3. Istanbul Night Tasting Trail: Eat & Drink Like a Local
Take a ride on the world’s second-oldest funicular to the heart of Istanbul’s food scene on a 3.5-hour culinary tour. Wander through back streets and hidden lanes, feasting as you go.
Your local guide will offer insight into the intricacies and traditions of Turkish food culture, and tell you about the origins and ingredients of Turkey’s most popular dishes.
Start your food tour off with a taste of borek, a delicious flaky pastry filled with local cheese, potato, or meat. Wash it down with a cup of ayran, a yogurt drink that is considered by many to be the national beverage of Turkey.
Next you’ll take part in a true local tradition. At the end of a long working day, many of the locals sit down for some drinks, tasty food, and good conversation with friends. Pull up a seat at a traditional meyhene (tavern) and join in, sampling meze accompanied by a glass of raki.
Take a post-meze break at an out-of-the-way teahouse that was a popular meeting place of the Young Turks, the political reform movement of the early 20th century that brought multi-party democracy to Turkey.
Then it will be time to try some delectable treats from favorite street food carts, including içli kofte (deep-fried meat balls) and midye dolma (mussels stuffed with rice).
Indulge your sweet tooth with a sample of Turkish delight in the historic Cicek Passage, followed by some of Turkey’s famed baklava and çikolata (chocolate) or Maraş ice cream.
A visit to Istanbul isn’t complete until you’ve stopped at Taksim Square, the nightlife center of Istanbul, where late-night revelers flock for the delicious Islik burger.
Take a stroll through the atmospheric back streets and finish your tour at an alfresco café and bar that is a popular local haunt.