Istanbul is a very big metropolis with around 14 million people. Since it’s such a big and international city you can find all sorts of cuisine. Kebabs and pides joints are of course abundant. When you’re looking for more traditional Turkish food, you’ll have to do some research. Near the Galata tower one can find a great place for traditional homemade food, the name: Lokanta Helvetia.
After spending a couple of days in Turkey’s most famous city, I started to think kebaps and pides are the main dishes of the Turkish cuisine. As I started to get tired of these meals after I had a few of them, I started to look around for different food. Nowadays, the internet is a great help. On Tripadvisor I found a place called Lokanta Helvetia where you can choose 5 dishes for a set price. All dishes are homemade traditional meals and the total price of 12 TL (around 3 euros) is a bargain…
It turns out the real traditional food in Turkey consists of many vegetables and a lot of variety, unlike the kebaps and pides. I walked from the Sultanahmet area towards the North and crossed the Galata bridge. Once on the other side of the Bosphorus, the Galata tower is always a good point of reference in Istanbul. From there I had to navigate a bit to find this little restaurant. The outside doesn’t look to inviting (see picture at the top) but once inside, it’s very cozy. The food is homemade and the interior is like a typical livingroom. On arrival it directly became clear one gets good value for money. The place is always packed, both with locals and tourists. At the counter around 20 dishes, 10 cold and 10 hot, were waiting to be chosen. I picked my 5 favourite dishes and took a seat. Don’t expect to have a lot of privacy here because you’ll most likely share a table with a couple of others. Drinks are available for around 3 to 4 TL, making the total bill around 16 TL for a delicious dinner.
I chose some chicken, spinach, cauliflower, carrots and something that looked like chicory. In the time the meal was warming up in the microwave I got some nice bread and my drink. A couple minutes later my meal was served. It was absolutely delicious and a great change to the kebaps. I’m not sure whether they have deserts here or not, but in case you’re looking for a nice finish of the meal, I can recommend Cremeria Milano. This is an ice cream parlour with the most delicious coconut ice cream and it’s just around the corner from Lokanta Helvetia!
So, in case you visit Istanbul, don’t forget to pick your 5 favourite meals at this cozy restaurant!
Address: General Yazgan Sokak 8-12, Istanbul