From a Turkish friend of Anthony’s we were fortunate to get a list of places to eat, one of which was a seafood restaurant in the Beşiktaş district called Mavi Balik, Turkish for ‘blue fish’.
After two bazaar visits, a spur of the moment decision where to have dinner meant a six kilometer taxi ride through Istanbul rush-hour traffic. A long hour later we are inside the restaurant facing a man in front of a mass of sea produce asking us to choose our meal for the evening. Incidentally or not, our third market of the day. Having made our choices, we sat down and happily waited for our meal, at the same time enjoying a view of the Bosphorus Strait, and Istanbul’s Asian side.
The first course was fresh grilled octopus and tender giant shrimp — delicious! The main course was this gigantic sea bass with not a few bones still intact. Had to tread nimbly through this one which otherwise would have meant an impromptu visit to the doctor. The greens were surprisingly mixed in with a little wasabi while dessert was a sampler of Turkey’s most famous. We ate everything.
The atmosphere was unbeatable but if lady luck were to smile on me again, I would definitely make a reservation ahead of time and make sure to get a table waterside. With much humility though it really can be hard to play tourist sometimes. To end a carefree and fruitful day like today in such circumstances is not so much about hard work as it is sheer luck – and what fantastic luck it is.