July 8, 2011 Off

Meyhane at Asmalimescit (Istanbul: Beyoglu)

By in 12: Istanbul, Travel

Two blocks from our apartment is one of our favorite places in Istanbul to wine and dine: Asmalimescit – lively small streets filled with Meyhane (Tavern), bars and cafes. Any day in the week, starting in late afternoon, these narrow streets would be filled with outdoor tables and chairs occupied by people having a good time drinking, eating and playing backgammon. Waiters would bring over a big tray of meze for people to choose from. I love the energy and it’s a great place for people watching.

It’s a bit overwhelming to settle for a place as they’re all crowded and fun. Some people say they’re all pretty inter-changable so you can go to anyone of them. So we picked the ones that’s most crowded and have been around for years.

Sofyali 9 : In a three stories house, this place is very popular and reservation is a must on the weekend. We got the last table on the 3rd floor fortunately.

IMG_3233Here comes the big tray of mezes!  We picked four: marinated anchovies, Lakerda (cured mackerel), Muamara (hot pepper dip) and Kisir (bulgur with parsley and tomato paste). All the ingredients are good and fresh. I like the cured Mackerel and Kisir a lot.

Fried Albanian Liver
– very tasty! The liver is tender, slight crispy outside and then melt in your mouth.


Refik Restuarant: This place is one of the oldest Meyhane in town. Apparently it’s popular among artists and intellecutals (which might explain the many “professor” looking types in there). Many of their mezes are Black Sea region of Turkish food.

Shrimp Galantine – refreshing.

Roasted Sweet peppers, Salicornia and Saute Mushrooms in Butter.
The peppers is so sweet and flavorful. Not sure I like the texture of Salicornia (didn’t know you can eat them) but they are well seasoned. The mushrooms were very good and one of the highlights of the night.

Pickled Anchovies – very good!

Sliced Tongue – very tender.

We liked Refik a bit better than Sofyali 9, but both are very good. There are also many other good places that people highly recommended in Asmalimescit so I think you’ll have a good meal in a lot of the places there.

Sofyali 9 – Asmalimescit Mh Sofyalı Sokak No: 9, Tünel, Beyoglu Istanbul
Refik – Asmalimescit Mh. Sofyali Sokak No:7 Tunel, Beyoglu Istanbul

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