Among Istanbul’s many culinary attractions is the meyane, a tavern serving traditional food in a lively atmosphere where raki and plates of mezze are consumed with more or less wild abandon. The somewhat upmarket Meze by Lemon Tree isn’t exactly rustic, however it is said to be one of the best places for meze in the city.

The diverse and ever changing menu here ensures that you will sample a range of delicious starts that go way beyond the usual menu touristico. Ordering by the carte you may find the likes of hot hummus with pan braised pastrami, a seasoned wheat pilaf with sea food and a hazelnut pudding topped with tahini and mulberry molasses – but the real draw card are the starters – mezze – prepared daily according to the seasons.

If you would rather go the more rustic mezze route you could try Cumhuriyet, where mezze is served with lashings of raki and fasil (live gypsy music) in a rambling, old fashioned restaurant dating to the 1940s.  Do tip the musicians when they play at your table. (Sahne Sokak 47 Beyoğlu, Tel: +90 212 293 1977).

Meze by Lemon Tree
Asmalımescit Mahallesi
Meşrutiyet Caddesi
83/B Beyoğlu
Tel: +90 212 252 83 02

Advance reservations are essential.