Meyhane Yare is a traditional bar and restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey, serving popular alcoholic beverages including the traditional drink, rakı and variety of local dishes. The Meyhane concept has a deep history in Turkey and has been a part for Turkish culture for many years since before the arrival of the Ottoman Empire.
Location – Asmalımescit Sok. No: 21/A, 34430 Istanbul, Turkey
The Meyhane Experience
We were humbled to be invited by Eray, owner of Meyhane Yare to experience the traditional Meyhane when we were in Istanbul for the World Tourism Forum. It was a packed Saturday night at Eray’s restaurant, he made a reservation for the four of us at the middle of the dining area near the bar. The ambiance blended in with the crowd, chic and high in spirit, everyone is enjoying their company, drinks and food.
We started with drinks; sodas, juices and for the authentic experience we had rakı. Then a variety of cold appetizers came and we let Eray choose for us. Followed by more outstanding dishes in a hot plate. Everything is delicious.
During the course of our dinner, Eray is describing to us the culture of local diners in his restaurant. Most of their guests are regular customers, people are coming back due to several reasons: food is delicious, great ambiance and people working here are genuinely nice or simply, you’re getting good customer service. You need to make a reservation, place gets full mostly during weekend at dinner time.
Rakı and the Drinking Culture
Rakı is a Turkish alcoholic drink. There are variety of ways to drink it but the most common and popular is by adding water. This strong drink turns into a milky white-color when mixed with water, the reason it’s also being referred to as the “Lion’s Milk”, for the strong man. Though I wasn’t strong enough to finish my glass.
For the local patrons of this restaurant, food and drinks goes along together, with Rakı as starters. Conversations are part of the meal, though it has an ambiance of a casual dining restaurant, it’s a place for people to talk and socialize which makes the place lively.
We were surprized when a huge round tray of cold appetizers arrived on our table. There’s too much to choose from and everything looks delicious so we let the owner choose the best for us. He selected a good variety of seafoods and vegetables for our appetizer. Among them are our favorites, lakerda, a salted cooked tuna served with onions; mezgit marin, a marined white fish; ispanak, spinach root with mustard and tarama, fish roe. Seafood starters were refreshing in our pallet while the vegetables were cooked perfectly.
Hot Appetizers and Mains
After enjoying our cold starters, a variety of hot appetizers and mains started to arrive on our table. Mantar tava, fried mushrooms is a great surprise. It’s cooked perfectly with a crunchy crust and the mushroom is soft and tender. We also had fried zukinis called, kızarmış kabak. Our favorite is the shrimp casserole, karides guveç. Everything has a distinct taste and delicious.
For our main, we had a delicious balık kavurma, roasted slices of fish served in a hot plate with tomatoes and other spices. It’s screaming in flavors! A must try.
Our lovely evening ended up with fabulous desserts. The sweetened pumpkin is interesting but the chocolate molten cake is luscious, it melts on the plate and in your mouth.
Note: This experience was made possible in partnership with Meyhane Yare, all the thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
Checkout their website for questions, location and reservation.
About the Writer
Jaypee Licudan is a Filipino Expat based in Singapore. He’s a traveller and writer for Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog and has been to over 30 countries across 4 continents. He’s major long term goal is to go back to the Philippines for a long time travel to discover the hidden gems of his home country. Follow his personal blog: The Rustic Nomad
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