I often joke that I eat all the bad food in Rome and Istanbul so readers don’t have to. But I’m losing my sense of humor after an unfortunate streak of disappointing restaurant meals in both Old and New Rome this year. After a serious letdown, I am always in desperate need of a spectacular experience to restore my faith in humanity (no hyperbole intended). In Istanbul, this rejuvenation recently came in the form of Balat Sahil Restoran, a meyhane on the busy road in Balat that flanks the Golden Horn where straightforward, seasonal, vegetable-driven mezes are served in a dining room embellished with historical photographs and kitschy wicker wallpaper.

For a peek at the menu, visit the pyrex dishes near the kitchen. At first glance, the braised greens may appear to be identical. Instead, each dish contains different, often obscure vegetables, herbs, and foraged mushrooms. Go with friends and order more mezes than you think you can eat. Get the liver and wash it all down with smooth triple distilled Beylerbeyi rakı and prepare to be restored.

Balat Sahil Restoran
Balat Karabaş Mh
Mürselpaşa Caddesi No:245
Balat, Istanbul
+90 212 525 6185
Open daily 1pm-1am






Explore related categories:
Food & Wine · Gastronomic Traditions · Istanbul · Restaurants · Travel · Turkish Cuisine


  • Don’t you love it when a place that unpretentious, almost shabby, produces that kind of unexpected wonderful food? Right on point!

  • I had a similar experience in a restaurant in New York. it looked so grimy but the food was excellent. so we used to eat there often. Now it turned to a popular restaurant :)

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.