When I travel to Istanbul I spend most of my time on the European side of the Bosphorus, but I always set aside some time to visit Kadıköy. For me, this Anatolian port is my food Mecca. It has everything I love in a food destination: a bustling market brimming with fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables, stellar pastry shops, simple restaurants and few tourists.
Kadıköy is easy to get to from the European side. Frequent ferries arrive from Karaköy, Eminönü, and Beşiktaş (3 TL round trip). Just hop off and head straight for (then directly past) Starbucks. Just beyond, the Kadıköy market and its pastry shops, food stalls, restaurants, and cafes await. Here are some of my favorite destinations:
- Şekerci Cafer Erol: a sweet shop known for its sugar candies.
- Beyaz Fırın: a bakery and sweetshop with traditional desserts and more modern ones, as well.
- Baylan: a Greek owned pastry shop famous for its Kup Griye, ice cream topped with caramel, toasted almonds, pistachios, and creme chantilly.
- Hacı Bekir: the city’s most famous shop for lokum (Turkish delight); this outlet has a selection of sweet and savory pastries.
- Çiya Sofrası: three simple restaurants in the same block of Caferaga Mah. Güneslibahce Sokak serving kebabs, lahmacun, and meticulously researched obscure dishes from throughout Turkey.
- Halil Lahmacun: excellent Turkish pizzas served piping hot from the wood burning stove.
- Caferaga Mah. Güneslibahce Sokak: This street is the most packed with fruit and vegetable stalls and cheese vendors, not to mention 3 Çiyas and Halil are located here!