Monday, June 6, 2011

Set Balik Lokantasi - Istanbul, Turkey

There is an abundance of Balik Lokantasi (Fish Restaurants) along both the European and Asian sides of the Boshporus and to a novice all would probably taste quite spectacular.  Since my husband and I pride ourselves in always searching for the perfect meal, I can confidently say that Set Balik Lokantasi (a little off the beaten path) in Kirecburnu is probably one of the best that we recommended to everyone we know.  This place is always at the top of my list and one of those places I dream about when I am away from Istanbul.

Set Balik Lokantasi

Haydar Aliyev Caddesi, No. 18
Kirecburnu, Istanbul, 34467
Tel:  0212 262 0411
        0212 262 3498

What makes Set Balik so special is not just it's fantastic food but it's service and prices as well.  I should probably make a footnote here about the prices in these seafood restaurants.  You should always ask to see a menu and make sure to check the bill carefully.  The whole easy going culture of 'not worrying' can sometimes have unpleasant results.  I sometimes feel that they charge by the person instead of by the amount of food and drink consumed.  This will not happen in Set Balik, they are very reasonably priced and I  don't remember, ever being surprised by the bill there.  Having said all that, I think any meal by the Bosphorus is a priceless experience.

Set is by the water but not on the water, but if you sit at the terrace you still get a view and of course there is also the fabulous sea air to inhale.   Turks love to sit outside and the ever resourceful Turkish restauranteurs are prepared for all eventualities.  They have massive awnings that open and close according to the position of the sun, outdoor heaters to prolong the season for as long as possible and also provide shawls and blankets for anyone who might feel chilled.  But even on a cold, dark, winter day where you have no choice but to be inside, the food alone will be enough to lure people in.  This place is usually packed especially on the weekends but it is still possible to have a nice, quiet meal if you go at off hours (we like to go for a late lunch or an early dinner before the crowds) Although I cannot complain about much even when it was completely full.

Now about the food... There are the usual mezes and then some... they always have something new and it's always exciting to try out what they are offering.  I want to mention some of my all-time favorites here -  hardal soslu levrek (seabass with mustard sauce), pekmezli patlican salata (eggplant salad with molasses),  pilaki (broad beans cooked in olive oil), deniz borulcesi (pickleweed salad), kozlenmis kirmizi biber (roasted red peppers) and they also have some of the most incredible salads - the general preference with fish is a salad of mixed greens, you can even leave it up to them, just let them know if there is a particular ingredient you have an aversion to...

For the hot meze-  their fried calamari is a great example of its kind (my husband will get this for his main meal) they also have a very interesting fried potato roll with seafood in it that I think is delightful, plus on some days, a waiter will come out every once in a while and drop off a plate with something new they are trying out.

All of the main seafood dishes are very good in my experience and I can't just name one I like particularly better than another so I say go for whatever catches your fancy... I am sure you will be happy.

1 comment:

  1. Set Balik was definitely one of the best places I ate when I was in Istanbul. And I'm not even normally a big fan of fish (as food) but man... let's just say their fish was so good I could barely tell it was fish ;)

    Sarah | Izmir Shore Excursions