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Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

September-October 2020.

Well, dear readers, we have at long last arrived at my final Istanbul article. It is my 20th piece, and with today’s focus firmly on the city’s excellent food and drink scene, I hope very much to go out with a bang. So let’s get going, with a bumper roundup of Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Turkey flag.

For those who’ve been following this series, you will already know my top choice of where to dine in Istanbul. If you missed it the first time around, I’ll take this opportunity to again champion the amazing Pandeli Restaurant in the Spice Bazaar. Indeed if you only make time for one fancy dinner, make sure you head for the wonderful, history-laden Pandeli. You can read my review here.

Roasted Lamb and Grilled Sea bass with mashed spinach Pandeli Restaurant

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

I don’t know about you, but when Sladja and I travel we usually tap into the culinary scene with a broad range of experiences. Sometimes, especially if we’re on the hop, we simply make do with some bakery bites. In this regard Istanbul is a fantastic city with exhaustive options. In fact, it often feels like there are at least three or four bakeries on every street.

A Bakery in Istanbul's Sisli district.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

For the most part we stayed away from the joints specialising in (admittedly delicious looking) loaves. Instead, we preferred to explore the various pastry shops offering quintessential Turkish baked treats.

What I very quickly noticed was that the people who own and work in these shops were nearly always cheerful and courteous. A far cry, I have to say, from our experiences in the many bakeries of The Balkans.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Bakery bites Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

A small bakery near our apartment in Istanbul’s Sisli district.

Turkish pastries, whether they be sweet or savoury, are invariably a pleasure. A staple for me is böreği, a flaky filo delight filled with either cheese, spinach, potatoes or even meat (lamb is particularly popular). Internationally this kind of pastry is better known as Börek, you can find variations across The Balkans, The Middle East and Central Asia.

Turkish Borek Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

For a generally heartier lunch, look no further than the classic Turkish Pizza, known locally as lahmacun. It’s such a great feeling when you enter these little kitchens, the air awash with the smell of flatbread, minced beef and lamb.

If you’re lucky, you might enter to find Mr. Man removing a piping hot batch from the oven. Then plonking everything right onto the counter in front of you. I’ll have that one, thanks.

Lahmacun Turkish Pizza Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Moreover, a visit to Istanbul wouldn’t be complete without grabbing a simit or two between sights. Vendors all over the city offer this terrific circular bread, which typically comes encrusted with sesame seeds. Experts reckon simit has been a part of daily life since the 1520s, making it one of the city’s most traditional and historic bites.

A Simit vendor in Istanbul.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

What’s more, at around 10 lira a piece (barely $0.40), simit represents Istanbul’s cheapest snack by quite some distance.  You can of course expect to pay a bit more if you have it in a cafe. We can recommend Simit Sarayi, (Simit Palace). They have branches all over the city, while the one we ate at was on Taksim Square.


Simit Sarayi Bakery Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

For a classier experience, and increased prices to match, head to a pastanesi (patisserie) for all manner of beautifully sculpted baked goods. We loved our visit to Çiğdem Pastanesi on Divanyolu Street, a renowned store that’s been going since 1961.

Cigdem Pastanesi Bakery and Cafe in Istanbul

Cigdem Pastanesi.

Although predominantly a takeaway joint, they do have a seating area that allows you to eat in.

Interior decor of Cigdem Pastanesi in Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

We ordered a pair of lattes with some yummy (albeit comically small) Pogača. These wheat flour baked beauties come in various guises across Turkey and a host of other (mostly Balkan) countries. The ones we had came filled with feta cheese and red and green bell peppers. Furthermore, we appreciated the complimentary chunks of Turkish Delight.

Cigdem Patisserie

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

On the sweet tooth side of the equation visitors simply cannot avoid the ever-present barrage of… and you know it… baklava. This iconic Turkish dessert is simply everywhere, from supermarkets and restaurants to specialist bakeries churning out thousands of pieces every day.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

A baklava bakery Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

A baklava bakery in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district.

I used to adore baklava. Many years ago, when I spent some weeks travelling Morocco, I would routinely put away three or four baklava blocks in one go. Yes, despite them being one of the sweetest, most syrupy things on earth. While in Istanbul, I realised that my maturing taste buds had left me unable to eat more than just one piece. I’m getting older, I guess.

