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Entries in Istanbul (6)


Istanbul Dining - Hamdi Restaurant

March 22 saw the beginning of my fourth trip to Istanbul, but despite three previous trips all at least three days long, I had never eaten at a proper Kebab place. This was to be the trip that changed. The Boyfriend, instructed to find me the best kebab the city had to offer settled on Hamdi, a restaurant that caters to both tourists alike so that Friday, The Boyfriend, five friends and I decided to try it out.

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Hotels in Istanbul: The Kempinski, Four Seasons and The W 

Four trips, three hotels, my two cents.

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Istanbul (4) - Park Samdan, Reina

Our dinner post Kanaat at Reina was less exciting. Reina is one of those places that it is good to see and be seen. Its in Ortakoy part of an upmarket strip of nightclubs and restaurants near the first bridge. The Boyfriend, his friends and guidebooks all seem to have a similar opinion on Reina – they love to hate it. They hate the occassionaly chavvy and over the top-ness of the place, the pretentiousness , overpriced drinks and service, and the crowds, the mix of gold-diggers, too old businessmen and tourists, and yet people, including The Boyfriend and his friends go there a lot... We visited on both a Monday and a Thursday and on both times the place was packed.

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Istanbul (3) - Kanaat

Kanaat, located on the Asian side of Istanbul, is a renowned restaurant for home style Turkish cooking. The Boyfriend face glowed as he stared at the menu-and his eyes grew wide – the way mine do at the sight of a Net a Porter sale - pointing out the things that he hadn't been able to eat outside of his parents home. Obviously, this meant that every dish was compared to The Parent's version - and whilst all fell short, it was only by a little - extraordinarily high praise. (Please note - The Turks are a bit like the Italians in the sense that no food is as good as Mama's, whereas most people in the UK go out to eat better food than they can find at home, most Turkish people seem to feel that anything found in a restaurant is never as good as home leading one to wonder why they even have restaurants in the first place? Anyway, any Turkish person you meet - if discussing some type of food you want to try, will normally invite you to their home or in the case of one of The Boyfriend's friend will offer to ship you their mother's version of the dish in question. 

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Istanbul (2) - Sultanahmet Koftecisi

Our second day in Istanbul involved a trip to the Grand Bazaar. After two hours of wandering around in circles looking at thousands of almost identical scarves, bags, bowls and packets of Turkish tea, The Boyfriend was close to abandoning me alone in the middle of the thing. The final straw came after a ten minute discussion with a store owner about two very similar bracelets, The Boyfriend let out a howl of frustration and it was time to leave. Walking quickly we left the Bazaar, and headed down the main street in Sultanahmet. This was a probably a good thing - my arms were starting to strain under the weight of new purchases as I knew my suitcase would in three days, but hey, at least my wallet was lighter.

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Istanbul (1) - Zuma

So The Boyfriend and I had four days in Istanbul. For The Boyfriend this is no excitement, being an Istanbulli and all. For me this would be the highlight of my year. Now I know its pathetic to go all the way to Turkey to eat in a restaurant that I could technically eat in in London. I accept that. I judge myself. I judge others who do the same. Will I eventually end up as that person who leaves the UK and only eat in restaurants where they recognise the name? I hope not and I have a long list of reasons that attempt to justify heading to Zuma in Istanbul on one of our four nights. 

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