Want to explore the more unusual side
cuisine in Istanbul? Then
you want to take a ferryboat
cruise across the Bosphorus to Kadıköy for
a meal at Çiya
Sofrası ("The Çiya Dinner
Çiya is famous for
its unusual vegetarian dishes from
the region of Gaziantep in
southeastern Turkey. Located in a small,
unassuming storefront in the middle
appealing fish market district (map), Çiya has
become a point of pilgrimage for Turkish
In fact, according to Istanbul friends,
it has gotten very crowded and expensive.
For meat-eaters, two nearby Çiya
Kebap restaurants supply ample
The dishes at Çiya draw
on the expected southeastern flavorings:
garlic, parsley and hot pepper, but
also çağla (unripened fruit,
especially almonds, apricots or plums)
and nar ekşisi (pomegranate pulp).
Although the roots of Çiya's menu
are in the southeast and eastern Mediterranean,
spicy-hot dishes are not the norm.
Rather, suble flavors predominate.
Çiya Sofrası is not
a fancy place. Rather, it's one of
a variety of good, moderately-priced
restaurants within Kadıköy's balık
pazarı (fish market)
on aptly-named Güneşlibahçe Sokak ("Street
of the Sunny Garden").
Outdoor tables on the pedestrian way in fair weather...
Take the ferry from Eminönü or Karaköy (map) to Kadıköy,
then follow this map to find Çiya.
Caferağa Mah. Güneşlibahçe Sokak No.
Kadıköy, Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: +90 (216) 330 3190
Fax: +90 (216)
—by Tom Brosnahan