Nestled in the historic neighborhood of Cibali, this little gem of a restaurant serves an excellent array of delicious mezes and seafood. Cibalikapı Balıkçısı is housed in a three-story building that overlooks the Golden Horn and although it’s very close to popular areas like Taksim and Şişhane, it’s secluded enough to get away from the fast pace of the city.
Being a relatively small restaurant, Cibalikapı manages to keep its top notch flavors fresh and consistent. The down-to-earth atmosphere and kind service are also one of the things I like about this place together with the great food. But if I were to pick one favorite thing about this place, I would probably choose the legendary enginar tatlısı – artichoke dessert. This is the only place that I’ve seen making this dessert, and its goodness is beyond words.
Cibalikapı’s selection of meze is a different story altogether, try the girit ezme -pistachio and cheese paste-, topik -an Armenian dish with caramelized onion and cinnamon-, and the restaurant’s signature saraylı, herb-marinated fish. Warm appetizerss like the sea bass wrapped in vine leaves and grilled calamari are also excellent. Be sure to finish off with the artichoke dessert and complimentary Turkish coffee served with homemade cherry liqueur.
All in all, if you feel like having a calm, intimate night and have one of the best meals you’ll have in Istanbul, head to Cibalikapı Balıkçısı.