Bakery baklava Bites and Gulps Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Not that Baklava is the sweetest thing you can get your hands on in Istanbul. For that, top prize goes to Halka Tatlisi, a dense lump of ringed dough made from flour and semolina.

Halka Tatlisi Turkish Churros

Incredibly sweet.

Drenched in lemony syrup and extra sugar to boot, this stuff is positively lethal.

Turkish Churros Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Overall I much prefer lokum, the world famous dessert known to most as Turkish Delight. Created during the mid to late 1700s, this palatable sweet sees all manner of goodness embedded into a gel base of starch and sugar. I love the fact that they come in so many forms, such as these long rolls pictured below, packed with dates and nuts.

Dates and nuts rolls Turkish dessert.

Istanbul lokum, don’t leave without trying a stick or two.

They’re pretty good, but not a patch on the ones that have soft, chewy nougat in them. Or the rolls where a thick, lava-like chocolate spread comes flowing out when you take a bite.

What to Eat in Istanbul. 

A box of Turkish Lokum Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

When it comes to my favourite Turkish dessert though, it just has to be künefe. While you can get this wonderful stuff all over the city, we can highly recommend trying some at Hakki Zade, also known as Hafiz Mustafa 1864

Hakki Zade 1864 Turkish sweet store and cafe

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Künefe is a spun pastry dessert layered with cheese, clotted cream and nuts (often pistachios or walnuts). Like Turkish churros it is also covered in a sugary syrup, though for me it is much more balanced.

Kunefe at Hafiz Mustafa 1864 Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Lovely, lovely Künefe.

Aside from being scrumptious, it’s also freshly baked at Hakki Zade. Hence it arrived at our table piping hot and gooey to the touch. Truly, this is something I would go back to Turkey for.

Where to eat delicious kunefe in Istanbul.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Whatever Turkish dessert rocks your boat, Hafiz Mustafa 1864 is almost certainly a safe bet. Established in 1864 by Hadji İsmail Hakkı Bey, the first Istanbul store rose to fame after Sultan Abdulaziz himself ordered Turkish delight and other treats for delivery to Topkapi Palace.

Hakki Zade 1864.

Hafiz Mustafa 1864 in Istanbul.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

While it doesn’t quite enjoy the same scope of history, another legendary Istanbul patisserie is Inci Pastanesi. An Albanian Greek migrant by the name of Lucas Zigoridis opened the place in 1944, and quickly became celebrated for his delectable chocolate profiteroles.

İnci Pastanesi In Istanbul.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Nearly 80 years later and the joint is still going, despite Zigoridis having passed away many years ago. Against the odds, the business survived the anti-Greek political campaigns and riots of the 1950s and 1970s. Not to mention the tough economic times of the 80s and a change of premises in 2012 brought on by the city’s gentrification, which has killed so many small businesses.

Inci Pastanesi chocolates Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

The tantalising array of chocolates at Inci Pastanesi.

When we entered one October afternoon there were trays and trays of their famous profiteroles resting on the counter. And yes, they are just as divine as everyone says.

Chocolate profiteroles at Inci Pastanesi Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

As regular readers know, Sladja and I are incurable coffee fiends. Happily, Istanbul always delivered on this front. As a result, there are a number of places we’d like to share. Let’s start with a pleasingly sleepy independent cafe called Sy Blu Coffee Shop located on a quiet side street in Sisli district.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Sy Blu Coffee Shop in Istanbul.

Coffee time!

We’re all about a quiet, homey vibe when it comes to cafes. At Sy Blu this is definitely the mantra, with music on low, a softly spoken barista and antique-laden bookshelves galore. The perfect opportunity, I’d say, to brush up on your knowledge of Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Where to drink coffee in Istanbul.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Most importantly the coffee was tasty, the baked treats fresh and reasonably priced. All in all everything was so good I could forgive my coffee being served in a tall glass (pet hate).

Coffee and pastries Sy Blue Coffee shop in Istanbul

Sy Blu Coffee Shop.

Another decent joint we visited was El Rincon Cafe in the trendy neighbourhood of Balat.

El Rincon Cafe in Istanbul.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

With a focus on world music and art, it’s a really beautiful cafe. Taking our seats, we drank in the wooden furnishings and African paintings, while Afro-Cuban rumba drifted out of the sound system.

Inside El Rincon Cafe in Istanbul.

El Rincon Cafe.

