Turkish Delights: Konyali

(Only second in the Turkey series, which is long overdue, in my mind, because I do NOT want to forget :))

Meandering through the first and second courtyards of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul (there are four courtyards, with loads of rooms, kiosks, and gardens in each) the entire morning can leave you with quite an appetite. Which is why the Konyali Lokantasi restaurant, right in the palace grounds, makes so much sense for visitors as well as those who run it!

When you are surrounded by so much history, you expect the afternoon repast to contain some of it too. And you will not be disappointed.

Konyali menu

You read that right, a restaurant that has been serving up traditional Turkish food since 1897.

Walking down a level from one of the courtyards, you see just a few tables scattered by an embankment, a few steps down and the ever present Bosphorus of Istnabul, gives you a blue poke in the eye. You can never tire of seeing the blues of this river from the city. It is GORGEOUS! It is the Asian side of Istanbul that you can watch as you eat.

View from Konyali restaurant

The menu has both traditional and somewhat internationalized fare as well. It is not the most favourable reviewed restaurant in Istanbul, but if offers up quite an enjoyable meal. Starting with the completely hearty and delicious yoghurt soup, quite a staple in Turkey.

yoghurt soup

But of course, before the soup order reaches the table, the breads do.

olive bread

Eat as is, dunk in olive oil, flavoured oils, or dips.

crusty bread

The mezze at Konyali looks a lot fancier than what you would get at other mid range restaurants, tastes as great! Hummus, haydari, stuffed peppers, roasted aubergines and tomatoes, and one that was a bit like coleslaw.

Turkish mezze

Flaky Turkish pastry and cheese…mmm.

cheese and pastry

If you catch a chatty waiter, he will tell you that the Queen of England, Jackie Kennedy, and Mohammad Ali have dined here. That, along with the aura of Sultans, treasures, and regalia surrounding you is enough to make this a memorable lunch. And how hot Turkish tea is served, in traditional costume, only adds to it all.

 Quite the perfect lunch, watching the boats raise foamy white, a gentle breeze, good food, and lovely company!

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