man, do i dig istanbul ... i was there on business, but work in istanbul is so much like play that i had a ball. i stayed right on the bosphorous, god what a view.
my firstlunch was at the sunset grill, which sounds horribly touristy. my heart sank when i was told we were going to be eating there, and i was reassured that i'd find turkish food, not just burgers/pasta. the sunset grill turned out to be beautifully located on top of a hill, with sweeping views of istanbuls asian side across the bosphorous. 70 degrees and clear, i stopped thinking about work about five minutes after i sat down.
and the food! i had a stewed artichoke to begin with that was out of this world, and as they had hunkar begendi on the menu, i ordered it - thanks for that tip, sinc. it was fabulous - lamb in a gravy set on top of what looks like baba ganoush but is in reality a much different eggplant base.
and that evening, i got myself over to haci abdullah restaurant in taksim - and to my shock, it was exactly the same restaurant i had been taken to four years earlier on my first istanbul trip. i was even given the same table! and i just HAD to try hunkar begendi here, and i was so upset that it was remarkably inferior to sunset grills. the eggplant base wasn't smooth and creamy, and had a slight bitterness that the sunset grills version didn't.