The coffee was very good, as you would expect from a cafe that has a variety of fancy organic blends from across Africa and Latin America. Excellent, but with prices to match. The only thing that let the place down was the unnecessarily surly waitress. Which was a pity, especially as several online reviews specifically mention the “good service”.

El Rincon Cafe.

Delicious coffee at El Rincon Cafe.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

The award for Most Beautiful Cuppa goes to Lattas Coffee, a wonderful bistro located on Serdar-ı Ekrem, one of the city’s most atmospheric pedestrianised streets.

Lattas Coffee on Serdar-ı Ekrem Street Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Indeed their caramel latte is both a work of art and delicious.

Caramel latte at Lattas Coffee.

Lattas Coffee.

And yet it is their spectacular breakfast sets that steal the show. Sladja and I aren’t actually that keen on giant breakfasts. But we made an exception for this one, an impressively presented array of delightfulness that includes cold cuts, eggs, feta cheese, bread rolls, olives, salad, pancakes, cookies, chocolate spread and jams. Lordy.

Amazing breakfast set at Lattas Coffee Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

After breakfast, we took a saunter down Serdar-ı Ekrem. It truly is an unmissable Istanbul street that is home to independent boutiques, dozens of street murals and mooching cats.

Street murals on Serdar-ı Ekrem street in Istanbul.

Serdar-ı Ekrem street art.

For lunches and dinners life in Istanbul is invariably a meaty affair. It’s weird to look back on these photos, because these days we are both mostly vegan. But back in the autumn of 2020 we gobbled up countless kebabs and durums from a seemingly infinite array of eateries across the city.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Kebabs galore Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Sometimes it feels like there are as many kebab joint as there are cats.

Chicken… beef…. lamb… we happily tried it all.

Istanbul style durums.

Nice to ‘meat’ you.

It’s hard to say what my favourite is. I’m definitely partial to chicken kebab (de-skewered in the below picture) served with bulgur pilaf, chopped onions and roasted tomato.

Turkish style Chicken kebab served with Bulgur Pilaf

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

If this looks right up your street don’t forget to order a side plate of bread and a bowl of creamy Haydari. This is a Turkish strained yogurt mixed with cheese and herbs. It is so.. so… good.

Haydari Turkish strained yoghurt.

Haydari, a cool and tangy addition to any kebab meal.

The only thing I wasn’t keen on were the donner stations. Somehow those rotating, glistening lumps remind me of the regretful early morning feeds I subjected myself to after boozy weekend nights out as a teenager back in England. I’m sure Istanbul’s donner kebabs are infinitely better, but still, I just couldn’t.

Kasap Doner in Istanbul.

Mm… never again.

In our book, top prize for Istanbul meaty greatness goes to a revelatory eatery called Bilice Kebap. Situated on Amali Mescit Road, a pedestrianised stretch in the heart of Beyoğlu district, we were initially a touch wary. After all, this is tourist central and their waiters are prone to calling customers in from the street. A habit that usually disqualifies any restaurant from our consideration.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Bilice Kebap in Istanbul.


Ultimately though I’m glad we trusted all the good reviews we’d read online. With our table outside on the street we had a great people-watching spot, while the staff were friendly and efficient. Plus, we got a kick out of the fez-wearing waiters, which again would have probably had us suspicious if we were just walking by and hadn’t done our homework on the place.

A waiter at Bilice Kebap in Istanbul.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Bilice Kebap specialises in sharing platters. If we could offer one top tip, it would be to bring your appetite with bells on top! In fact, we were quite unprepared for just how much food arrived at our table!

A delicious sharing platter at Bilice Kepab

Bilice Kebap.

They have loads of platters to choose from. Ours came with chicken and lamb skewers and an army of fabulous side dishes.

Bilice Kebap Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Let me see… there was tossed salad, roasted peppers, hummus and pita bread. A bowl of baba ganoush and a rich eggplant and tomato meze dish bursting at the seams with garlic.

An evening feast at Bilice Kebap in Istanbul

Bilice Kebap.

When it comes to alcohol, neither of us are big drinkers. Nevertheless, we did enjoy a few beers one night at the impressive Bomontiada complex. Inhabited by over a dozen restaurants, cafes and bars, it was converted from the ruins of the Bomontiada Beer Factory, built in the 1890s.


