When I go to Istanbul, I don’t mess around. I plan my meals months before my arrival and try to work in at least four a day. On a recent trip, I did some serious damage. I hit up some old favorites and found some new ones. Here is a recap of some of those meals:

Antebi: At this southeastern Turkey oriented restaurant, the crispy lahmacun, tangy tulum, and spicy cevizli biber are all excellent. It is a damn shame that it is physically impossible to try everything on the menu at a single meal, though I will most likely try next time.

Iskele: Beneath the Ottoman Fortress Rumeli Hisarı and Second Boshphorus Bridge, Iskele is one of the city’s most well loved fish restaurants. Serving excellent mezes, whole fish, and plenty of rakı, I admit I had two very fattening meals there last week.

Van Kahvaltı Evi: Van breakfast culture is so varied and fattening, it conjures memories of Sunday brunch at home in New Jersey. If they served bagels, it would move in.

Baylan: This old school Greek pastry shop on the Asian side is famous for its Kup Griye, basically a bucket of ice cream with crème Chantilly, caramel sauce, toasted nuts, and toffee. I ate this after Antebi and I don’t regret it. I am trying to get the blasphemous image of the super shiny ultra posh Bebek location out of my mine.

Fıstık Kebap: I had one very good lahmacun and two very mediocre ones at this little Arnavutköy hole-in-the-wall. They are better when the place is not busy.

Çiya Sofrası: Always a pleasure, from the lahmacun and kebabs to the candied baby eggplant and katmer. I had my usual, mumbar dolması, and it was a delight.

Dükkan Burger: Next time, I think I’ll pass.

Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi: Grilled köfte, white bean salad, and ekmek kadayif (syrup soaked semolina with kaymak), perfect together.

For last trip’s dining Wrap Up, click here.