Where to Eat on the Asian Side of Istanbul

The Asian side of Istanbul is a remarkable place to experience authentic Turkish food and drink. Although most tourist attractions are located on the European side, the Asian side seems more European for lack of a better analogy. It’s a shame that most first-time visitors don’t explore the Kadikoy Market and the restaurants on the Asian side because they miss out on some great foodie experiences.

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Where to Eat on the Asian Side of Istanbul
Asian Side

 

The Asian side is calmer and, in many ways, the more authentic side of the city. Hence, it has a stronger sense of neighborhood. Therefore it has much more family-owned Turkish food and drinks experiences.

 

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Kadikoy Market
Mercan

 

And nowhere is this most noticeable than in Kadikoy. It consequently becomes the cultural center of the Asian side. One of Istanbul’s most up-and-coming areas. And Kadikoy offers an endless choice of quirky cafes, restaurants, bars, and markets. Kadikoy market overflows with countless stalls, entertainment, and vendors selling clothing, produce, and spices on Tuesdays and Fridays.

We ate mussels made two ways. Latif took us to Mercan, a stall with steamed mussels, rice, and spices with a few drops of fresh lemon. You could taste the sea and just a little sand which I love. We also ate some breaded mussels that were fried on a stick. Both were delicious, but I could eat that fried mussel all day and twice on Sunday.

Locals like to interact with tourists over food and drink. I felt the Turkish people I met on the Asian side were just more genuine. The waterfront is also full of stunning restaurants, where you can enjoy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fusion dishes while watching the fisherman on the Bosporus sail by.

 

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Çiya Sofrasi

 

Google where to eat on the Asian side. and this restaurant shows up near the top every time. It’s simple food your Turkish grandma would fix for you. The restaurant is located in the Kadikoy market and a favorite of our tour guide Latif– who knows everyone. I can’t begin to list all the places or even the names. But our guide has led a food tour for 4 years and he says, he takes his family here. It might be one of the best restaurants in Istanbul because the menu is representative of the entire country.

The owner, Chef Musa Dagdeviren has cooked all over the world. But his passion is to collect food and drink recipes from all over Turkey. And the seasonal menu features regional dishes you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Ciya isn’t the fanciest restaurant in town. But it may be one you’ll never forget. And all this for $12-15– total. You can’t beat that, right?

 

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Closing Thoughts

 

It certainly makes sense, they want to see the popular tourist attractions like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, and İstiklâl Caddesi. Similarly, the Asian side has its share of attractions, like the Kadikoy market where my favorites require a knife and fork. And one final thing. I can’t stress enough that the Turks eat more than kabobs.

Güneşlibahçe Sokak 43, Kadikoy, +90 216 330 3190, ciya.com.tr, mains TL14 (£5). Open noon-10pm.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Jenny Silva

    This is such great information on where to find Asian food. I’m always on the hunt for great Asian food when I travel.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Dale, if you ever go there, you’ll have many choices, make sure you go to Kadikoy Market on the Asian side. There are many treats to eat– you won’t be disappointed.

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