Bomontiada Restaurant and bar complex in Istanbul

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

One of the trendiest spots in the entire city, Bomontiada is also home several art galleries and an iconic music venue, Babylon. Not at all keen on thumping dance music, we timed our visit for late afternoon where a pleasingly sleepy vibe prevailed. There was even a grassy area in the main courtyard where visitors are encouraged to flop out on the provided deckchairs. Just to take a rest, play with your phone, or even take a snooze.

Hanging out at Bomontiada in Istanbul.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

We opted to grab some craft beer from a joint called The Populist. They have a huge drinks menu and offer decent pub grub, though the prices might make you think twice about how many drinks you put away.

Craft beer at Bomontiada Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul

Beers at The Populist.

Bomontiada would be a great place for last night drinks and dinner. Thus it seems like a good place to wrap this series up. Thanks to everyone who’s supported my Istanbul articles, especially those of you who read all 20 pieces. It’s high time for a break I’d say, I’ll be back later in the year with some new reports and stories from around the world.

Evening dinner and drinks at Bomontiada.

Bites & Gulps: Mouthwatering Moments in Istanbul.

Like this? Take a look at my series of articles on Istanbul.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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  • Diana

    I’m eating breakfast as I read this, and somehow it’s still making me hungry! It all looks delicious. I have a coworker who makes Turkish baklava so I can absolutely relate to both the sweetness and the desire to eat multiple blocks at once!

    October 11, 2023 - 5:07 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Homemade Turkish baklava sounds impressive. To me at least, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Let me know of he/she delivers to Croatia 😉 Thanks for kicking off the comment thread, Diana.

      October 11, 2023 - 8:22 pm Reply
      • Diana

        Haha I don’t think she does, but I’ll be sure to eat some for you next time she brings it into the office.

        October 17, 2023 - 6:11 pm
  • kagould17

    Wow Leighton. I think I gained 5 pounds reading that post. I am with you on the bakery/coffee shop scene. These have been our go to places in many destinations and seldom disappoint. I must admit we are big meze platter fans, whether they be Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, etc. Nothing like a dozen small plates of deliciousness. Baklava is also a guilty pleasure. Thanks for summing it all up with such a fine banquet. Have a great Wednesday Leighton. Allan

    October 11, 2023 - 5:15 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Lebanese is one of my absolute favourites Allan, so I always pounce whenever I come across a restaurant on my travels. I’m glad so many of these foods are a thumbs up for you, thanks for your consistent support of the series.

      October 11, 2023 - 8:28 pm Reply
  • Memo

    Always a dependable favorite of mine. Love reading and seeing all the fabulous foods. You have become an excellent food photographer. I greatly appreciated all the links you included with the foods. It adds to the time necessary to read the article but so much to the content. Churros are a world favorite. It’s always interesting to read the variations. That platter at Bilice Kebap was made for sharing by four people or for a very long meal. Thanks for the tour.

    October 11, 2023 - 6:22 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for the kind words Memo, though I feel most of the credit for the food photos needs to go to the iPhone. Plus Turkish food seems so naturally photogenic to me. Congrats on reaching the end of my Istanbul series, it’s taken quite a few months but we got there.

      October 11, 2023 - 8:33 pm Reply
  • Mallee Stanley

    Eating is definitely one of the joys of travelling, but all those pastries! I’m wondering if you packed on a few kilos while enjoying all that delicious food. For me, the bilice kebap would appeal the most. Like you, age has turned my taste buds off too much sugar although there’s an Iranian bakery in walking distance from my place, and I try to avoid going inside. The smell of the baklava once I step inside is sometimes too difficult not to be tempted.

    October 11, 2023 - 6:49 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I think I actually did pack on some kilos while in Istanbul. And just generally in the last five years or so. This has been a terrible development, as in the preceding forty years I had always been able to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted with little to no impact on my weight. Over the last year though, Sladja and I have gradually transitioned from being meat eaters to vegetarianism to (mostly) veganism, so now those kilos are falling back off again. Nevertheless, I’m sure every now and then I will buckle and take a kebab when it’s on offer.

      October 11, 2023 - 8:43 pm Reply
  • Monkey's Tale

    I wasn’t a fan of Turkish desserts or pastries, but do love böreği, just cheese or cheese and potato. We also ate our fair share of simits. Baklava, Turkish Delight no thank you, but I did really like Turkish coffee, especially served on a silver tray. Maggie

    October 11, 2023 - 6:57 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Those silver trays are cool, they nearly make me want to take a sip of Turkish coffee. But not quite. Thanks Maggie for joining me on this blogging journey through Istanbul.

