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Birthday dinner in Istanbul

Paris
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Birthday dinner in Istanbul

Hi all, I will be travelling in Istanbul with my parents in May and it'll be my mother's birthday on our last evening there. Would love recommendations on a nice but over-expensive restaurant for us to go to for dinner. We'll be staying in the Sultanahmet area.

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Chicago
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1. Re: Birthday dinner in Istanbul

Albura Restaurant in Sultanahmet gets my vote! It has very good food & wine at reasonable prices. Personally, I love their manti, but Albur has an extensive menu with many good dishes. I hope you have a great trip and a really nice dinner!

Cardiff, Wales
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2. Re: Birthday dinner in Istanbul

Sarnic is the most stunning restaurant, but we really enjoyed Sokullu in Sultanhamet. About £20 a head for meze, a couple of courses and drinks, the atmosphere is warm, and the food is good. It is just off the Hippodrome (Blue Mosque end). The way we found it again was to look for the illuminated red sign which said 'cafe' in the top corner of the Hippodrome and follow the street down. It was busy every time we went and I would book in advance for a special event.

Mount Dora, Florida
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3. Re: Birthday dinner in Istanbul

I would not plan on a great meal in Sultanahmet. In the last couple of years we have noticed a significant decline in the quality and consistency of the food along with a huge increase in prices. In the five weeks we spent in Istanbul last November and December we ate only four or five times in Sultanahmet. The only really great meal we had was at the Mosaic, and even then we had to return a dish and ask for it to be heated and served again because it was simply too cold to be appealing.

I would probably select the Imbat in Sirkeci for this special meal. Sirkeci is just a short walk from Sultanahmet or a five minute tram ride, so it is not inconvenient. In fact, depending on where your hotel is located it might be more convenient than some of the restaurants in Sultanahmet.The Imbat is a lovely restaurant with a superb chef who pays great attention to unique combinations as well as offering a selection of traditional Turkish dishes. This restaurant has a seasonal menu, but they almost always have shrimp cooked in butter as a meze. I could eat only that one dish and be totally satisfied, but I would hate to miss the other offerings.

I do not know if they can provide a birthday cake, but I have seen people bring in cakes from regular bakeries and the restaurant has served the cake and provided plates and utensils for it. You could inquire about this when you make reservations, and it is essential that you make reservations because this restaurant is always booked.

It is always hard for me to decide if the view is better than the food because this restaurant on the top floor has stunning views of the city. I am just happy I do not have to make a decision between good food and fantastic views. After all the great food, outstanding service and spectacular views I am always pleased that my bill is not outrageous. Like all restaurants in Istanbul, if you order wine you can expect your bill to double in amount because alcohol served in restaurants is very expensive. We generally skip alcohol, but if you want to splurge the Imbat has a good wine list.

Surrey, UK
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4. Re: Birthday dinner in Istanbul

I would say Sarnic by a country mile. It is totally unique and has the most incredible atmosphere - and for that reason alone would be unforgettable. It is very different from..... well pretty much anywhere else in the world... and it is in the heart of Sultanahmet.

While it used to be one of the most expensive restaurants in Sultanahmet, the prices have stayed constant while others have risen and so now it is not so much so. Watch the price of alcohol though (although that is the same everywhere).

Paris
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5. Re: Birthday dinner in Istanbul

Thanks for the great suggestions! I'll definitely look these up!

Houston, Texas
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6. Re: Birthday dinner in Istanbul

Another thumbs up for Sarnic.

Hamburg
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7. Re: Birthday dinner in Istanbul

As busy retired said, I would also not recommend a restaurant in Sultanahmet, they are all too touristy and food is not more than mediocre, which includes also Sarnic. I have been once to that lpace, no never again...The atmosphere, if you like that style, is nice, but that's it. Also I don't find these restaurants typical for Istanbul, .....may be for tourists.

For a special occasion I would definitely choose something better, may be a nice seafood restaurant on the Bosphorus with great views on the bridges and the Asian side, which is a truly typical Istanbul exprience. I still remember we had wonderful dinners in Park Fora, Mavi Yesil and Eftalya, but that was some time ago.

Cheshire, England
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8. Re: Birthday dinner in Istanbul

Have you considered fine dining with the best view in Istanbul? We had dinner in the restaurant at the top of the Anemon hotel opposite the Galata Tower and watched the sun set. Delicious food with a spectacular view - what more can one want?

Istanbul
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9. Re: Birthday dinner in Istanbul

Cloudlight, I sort of agree with "onmytravels" and "Cloudlight". Choose a restaurant on the Bosphorus. I would pick either Feriye Restaurant at Ortakoy, "http://www.feriye.com/english/index.asp", or Topaz Restaurant at Gumussuyu, "http://www.topazistanbul.com/index_eng.asp", or Vogue Restaurant at Besiktas: "http://www.voguerestaurant.com/". All three are great restaurants, representative of non tourist Istanbul.

good luck,

enigma...

Mount Dora, Florida
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10. Re: Birthday dinner in Istanbul

I agree that the restaurants on the Bosphorus offer views that you can only see in Istanbul. I am just not sure that their prices do not exceed the budget of the OP. I have not eaten at Feriye in a couple of years, but it seems to me that I thought it was rather expensive. What are the prices like at Topaz or the Vogue?