A short journey from Karaköy on the world’s second oldest funicular will take you to the heart of Istanbul’s food scene on this culinary city tour, where you’ll wander through back streets and hidden passages, feasting as you go. Your local guide will offer insight into the intricacies and traditions of Turkish food culture and explain about the ingredients and origins of Turkey’s most popular dishes.
Start your Istanbul food tour with some borek, a delicious flaky pastry consisting of several thin layers filled with local cheeses, potato or meat. Wash it down with a cup of ayran, a yogurt drink that’s 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 work day, many Istanbulites sit down for some drinks, tasty food, and good conversation with friends. Grab a seat at a traditional meyhene (tavern) and join the local scene as we sample meze served with a glass of raki, and learn about the fascinating history of these Turkish restaurants and dishes.
Filled up with snacks, you’ll stop at a hidden tea house that’s also the famous meeting place of the Young Turks, a political reform movement from the early 20th century that brought multi-party democracy to Turkey. Hungry from all that discussion? Fill yourself up again with delectable treats from locals’ favorite street food carts, including içli kofte (deep-fried meat balls) and midye dolma (mussels stuffed with rice). Next, you’ll cleanse the palate with a sample of Turkish delight in the gorgeous, historic Cicek Passage, before grabbing some of Turkey’s famed baklava and çikolata (chocolate) or ice cream from Maraş.
Of course, you can’t visit Istanbul without stopping at the famed entertainment district of Taksim Square, where late-night revellers flock for the delicious Islik Burger — guaranteed to defeat any remaining hunger! Stroll the atmospheric backstreets and finish at an alfresco café and bar that’s a popular local haunt with awesome street art and graffiti. Linger here as long as you like and soak up the nighttime vibes of Istanbul!