      October 11, 2023 - 8:44 pm Reply
  • Lyssy In The City

    It all looks very delicious! I think I would eat a lot of kebabs and those platters. I had Künefe a few months ago and it was so good! I also agree that I can’t eat sweets like I used to. I used to be able to eat a few pieces of cake, but now all that frosting is way too much.

    October 11, 2023 - 7:16 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      It’s one of the many sad things of getting older ha ha. I shall have to remember that they have künefe in NYC the next time I’m in town. Cheers, Lyssy.

      October 11, 2023 - 8:46 pm Reply
  • Stan

    a marvellous end to a marvellous series leighton. you never do things by halves do you? we all expect nothing less by now. at my age i fear the pastry kebab shop diet would have me in the grave by the end of the year. but how tempting if you had all this on your doorstep day to day. i find myself most tempted by the kunefe, such an unusual looking and sounding dessert. the platters are incredible, what a feast and so well presented.

    October 11, 2023 - 8:54 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks a lot Stan for your ongoing readership and for always taking the time to comment. I’m sure you could at the very least afford yourself the occasional chunk of baklava or Turkish delight 😉

      October 11, 2023 - 9:04 pm Reply
  • Erin of the Hills

    Holy moly, everything looks and sounds delicious! I read this while eating lunch and now I’m hungry again… Brilliant as always!

    October 11, 2023 - 9:26 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Erin for joining me throughout the series and for the kind words you left about Leighton Travels on your own blog. I hope you’re enjoying the autumn and all its colours and freshness.

      October 11, 2023 - 11:40 pm Reply
  • Travels Through My Lens

    Wow, Leighton, I don’t know where to start. Sweet post with all the desserts and that beautiful caramel latte; or meaty post with the chunks of meat; or a little bit of everything else with the hummus, veggies, and other delicious looking offerings. Looks like Istanbul is a food lovers paradise. Is it easy to get vegetarian options there?

    October 11, 2023 - 10:05 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Tricia! You know I don’t recall seeing a veggie restaurant at all during our wanderings. Then again it’s the capital, surely surely they have a few options scattered around. Whatever the case I can’t help but feel that being a vegetarian (and lord a vegan) would be a tough gig in Istanbul.

      October 11, 2023 - 11:46 pm Reply
      • Travels Through My Lens

        That seems to be the case in many places and certainly here in France as well.

        October 12, 2023 - 7:00 am
  • Nic

    This is definitely a mouth watering post! I am the exact same – when I travel I often do go to bakeries and try all the different bread and pastry variations. I do like gluten and I’m only glad I am not intolerant! Borek is one of my favourite things, I’ve tried it in many different countries, and I’m never disappointed. The Baclava I can only eat a few too… I have more of a savoury tooth, I suppose! But it’s still amazing, and when I eat it with tea (no sugar) or black coffee (also no sugar) I feel I can digest a lot more, but still get a sugar rush afterwards!

    Turkish cuisine is definitely one of the best. Unfortunately, as non red meat eater, I was a bit limited at the time, but still managed to get some amazing vegetarian or chicken based replacements. Thank you so much for this post, reminded my tastebuds of my time in Istanbul and it put me in the right mood for dinner!

    October 11, 2023 - 10:29 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I agree that tea or coffee definitely helps one consume an extra dose of sugary goodness, ha. Thanks for your considered thoughts Nic, it’s always great to have you on the comment thread 🙂

      October 11, 2023 - 11:50 pm Reply
  • bronlima

    A very enjoyable and informative series. Looking forward to the next batch! So…. I thought you spent most of your time looking at mosques. Now I know that most of your time was dedicated to eating!

    October 11, 2023 - 10:40 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Mosques and meals, meals and mosques. And a whole bunch of other stuff. Thanks for swinging by Geoff, I hope all is well with you in Peru.

      October 11, 2023 - 11:52 pm Reply
  • Rebecca

    I miss Turkish food dearly, and this post certainly didn’t help! 😆 I love how fresh and flavorful Turkish food is, and I’m drooling at the sight of all of these. Did you try midye dolma (stuffed mussels) or tavuk gogsu (chicken dessert)? Those are more of an acquired taste, but pretty good! Dreaming of the next trip to Turkey to have all of these delicious dishes again!

