[ Well I still have to get done with my Posts on Turkey… before I move on to Seychelles.. what a difficult thing to do, especially when Seychelles is so fresh in my mind! Well.. here goes…………]

Soon after the Bosphorus cruise, we were dropped to our respective hotels. We had 3 more nights with us, and hadn’t explored the world of food in Turkey, as such. Having read up enough, we knew that eating under the Galata bridge is a must- but getting there was a pain!

On talking to the receptionist at the hotel, we were told that a few restaurants picked up its customers and dropped them off- Hurray! One restaurant called “Yaka Balik’ (Balik means fish), sounded good, and we asked the reception to reserve a table for us.

A few minutes later, we got a call saying that we would be picked up at 7 pm- now that was way too early for us,and we almost ditched the plan! But you kn ow Mr. R, he is so sweet and always manages to calm me down! And so we left at 7, reached the restaurant at 8 and were done by 10 pm!

The drive seemed never ending, and we were finally dropped off on the kerb, where someone from the restaurant came and escorted us, (probably for fear that we may decide to partake of a meal elsewhere!!). We walked past a number of restaurants, then to the back through a tiny corridoor and hola- we were at ‘The Yaka Balik”.

Passing by the restaurants, I kept thinking that they had such a good view. On reaching Yaka Balik, I was a little disappointed that it was at the back… but that was before I saw the suspended bridge all lit up and the Sulemaniye mosque, all lit up, from outside the restaurant!

We had specifically asked for a table by the glass doors, but were escorted to a table in the middle of the restaurant! Boy! I was all ready to throw a fit.. I hate it when we request a table, the restaurant confirms the same and then when you get there, they don’t comply with your request.

On reminding them of our request they very sweetly obliged (I later realised that it was Mehmet the owner whom I had read about), and led us to a nicely decorated table, with rose petals!

On settling down, we decided to call for drinks, and for me I judge the bartender by the quality of my long island… However, they didn’t have that on the menu, and Mehmet offered to make it for me if I could give him a list of ingredients- which Mr. R gladly did!

What a wonderful surprise….the bartender was a gem…… my drink exceeded all expectations by far.. came with a beautifully lit sparkler (makes you think it’s Diwali in India… that’s the only place I’ve seen such sparklers), and very nicely decorated (and surprise.. only 15 TRY a drink that is like 30 AED)!

Mehmet stood talking to us, advising us about the food. We called for the fried calamari for starters.. I loved them, my hubby compared them to Ocean Basket in South Africa and Dubai (really…. you can’t compare.. Just judge what you eat), and hence wee far below his expectations!

They brought out an entire platter of salads, with various choices.. and also a huge selection of fish to choose from…

Mehmet recommended we order the fish in salt as that was their staple dish.and so we did.. It took a while but when it came to us, it was wonderful! Mehmet brought it to us himself, Flaming Fish I call it! Wrapped in flour..what a beautiful sight!

One of the waiters cleaned and cut it out for us.. No skin and no thorns. fine by us.. But we do not have any aversion to eating the skin- that’s the best part of the fish.. The fish was good, but a little bland for us.
Stuffed, we had no room for desset, and Mehmet dropped us to our hotel!

I must say that this restaurant is very warm and welcoming. What it may lack in food, it makes up for with the warmth and interaction of the owners. A family business, this guy Mehmet who is only a few months older than I am, has given me inspiration:) Him being there, interacting with the patrons, taking an interest in them, talkin about the countries they come from, their travels and basically being very informative, is a major pro for this restaurant.

He invited us to lunch the next day, but we were short on time and sadly declined. How I wish we could’ve gone back!

Will I go to this restaurant again- Definitely. And I’d recommend it too. It was by far, a great pleasure. A little steep on the prices, but as I said, whatever it lacks, it makes up for, by means of the warm friendly owner and the view! And let’s not forget, they concocted a drink especially for me… Anyone who does that.has my vote!

(I’ve taken excerpts from my review on TripAdvisor!).