As I promised I will write only about the places where I have been to and liked. Here is one of my favorites, located in the Asmalımescit quarter, Sofyali 9.
Personally I have been there many times with friends and family, have recommended a lot of hotel guests and still didn’t receive a single complain yet. It is one of the oldest and family run meyhanes in Istanbul.
The Asmalımescit quarter is home to many creative work studios and embassies. Therefore along with tourists, you will notice many employees at lunch time.
The lunch menu changes daily. Different types of Turkish home cooking are prepared every day at really low prices to attract the local office workers whose numbers are hard to ignore. A lunch menu with a soft drink will cost no more than 20 TL per person.
Here is our secret formula for Istanbul restaurants: if you see employees from nearby offices having lunch at a specific place, trust me — it is the cheapest and the most delicious one in the neighborhood. There are even books about such employee oriented restaurants serving lunch menus. They are the hardest to notice. Sofyali 9 is one of them. But make no mistake, this place turns into a great meyhane in the evening.
What about dinner? Still a good choice but make sure you reserve your table in advance.
A large selection of cold starters (mezes) accompanied with raki or wine is a must to start with. They have a wide choice of mezes, so I will not recommend anything in specific. But make sure you have at least one vegetable, one seafood and one yogurt meze on the table. Also always ask for toasted bread.
I always prefer a table outside or on the ground floor. I suggest you do the same and not go to the upper floors.
As you know, smoking indoor is banned in Turkey. For heavy smokers you can take a table outside, since they have heaters in winter.
The narrow streets around are always busy with young people. You will notice bars and many other cafes nearby, so maybe it is wise to save a few drinks at the opposite bar called Otto.
You can walk back to your Witt Istanbul Hotel in about 15 minutes. Go along the Istiklal Street to Taksim Square, then head down to Cihangir about 500 meters. The second option is to take a taxi, but here is a small secret: go to the Marmara Pera Hotel and take one of their taxis so you don’t have to deal with taxis overcharging.
Sofyali 9 (Sofyalı 9)
Asmalımescit Cad, Sofyalı Sok. No:9
Tel: +90 212 245 03 62