Istanbul Food and Wine Tours

Taste the diverse street foods and rich mezze of the Turkish capital

Istanbul is the jewel of Turkey – its largest city where the cultures of Europe and Asia meet and mingle to create a unique and heady atmosphere. Named as a European Capital of Culture in 2010, it is the world’s fifth most visited tourist destination, and it’s not hard to understand why. Istanbul’s warm climate, the river running straight through the city which is connected by the impressive Bosphorus bridge, the array of Ottoman and Byzantine architecture and the famous Haga Sophia are just some of the reasons why it is such a popular destination.

Turkish cuisine is beloved the world over, and in Istanbul you can experience Turkey’s delicious and diverse foods for yourself. Of course kebap is a well known food in many other countries, but in Istanbul you will find a huge range of different styles such as Adana Kebap, made from lamb meat and tail fat. The recipe is protected by law and a certain level of quality must be met by chefs serving the dish. Kuyu kebabı is a whole roast lamb cooked over a charcoal fire. Künefe, an Arab-style cheese pastry is also a favourite among locals, served hot with the cheese melted inside. You might already know Baklava, the mouthwatering filo-pastry dessert, but you’ve probably never tasted it the real Turkish way. The layers of paper-thin pastry are interleaved with nuts and butter before being soaked in syrup. You can enjoy these decadent snacks anywhere, but longstanding traditional bakeries such as Güllüoğlu or Köşkeroğlu serve the very best.

Meze is also a very popular way to eat. Meze is a mix of cold starters which may be eaten before your meal, or you can choose several different dishes to share between friends for a sociable and fun experience. Some commonly-served dishes are chilli-tomato paste, grilled aubergines with yogurt, fried or grilled aubergine salad, beans, artichoke and more. The mezes will usually be served with toasted bread. A Turkish-style breakfast is also a must-try. Breakfast often consists of tea, tomatoes or cucumbers and various types of bread accompanied by white cheese, olives, cream, honey or jam. Other, more decadent, traditional dishes may also be served such as sucuk (dried sausage made of ground beef with garlic and spices) or börek (a flatbread filled with cheese, minced meat or vegetables).

Istanbul gives you countless options for indulging in good food. Street food here is excellent. You can grab tasty traditional snacks such as Simit (a sesame crusted bagel), Balık-ekmek (fish sandwiches) or Lahmakun (more commonly known as Turkish pizza). Many locals say these foods are best eaten standing rather than at a restaurant. The best way to get to know Istanbul is to eat your way through its streets - join us on our Street Food tour!

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