Fish restaurants in Istanbul: natural selection(s)
Ansel Mullins and Yigal Schleifer
View from Fish Var restaurant, Istanbul
The seafood boat restaurants that once sat on the Bosphorus in Istanbul are now permanent fixtures on terra firma, and though
it might sound less romantic the food has improved
In the evolutionary process of the Istanbul fish restaurant, there was a moment in the late 1990s when the amphibious,
shore-hugging boat restaurants crawled out of the Bosphorus and became land dwellers. Overnight, yellow Wellington boots
became black loafers as seafaring grill men became restaurateurs and waiters.
Some rue the day the municipality cleared the Bosphorus of its smoking flotilla of fish restaurants, but we never found dining
aboard them very pleasant. That slight roll of the sea underfoot may feel "authentic," but we've seen it send a can of Fanta
sliding across a rickety table, drenching a freshly grilled fish in orange pop, then rolling around on the filthy floor of a
cramped dining space that was always filled with fishy grill smoke. Luckily, the land-based versions of these fish restaurants
are extremely pleasant, across-the-board affordable, of reliably good quality and family-friendly.
Adem Baba (Satismeydani Sokak 2, Arnavutky, +90 212 263 2933 , adembaba.com, open noon-10.30pm), located in
Arnavutky, is our favourite example among the formerly seaborne fish restaurants that have migrated to land. But further up
the Bosphorus lie another couple of boats come ashore that deserve attention.
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