Beylerbeyi is a neighborhood on the Istanbul’s Anatolian coast, northeast of Uskudar and just past the First Bosphorus Bridge. The area is dominated by the Beylerbeyi Sarayi, a massive and ornate summer palace built by the Sultan Abdulaziz in the nineteenth century. Beside the palace lies a small historic quarter with wooden houses narrow streets. Its atmosphere evokes a time when the Bosphorus coast was dotted with small villages, which have since been swallowed up by the city’s unchecked urban expansion. Granted, Beylerbeyi is also being enveloped by modern development but the coastal area still retains a simple, untouched feel. I imagine it is what Ortakoy felt like decades ago.
I’ve been intrigued by Beylerbeyi since the first time I heard about it from my friend Can. His grandmother grew up there and he had fond memories of the area. Of course I called on his expertise when researching where to eat. He suggested Iskele Restaurant, just across the cobblestone path from the ferry dock (Iskele means dock).
I paid a visit Tuesday night and had a fantastic meal with sensational service. We started, logically, with mezes, small portions of cold appetizers. The salad of seaweed, carrots, red peppers was a delicious pairing of land and sea. Broccoli rabe with red peppers was bitter and sweet and the fava bean paste was excellent. Both dishes reminded me of something you might find in Puglia. The brown beans cooked in olive oil with shallots were sweet and tender.
We decided to skip the warm mezes and go directly to the mains: fried red mullet and grilled sea bream. Both fish were cooked in the manner that best enhances the characteristics of their meat. We finished the meal with irmik helvasi, a buttery semolina dessert packed around kaymak ice cream.
Beylerbeyi İskele Restaurant
Beylerbeyi İskele Cad. No : 13 / B
0 216 422 22 29