    October 11, 2023 - 11:51 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Mussels and the like are sadly some of the very few things I’m unable to stomach. But a big yes to the chicken dessert, which we had at Pandeli. We had the kazandibi variety, which is basically the same as tavuk göğsü, except it is cooked in a caramelised sugar. Thanks Rebecca, as always, for your support of another series on the blog! 🙂

      October 11, 2023 - 11:59 pm Reply
  • thomasstigwikman

    That was certainly a mouth watering post. The Künefe sounded really good. I certainly knew about Baklava but I tend to think of that as Greek. The same thing with profiteroles but I tend to think of them as French. But I don’t really know. The Pogača looked like fruit tarts in the picture, but it is bell peppers and feta. That sounds good. I love feta and bell peppers. I think it was interesting to see the beer. Cheers!🥂

    October 12, 2023 - 12:03 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Trying to figure out precisely where baklava originated is a daunting task. I did some online research and there are a lot of different theories. Funnily enough I’ve enjoyed the stuff in Turkey, Morocco, Dubai and even England but not yet in Greece. Like you I would have also said “France” about the origin of profiteroles, though a quick search has told me Italy! Jeez, who’d have thought? Thanks for sharing your thoughts Thomas, it’s always appreciated.

      October 12, 2023 - 12:16 am Reply
  • NortheastAllie

    Everything looks delicious, I imagine that their bread and pastries are amazing!

    October 12, 2023 - 12:45 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading Allie. 🙂

      October 12, 2023 - 12:53 am Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    pardon me while I stare and salivate over my computer. All of this looks really amazing, I think I would actually have a hard time being pulled away from the food to do anything else. Better plan for a solid few days of just food 🙂

    October 12, 2023 - 1:11 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for following along throughout this series Meg 🙂

      October 12, 2023 - 10:55 am Reply

    Absolutely love Turkish food…not so much the sweet stuff but everything else, love it. As it happens, we’ve just landed in…..err, not quite Turkey but Turkish…and it’s a total delight to dive back into Turkish food after what was a disappointingly bland Morocco. Great round up of the many delights which Turkey has to offer!

    October 12, 2023 - 1:39 am Reply
    • Leighton

      What a pity about the food in Morocco, I only have good memories of my culinary adventures there. Although I do remember wishing there was a bit more range to the dishes on offer. Wishing you both a fantastic time in Cyprus.

      October 12, 2023 - 11:01 am Reply
  • Anna

    It all looks sooooo good!

    October 12, 2023 - 3:12 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for your support of the series Anna.

      October 12, 2023 - 11:01 am Reply
  • Little Miss Traveller

    All those mouthwatering dishes are making me feel hungry Leighton. I’m not a fan of baklava as I find it too sweet but am tempted to try it again now and then.

    October 12, 2023 - 8:28 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for taking a look at this overview of Turkish bites and gulps Marion. Istanbul is such a great foodie city, though with our new diet I’m left wondering what we could actually eat if we ever returned.

      October 12, 2023 - 11:01 pm Reply
  • rkrontheroad

    In my catch-up reading this morning, I saved this one for last so it would be closer to lunch time. Yumm! They all looked wonderful. I am reminded to visit my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant in the Denver area next time I’m down there (actually Moroccan, but close enough).

    October 12, 2023 - 8:46 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for doing such a bumper catchup session Ruth, it’s much appreciated. I do hope that you are experiencing a lovely fall. Here in Croatia the daily temps are around 25 degrees. It’s lovely, and slightly surreal in mid October.

      October 12, 2023 - 11:06 pm Reply
      • rkrontheroad

        The fall colors here (Aspen gold) have been lovely, and the temperatures are dropping, especially at night. We were supposed to get snow today, but it’s been a lot of wind. Just a dusting of snow on the mountain peaks, enough to be pretty. Enjoy Croatia – I’ll look forward to your posts.

        October 13, 2023 - 2:00 am
  • Lingo in Transit

    Yummm, so much variety! Your sharing platter looks delicious and I can never pass up a good serving of baba ganoush. I’m like your modern tastebuds with baklava, I struggle with finishing one because it’s too sweet for my liking. I have tried Künefe but can’t say I’m a huge fan but after reading your description, I might have to give it another go some time.

