Think of Turkish food, and you’ll probably imagine kebabs, meat dishes, plenty of rice or tiny platters of meze. If you’re visiting Istanbul for the first time, these are probably what you will be having. But if you want to explore some regional cooking, head straight to Turnacıbaşı Sokak just off Istiklal: there you’ll find a gem of a restaurant, Hayvore. The restaurant cooks up Black Sea fare, along with other classic home-style dishes, and locals crowd the place especially around lunchtime.
Visit Hayvore for a taste of Black Sea cooking – I especially recommend the hearty kale soup, corn bread, hamsili pilav (delicious anchovies and rice) and stuffed kale leaves. Also worth mentioning are the buttery kuru-pilav (beans and rice) and the pides, the Turkish equivalent of pizza. If you want to sample a variety of dishes, you can order half portions (“az”) or make your own combo platter. Don’t forget to have tea: Turkey’s ‘national drink’ only grows in the Black Sea region, and Hayvore’s brew will not disappoint.
We are grateful to the Black Sea for giving us delicious food – hazelnuts, hamsi, corn bread, tea and much more. Eating at Hayvore is like being transported to the northern coast for lunch, I’m sure Black Sea soul food will put a smile on your face too!