Istanbul is remarkable. Apart from its architectural beauty, it’s also the only city in the world that straddles two continents — Europe and Asia.
With the majority of tourist attractions located on the European side, most first-time travelers to Istanbul don’t venture into the Asian side of the city. Unfortunate as that maybe, I can understand why. Most first-time visitors want to prioritize popular tourist attractions like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, and İstiklâl Caddesi, all of which are firmly on European soil. The Asian side does have its share of attractions like Beylerbeyi Palace and İskele Camii, but none are as prominent as their European counterparts.
With this being our first time in Istanbul, we would have been no different had it not been for this little gem of a restaurant called Çiya Sofrası. Hailed by more than one source as possibly the best restaurant in all of Istanbul, it’s as enticing a reason as any to cross the Bosphorus into Asia.
The Best Restaurant in Istanbul?
Çiya Sofrası is located in bustling Kadıköy Market on the Asian side of Istanbul. A food lover’s paradise features a fish market as well as a maze of cafes, bars, and restaurants. The atmosphere here is electric.
Self-serve meze bar. You take what you want and put it on a plate to be weighed and priced.
I don’t remember exactly but this plate came out to be around 10-15TL. The meze here is delicious. Like the mains, they change their meze offerings on a daily basis.
Owned and operated by Chef Musa Dağdeviren, what makes Çiya Sofrası unique is that Mr. Dağdeviren isn’t just a chef, he’s also a culinary anthropologist. Collecting recipes from all over Turkey, he frequently offers unusual regional dishes that you won’t find anywhere else. Because he offers different dishes daily, there’s no actual menu at Çiya Sofrası. You just point out whichever dish catches your eye and they’ll bring a serving to your table.