Drenched in history and lapped by the Mediterranean sea, Greece is home to some of the finest ingredients in the world with the most colorful, flavorful and delicious cuisines in the Mediterranean. With their famous, widely-appreciated and sophisticated appetite, Greeks base their diet on a variety of food that is rich in nutrients and low in animal fat. You do not have to wander too far from Istanbul if you want a taste of a delicious traditional Greek dish along with a refreshing glass of ouzo. Enjoy our list of the finest Greek restaurants in Istanbul and ... Καλή όρεξη (Kali Orexi - enjoy your meal).
Eleos (Yeşilköy and Beyoğlu): With its name meaning 'mercy' in ancient Greek, Eleos is one of Istanbul's finest restaurants. With two branches – one in Yeşilköy and the other in Beyoğlu - this fine blue and white restaurant is one your taste buds will not forget easily. Alongside Istanbul's classic tavern flavors and appetizers, Eleos also allows you to try unique flavors from Greek and Armenian cuisine.
Eleos is particularly known for its white exterior, commonly called the "White Tavern" in Yeşilköy. Inside the cozy restaurant you can find pictures of old taverns in Samatya, Balat and Soğuksu, and also delicate blue and white china. When dining at Eleos you will listen to a music archive that has been specially picked for your entertainment. Unforgettable songs from rebetika and nostalgic pieces from classical Turkish music will be the icing on the cake of your delicious Mediterranean dinner.
Must Try: Stuffed anchovies, four-cheese stuffed squid, fish in paper, Eleos patty and the soufflé
Contact: 0212 663 39 11- 573 68 28 / www.eleosrestaurant.com
Kalamata Restaurant (Beşiktaş): Kalamata is a traditional tavern restaurant serving customers since 2009 in Beşiktaş. With its name coming from the Kalamata olive, this nostalgic tavern is the perfect place to spend a Saturday night with friends or family. A constantly-changing menu is one of Kalamata's specialties, making sure that what is served is the freshest and most delicious in season. The affordable prices are also what attracts customers to this unique restaurant.
The music is yet another aspect of Kalamata that must be mentioned. Every Wednesday, Coşkun Sabah and his band take to the stage and preform Turkish arabesque music. On other days Kosta and Tuba sing both Greek and Turkish music. With some of the most delicious appetizers in Greek cuisine, Kalamata is a restaurant you won't want to leave!
Kalamata olive appetizer, samphire, pumpkin parfait
0212 258 87 88 / kalamatameyhane.cok.tr
Garaj Restaurant (Tarabya): Owned and operated by the same family and serving customers from all over the world since 1935, Garaj is a restaurant in Tarabya with a spectacular view and a peerless menu. With its historic building seating up to 400 guests, Garaj is the perfect place to try both Greek and Turkish appetizers. The traditional Turkish rakı and fish combo is one of Garaj's specialties. With reasonable prices and sentimental Turkish music and for those who do not wish to have Turkish rakı with their meal, there is also a generous selection of wines to choose from. After dinner, guests are treated to Turkish desserts and fruit platters.
Must Try: Kidney beans, marinated sea bass, lobster
0212 262 00 32 / 0212 262 04 74
Agapia Meyhane (Kadıköy): The historic 100-year-old building of Agapia has been serving unique food and drinks to customers since 2003. Now with its renovated interior, private garden and sophisticated atmosphere, a new era of Agapia awaits its customers in the heart of Kadıköy. There are two different sections in Agapia, one being the Agapia Cafe where you can taste delicious Greek/Turkish coffee, and the other section being the Agapia Meyhanesi, where you can find a selection of fine wines, specialty cocktails and other foreign and domestic drinks. The sound of lovely Greek melodies will lighten your mood and make your evening even more special.
Baba ghanoush, shrimp saganaki, samphire, Cretan sea bass
0216 347 85 96 / agapiameyhane.com / agapiarestaurant.com
Zarifi's Restaurant (Beyoğlu): Zarif, meaning "elegant" in Turkish, is where the restaurant gets its name. Dating back to the Ottoman period, the Zarifi family was one of the most acclaimed and well-known families. Even though there are no living members of the Zarifi family around today, they will always be remembered by their contribution towards many historic buildings in Ottoman Greek society such as the Büyükada Greek Orphanage, Balıklı Rum Hastanesi, Church of Agia Paraskevi and others.
Zarifi's Restaurant was opened in 2000 to emphasize the rich cultural aspects of Greek and Turkish cuisine. Along with the Turkish dishes on the menu, you can also find examples of mouth-watering Greek, Armenian, Arab and Jewish dishes. Besides its peerless live music performances, you can also see belly dancing and zenne performances.
Cretan dakos salad, mussels, grilled calamari, Trakya cheese casserole with tomato and chili pepper
0212 293 54 80/ zarifi.com.tr