Food in Istanbul

Well, you probably want to hear all about the food in Istanbul before you get there. Let me tell you, the food is delicious. It has a lot of similarities with Greek and Middle Eastern food, but don’t tell them that because Turkish people are very proud of their cuisine.

One thing for sure is that Turkish food is very healthy and all organic because they don’t use chemicals on their farms like those big corporate farms in North America.

For breakfast, you will have eggs, but no real bacon because they don’t eat pork in Turkey. I don’t know if they have any pigs in Turkey either. I didn’t find that out. However, they do have a kind of bacon either made from chicken or veal. The veal bacon is pretty good.

For lunch, you can have some kebabs, either chicken or lamb with great tasting tomatoes and salad.

My favorite salad in Turkish was the Rokka Salat which was made with Arugula leaves, fresh tomatoes and a light olive oil dressing.

For dinner my favorite dinner was thin racks of lamb, the Rokka Salat, and a plate which was shared with my friend of sliced avocados and tomatoes. There was also plenty of fish to be had because Istanbul is right on the water – the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. So there’s plenty of fish to eat.

Desserts – well they were wonderful! There were all kinds of baklava type pastries to choose from. and delicious fruits. There was a comquat (I don’t even know how to spell it) which was very sweet with some kind of syrup with it and a dollop of the most beautiful whipped cream.

The candies were really delicious – my favorite was this pistachio candy.

Breads were delicious and baked fresh daily and who could refuse?

Everyday at my budget hotels in Istanbul I would just have a cafe latte and a cherry juice (cherry juice is delicious and plentiful) in the mornings in the breakfast room because I’m never hungry in the morning. I would always eat an early lunch while or brunch when I was out and about touring around.

Now what else about the food details of Istanbul? You should know, just in case you get a hankering for something familiar while you are in Istanbul, there is a McDonald’s there and there are also Starbucks.  And I’m proud to say I didn’t go into McDonalds because that just didn’t seem right.  However, I did pop into Starbucks once in a while.

So if you want to find some healthy recipes for Turkish food, there are many sites online that you can find with recipes you can make at home to bring you back to memories of the food in Istanbul.


Inexpensive Hotels in Istanbul

Like any city, Istanbul has its share of cheap hotels. The only problem is that Istanbul is a huge metropolis with 13 million people and is flooded with tourists all year round. While there are many cheap Istanbul hotels, the main difficulty is finding one with vacancies. Thus, for any visitor from outside of Turkey, it is wise to make a booking before hand, much in advance of your vacation. Not speaking the language and differences in cultures can make search for a cheap hotel quite difficult once you have arrived.

However, for the traveler who is well prepared, staying in one of the cheap Istanbul hotels can be worth it. One great cheap Istanbul hotel is the Hotel Agan. Located next to the Orient railway station, it offers twin beds, buffet breakfast and internet access. The cost of double room with queen sized bed is $45. The Star Hotel is another great cheap Istanbul hotel and is only 200 meters from the Turkish Islamic Art Museum.  You will definitely want to visit the Turkish Islamic Art Museam.  However, back to the Star Hotel.   It is similar to hotel Agan and offers a comfortable bed and is very safe. The cost for a night’s stay at the Star Hotel is $52.

The Emirhan Inn apartment is like any motel in North America and is only 100 meters from little Hagia Sophia, a mosque you will not want to miss because of its history and exquisite architecture. The Emirhan Inn costs $59 a night. Other similar cheap Istanbul hotels include the Dara hotel located near the airport, Hotel Santa Sophia and the Olympiyat.  These are just some of the hotels you can search on the internet and try making a reservation on the internet.

Most of the above mentioned hotels are located in the prime central areas of Istanbul where all the monuments and historic sites are. It’s a good idea to be close to the things that you want to see.  Otherwise, you are going to have to be using taxis and walking all the time when you are there.  The traveler should understand that these relatively cheap hotels are not like the Hilton and one has to be practical and realistic. The cheap hotels in Istanbul are more for the single back pack traveler or person on a budget who is there for a short vacation. But rest assured, the majority of these hotels are safe, comfortable and even serve great authentic Turkish cuisine at a relatively low price in their restaurants.

A Map of Istanbul

Here is a map of Istanbul for your reference and future travel plans.


Istanbul Map

Budget Hotels Istanbul

If you’re like me, you’re first of all going to be looking for some cheap flights to Istanbul and then some budget hotels in Istanbul.

Istanbul has ample budget hotels and the majority are located in the downtown historic district.  In most cases, these budget hotels in Istanbul fall into the category of 2-3 stars, meaning that they are fairly decent, comfortable and offer all the amenities that a traveler would need. Of course, here you will not find Queen Elizabeth taking a break from her Kensington palace.

The majority of budget hotels Istanbul will satisfy all your needs. The places are usually clean, have AC; the beds are comfortable and most are within short distances of the historic sites.  A few decent budget hotels in Istanbul include the Olympiyat. This 3 star budget hotel is located close to the tourist attractions but still a short distance away from the congested streets. The rooms are comfortable, come with satellite TV and there is free wifi. Prices are reasonable and start around $50-$70. Other similar budget hotels in Istanbul include the Pierre Loti Hotel and Grand Ons hotel. Both these hotels are very comfortable, clean and offer all the amenities needed by the traveler.  There are ample restaurants and cafeterias located in the vicinity for relatively cheap but hearty meals.

All these hotels are accessible online and also offer discounts during off season. The great benefit of these hotels is that they also cater to tours of the historic districts. Some even have Turkish cooking classes.

To get a better idea of what these budget hotels offer, go online and check them out. Coming to Istanbul without a hotel reservation usually means that you will end up paying a lot more than what you bargained for.

Welcome to Istanbul

Welcome to my Istanbul blog!

This is my first post of course, just like wordpress says.

I will be writing about travelling to Istanbul because it’s the coolest place in the world to go.  I loved it and you will too.

check back here to get travel updates so you can plan your trip to Istanbul.