers in our party found rather dismal through out Istanbul.

Thanks for the update. No reason for more than one of us to have a bad experience.

Istanbul
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33 posts
1 review
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5. Re: Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

Hi HaxtedMill;

Please let us know when did you visit the Balikci Sabahattin Restaurant.

Mostly the good review from the summer season. They have lots of table on the street and it is fully booked all the time. It is a popular restaurant in summer season. I assume that you have visited in winter season.

That might be the answer.

Mount Dora, Florida
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for Istanbul
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245 reviews
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6. Re: Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

I do not know if season makes a difference at this restaurant. We ate there exactly one year ago this month. There was no one dining outside on a rather windy and cold evening. Inside, however, everything was perfect.

Maybe it was just an off night at Balikci Sabahattin, but when you only have a few evenings to dine in Istanbul you probably want a restaurant with great consistency. Actually, until this review, I do not recall any other complaints about Balikci Sabahattin.

Have we ever had a review of this poster's preference the Girtli Restaurant?

Istanbul
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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37,701 posts
67 reviews
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7. Re: Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

Hi,

More on Balikci Sabahattin and something on Giritli at the link below:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k1473…

Edenbridge Kent
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3 posts
42 reviews
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8. Re: Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

To answer your question when my wife and I dined at Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant it was March 2nd 2008 and we sat outside under a canopy.

Regardless whether we were inside or out, does not change the fact that the food would have been appalling either in or out.

The next night we went to the Giritli Restaurant which is is also behind the Armada Hotel. When seated we were presented with 17 different Mezzes, this was followed by fresh Octopus, Squid and small Anchovies. The main courses were Sea Bass and Red Snapper. The wine ( drink as much as you wish) water, desserts and home made liqueur was all included in one fixed price for two at £90.00 . What made this restaurant quite remarkable was not only the taste of the food and the presentation, but the service.

On this night it was my 60th birthday,a cake arived unbeknown to my wife and I from our Hotel, The Sari Konak. The waiter took photos of my wife and I celebrating on his mobile phone camera and the next day the pictures arrived at our hotel on a disc. I did not ask for this, it was just a lovely,lovely surprise. To me that is incredible service from both the restaurant and the hotel

As a chef/owner running a Michelin restaurant, I understand how restaurants work and it is true, very,very occasionally things can go wrong,however what we experienced at Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

were fundamental mistakes that should never have happened at this level and cost.

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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245 reviews
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9. Re: Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

HaxtedMill, You truly had a unique dining experience in Istanbul. I have never heard of a restaurant that offers so many selections and unlimited glasses of wine. It is no wonder that nothing else compares. I am making special note of this place so we can try it when we return in the fall. We normally do not pay $70 USD per person for a meal, but if it is exceptional we are willing to do so. We spent that price for brunch at the Four Seasons, and it was certainly worth the price. I am giving your review a few extra points because, as a chef, I assume you are truly an expert in reviewing restaurants.

London, United...
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10. Re: Balikçi Sabahattin Restaurant

I know this view is not very popular but I will repeat what Degisen said, please if you want to find good authentic Turkish food with good service, avoid the historic peninsula, restaurants elsewhere depend only on local return clients and fish restaurants especially by the bosphorous are exceptionally good.

Balikci Sabahattin was usually an exeption and was reputed to be good but it is entirely possible that lately their clientele may have changed to mainly tourists and they seem to have dropped the quality and choice and increased the prices.

It is worth stressing to new Istanbul visitors that in Istanbul the culture of meyhanes and seafood restaurants are different to European style restaurants.

Firstly Meyhanes :Meyhanes are typically more relaxed with musicians, could be seafood or meat based. Here is a section from another post I've written in response to Birahanes and Meyhanes:

" [in meyhanes] you typically eat a selection of mezes (small starters) and maybe a main course, traditionally you would drink Raki but can also drink beer, wine. The entertainment is a Turkish band with local instruments playing Turkish music. A meyhane does not need to be expensive, it depends on its location, service, etc, they can be surprisingly cheap, though there are very expensive ones as well with well known singers, entertainers, etc. Many meyhanes charge you a fixed price, including local drink like Raki. This includes loads of cold and hot mezes (they are usually fixed as well so you don't order from a menu) and a main course, usually dessert as well. In Beyoglu, in asmalimescit for example a popular meyhane like Yakup would charge 25-30 TL for fixed price menu. The meal takes a long time, drinking, eating, singing, talking. Meyhanes are very friendly places."

In a seafood restaurant, the food service structure is similar : they bring you a large tray of maybe 20 starters but here you choose your starters by pointing to them, and then they take the tray to the kitchen and prepare them for you depending on the size of your party. Then they come back and ask if you'd like any hot mezes, they tell you the choice. The choices are things like fried calamari, prawn casserole, borek, mussels, etc. Notice that there is no menu at any stage.

After hot mezes they ask you if you'd like fish, they would tell you what's in season, whats good, they may even bring the fish for you to inspect. When you choose the fish you specify how you like it cooked like grilled, pan fried etc. Fish comes without sauce, only lemon and maybe olive oil. You also can ask for a salad to go with the fish.

Then of course desert, fruit, coffee as usual.

Seafood restaurants are priced a la carte and they are always on the expensive side, going to a 'Balikci' is a treat. They are famed for the quality and freshness of their fish, and the variety and freshness of their mezes.

I hope these tips help that you don't get disappointed with your meal experiences in Istanbul, done properly in the right restaurants every meal is an experience on its own.

Kozano