Istanbul, built around the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea, has a replete of fish restaurants known as "meyhane." These businesses have existed since the Byzantine Empire; they were located in coastal cities and used to welcome sailors who wanted to drink and eat at the same time. Turkish people frequently drink raki in these venues while having mezes as appetizers, followed by fish. This type of dinner gave rise to the phrase "let's have a rakı-balık" ("raki-fish"). A "raki-balk" is a Turkish tradition in which all topics of discourse are covered for several hours. It's a pretty nice meal, and it's a must-try throughout your visit.
Sur Balk (the sophisticated one with a breath-taking view of the Bosphorus), Lipari (affordable, local, and very delicious), Arnavutköy Balıkcısı or Eftalya (two of the neighborhood's institutions, outstanding service, and great food) are just a few of the excellent eateries. All of them are on the same street. Remember to make a reservation for the weekend because it is always crowded.
It's a lovely patio on Istiklal Avenue with views of the Bosphorus, the mezes are fresh and tasty, and the pricing is reasonable; what more could you ask for? In addition to Turkish mezes, the house also serves wonderful Greek mezes and a variety of small surprises. Remember to reserve a table a few hours on weekdays and a few days ahead of time on weekends.
This is an absolute classic as well as a sure bet! This old pub has been lovingly restored in gorgeous turquoise colors and is a must-see! The restaurant is pleasant; nevertheless, there is a limited menu selection; we recommend the mezes platter over the fish; the value for money is outstanding, and the contents are pretty fresh. If you are in the vicinity, we strongly advise you to visit it rather than the Galata Bridge restaurants, mediocre tourist attractions. They also have daily menus of exquisite homemade dishes available around lunchtime! This restaurant is frequently booked in the evening, so make a reservation ahead of time.
It's located on the Asian side. Del Mare has tasty meals and a spectacular perspective of the city. The octopus carpaccio, fried shrimp, and yogurt ravioli, as well as the superb fish and Turkish mezze, are not to be missed. You will also be satisfied by the excellent wine list (and raki) as well as the excellent service. The quality of the meal and the romanticism of the location will make up for the high prices.