    October 13, 2023 - 8:37 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you for checking out my look at Istanbul’s food scene 🙂 kunefe definitely isn’t for everyone, but perhaps worth a second try if you get the chance.

      October 13, 2023 - 11:21 am Reply
  • WanderingCanadians

    A food recap is a delicious way to end your Istanbul series. It looks like you guys ate well and made a good effort to try many of the authentic Turkish treats and dishes. I’m now craving baklava.

    October 13, 2023 - 1:54 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for keeping up with the series!

      October 13, 2023 - 10:06 pm Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    We really like pastries – especially when we are ‘on the go’! The simit looks yummy, but wow … the baklava and Turkish Delight – that’s a feast on its own! I love the cafes/bistros – how does one choose? And then I’m not even talking about lunch and dinner – the Bilice Kebap will knock me over (with deliciousness)! One thing I know for sure: Istanbul will not be good for my weight (but it will be great for my taste buds). What a way to end your Istanbul series – just LOVED it! Now, if you’re looking for me, I’m around the corner at one of those cute bistros with a caramel latte (or two) 😉. Enjoy your break from blogging Leighton – hope to see you again soon!

    October 13, 2023 - 7:59 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks a bunch Corna, as always, for your support of LT. We are now entering a phase of heavy work as we look to launch a new service for our school. But I’m sure I’ll be back before too long.

      October 13, 2023 - 10:08 pm Reply
  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    This post neatly coincides with my conclusion of “The Museum of Innocence”. It was so great to see photos of the foods I read about in the book – especially the simits. I figured they were some sort of bread since they were always throwing bits of them to birds and fish in the book. Although, I am starving after seeing all of the delicious-sounding foods you featured here. I’m going to have to go back and make sure that I’ve read all of your Istanbul posts because I have thoroughly enjoyed your insights and photos. I loved the photo of Sladja with the tasting platter – what a beautiful smile! Have a wonderful week ahead, my friend.

    October 15, 2023 - 1:55 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Congrats on finishing The Museum of Innocence Kellye! I’m glad that my articles could serve as some kind of compliment to the world painted in the book. Have a great Sunday.

      October 15, 2023 - 1:25 pm Reply
      • Mike and Kellye Hefner

        I truly loved the book and the posts, Leighton.

        October 15, 2023 - 9:37 pm
  • Little Old World

    This has made me very hungry and tempted to go to Istanbul just for the food alone (let alone all the other magnificent sites you’ve treated us to over the course of your series)! A great way to end a very insighful series. Enjoy your blogging break!

    October 15, 2023 - 2:32 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks so much for your support of the series. I’m looking forward to writing up more locations later in the year.

      October 15, 2023 - 7:16 pm Reply
  • travelling_han

    Oh my goodness, get me to all the food. I LOVED the meals we ate in Istanbul, it’s got so much variety to offer.

    October 15, 2023 - 9:31 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for your support throughout this series Hannah. 🙂

      October 16, 2023 - 9:50 am Reply
  • Travel with a Pen

    All the sweets and pastries and that caramel latte!! Looks divine! Now craving baklava and some testi-kebab!

    October 23, 2023 - 6:38 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Me too actually, it’s been a while. Thanks for reading Amarachi!

      October 24, 2023 - 12:28 am Reply
  • shortgirlontour

    Takes me right back! The best part is that the food was good everywhere! Even the super touristy places!

    October 23, 2023 - 6:44 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I don’t think we had a disappointing meal either. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

      October 24, 2023 - 12:29 am Reply
  • Toonsarah

    I’m drooling over much of this! I don’t have an especially sweet tooth so the böreği sound perfect for a lunch time snack 🙂 I love the sound of all your favourite coffee shops too, just our sort of place!

    October 24, 2023 - 1:38 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for the catch up Sarah, I always find that a good coffee joint really makes our morning and gets a day of exploring off to a good start.

      October 24, 2023 - 1:43 pm Reply
  • Lookoom

    For a short stay I didn’t take the time to explore the food too much, except for the baklava, my all-time favorite, above the lokum 🙂 Hoping your break is beneficial.

    November 10, 2023 - 3:17 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey, thanks for mopping up my last article in this series. The “break” has been hectic with work and other things that have had to take priority. I have had very little time to give the blog any meaningful attention, but still hope to be back at the end of the year. I hope the autumn period is treating you well, stay healthy and safe.

      November 10, 2023 - 4:22 pm Reply

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