If the earth was a single state, Istanbul would be its capital
If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul
Alphonse de Lamartine
Ever since we first went to Istanbul quite some years ago and "did" the sights (Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, The Cisterns, The Grand Bazaar etc.) we fell in love with this wonderful, amazing, vibrant, lively, energetic, overwhelming town. So back we went, this time concentrating on exploring the street life and culinary wonders of Istanbul. As you can see above, Istanbul greeted us with pouring rain and very low temperatures, so we had to adjust our program somewhat, looking as much as possible for shelter and warmth.
One adress that gave us both was Takanik Balik where we found all the delectable fish dishes I had just seen on Anthony Bourdains "No Reservations". You will find these fun and very watchable episodes on YouTube when you google "Anthony Bourdain Istanbul". But be warned: you will want to pack your bags and fly to Istanbul asap!
I don't think I have ever had mussels as good as these: stuffed with a very moreish mixture of rice and spices - there was some cinnamon in there and they are served at room tempearture.
And then there was Hamsi of course. These tiny Black Sea anchovy, known as the "little princes" of fish, were just coming into season and all along the Bosporus we saw men fishing for them. The way Hamsi are served couldn't be simpler - dusted with some flour and panfried - an absolute delicacy.