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Karışma Sen

Kennedy Caddesi (Sahilyolu) No 28, Sultanahmet, Istanbul +90 212 458 0081

Bookings recommended in the evening at weekends.

Getting there: Easy walk from Ayasofya or Topkapı Palace. From Eminönu, take a taxi along the coast road (palace point).

Although separated from the Sea of Marmara by the main coast highway, Karışma Sen keeps the feel of a local seafront restaurant (writes Tim Cornwall). The clientele were Turkish rather than tourists. It was a bit smoky. The Greek-Albanian owner, who learned from her Greek grandmother, orchestrates fine service and fantastic meze, particularly the cold meze, and we recommend trying the octopus salad. Don’t go overboard on the hot meze, from our experience, but save room for the choice of fresh fish presented at your table to be cooked to order. The owner, Diana Zoto, whose brother owns the Armada Hotel, just inside the walls, recommended a delicious white. She is seen in the photograph with the author John Freely.

The name ‘Karışma Sen!’ (Don’t interfere!) is what customers would hear Nacar, the original owner, shouting whenever he argued with his son. When the restaurant opened in 1938, the terrace overhung the water, and so it remained until Menderes built his gruesome coast road in the 1950s. The establishment was originally called the Şenyuva Sahil Gazinosu (the Happy Nest Seaside Gazino). JS

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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