Hg2 : The Hedonist

Balikci Sabahattin

The best fish restaurant in the Old City is also one of the best in Greater Istanbul. It draws in customers from all over, who come to sit in its pretty outdoor terrace or its crumbling bourgeois mansion house. And before the brilliant seafood selection has got anywhere near your table they’ve been vetted by Balikci Sabahattin’s proprietor, Mr. Sabahattin Cankurtaran, who is up at the crack of dawn trawling the fish markets to get his hands on the day’s best catches. The restaurant featured in the New York Times a decade ago and for many, this listing was its downfall. Over the last few years, standards certainly haven’t slipped but prices have risen and the waiters are more harried and are thus more likely to hurry a non-Turkish speaker through proceedings. But when faced with a meze platter of spiced fish balls, marinated sea bass and grilled calamari you’re likely to forgive any misdemeanours and dive straight in. Train buffs should note that Istanbul’s suburban rail line abuts the restaurant, and Orient Express trains used to pass along it until the 1970s. A handful of carriages bound for Belgrade and Bucharest still amble by each night.  Food 9, Service 5, Atmosphere 7

Hasan Kuyu Sokak 50, off Cankurtaran,
+90 212 458 18 24
Opening Times
daily, noon-1am
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