As we made our way across the bridge and through the ancient Galata neighborhood, now known as Karaköy, we found several eateries we though were worth mentioning. The majority of these are located northeast of Galata Bridge on or near the waterfront along the Bosphorus. Here are our recommendations:
Osmanli Balikçisi – selling the popular and inexpensive (~6 TL) fish sandwich balik ekmek – freshly grilled mackerel served up in generous portions on a half loaf of crusty bread (similar to, yet bigger than, a French baguette) and topped with onions. On the table you’ll find lemon juice and seasonings to add to taste. The service is less aggressive than at the other eateries on the bridge, which makes dining here more enjoyable and their sandwiches are really good. Osmanli Balikçisi is located at the southern end of the bridge (closest to the Old City/Sultanahmet), facing the Golden Horn.
Mahmut Usta Osmanlı Mutfağı– had we not just eaten fish sandwiches from Osmanli Balikçisi on the bridge, we would have definitely have stopped here for lunch. Mike stepped in to take a quick look at their selections and was quite impressed by what he saw, it all looked so much better than what we’d seen in other similar styled eateries in the city. Billed as an artisanal restaurant, they cater to the business lunch crowd, and their menu includes rice pilaf, köftes, kebaps, soups, stews, salads, stuffed vegetables, and desserts. Mahmut Usta is on the waterfront, off the tourist path, a 7-minute walk northeast of the Galata Bridge.
Simit in Oven
Simit to go
Karaköy Galata Simitçisi – Throughout Istanbul you’ll see sidewalk vendors selling simit (ring shaped bread coated with sesame seeds). Being the adventurous sort, we tried one from one of these vendor carts and unfortunately, it was so hard and stale we could have broken a tooth. Then, we found this quaint little neighborhood bakery selling simit fresh from the oven. We decided to pop in and sample their version. Lucky for us, these were much better! Galata Simitçisi also makes delicious looking bread loaves and rolls, some topped with sunflower seeds or filled with cheese, and muffins that they call kek (cake). The bakery is located just under 10-minute’s walk northeast of Galata Bridge, just a few steps away from…
Karaköy Güllüoglu – specializing in the traditional Ottoman sweet, baklava; a syrupy dessert made of paper thin layers of dough, filled with nuts and sugar syrup. We’ve tried baklava in other places, but after sampling the ones offered here, we see why this gooey sweet (according to the Karaköy Güllüoglu website) is considered ‘the sultan of desserts and the dessert of sultans’. Their regular baklava is good on its own, but their chocolate baklava takes it to a whole new level! Seriously, you need to make your way to this place just for the chocolate baklava. Karaköy Güllüoglu is an easy 10-minute walk from the Galata Bridge.