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“Tried foods we wouldn't have thought to order- book this tour!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Culinary Backstreets - Private Tours

Culinary Backstreets - Private Tours
Istanbul, Turkey
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Ranked #2 of 543 Activities in Istanbul
Type: Food & Drink
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Owner description: When it comes to exploring a city’s authentic dining scene, while the stomach should ideally serve as the best compass, the truth of the matter is that it’s hard to find your way without good local advice. That’s where Culinary Backstreets’ Culinary Walks come in. In order to help you explore the world’s gastro-capitals and get off these cities’ eaten path, CB is offering (with selected partners) guided culinary walks in some of the cities we cover, starting with Istanbul, Athens, Barcelona, and Shanghai.Our culinary walks are designed to lead visitors on an eating binge through a city’s lesser-seen historic side streets and authentic markets, taking in countless hard-to-find culinary gems and, in between bites, a select number of untouristed monuments.
Leicester
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“Tried foods we wouldn't have thought to order- book this tour!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2013

Angelis, our tour guide swept us willingly along through so many sensory sensations we have to come back and try the tour again. The guides don't take groups to the same places, mixing it up a bit which means you'll always have a different wonderful day. Read other reviews and you'll see each one is highly personal. We came away from the day thrilled and stuffed! It was a happy magical day which was not just about fab food, although there was plenty of that, it made a memory to ensure Istanbul gets into your heart. Thanks Angelis - we won't forget this day.

Visited October 2013
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Perth Western Australia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“The best introduction to Istanbul”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2013

We arrived in Istanbul late one evening and had already booked to go on this tour at 0930 the next morning. We had read the reviews that said to go with an empty stomach, but we did have a small breakfast at about 0730 - waiting until after 0930 to eat would have killed us!! We were sent very detailed and explicit instructions about the meeting place and the various ways to get there and we found our guide, Senem, very easily. Our group ended up with 7 Americans and 2 Australians and we all "clicked" with each other extremely easily - this helped to make the tour more interesting, relaxed and pleasant. And the fact that about 7 of use were serious foodies (including 2 chefs) was even better - we were all open to trying everything new and learning/experiencing new techniques and tastes.
Senem started by taking us through the spice market to the vendors where she and her mother, and her grandmother etc bought their herbs and spices. The Spice market is not just herbs and spices though - we met her meat supplier, her cheese man, her kofta shop owner, her pide maker, and the fellow that sold the lamb intestines, cooked, spiced and made into a bread roll which tasted just like......well......lamb!!
She collected olives, cheeses, simit breads, other savoury breads, some gorgeous buffalo cream/yoghurt and honey and we all made our way to a quiet alleyway where were brought tea, and we ate this breakfast there together.
We also went into a small local mosque with incredible blue tiles and she explained to us how and why Muslim people pray and other practices/traditions associated with Islam. And also explained the meanings of the designs on the tiles and the way the mosque is built.
Then we progressed further into the market to where the "locals" shopped and tried, variously, kofta, pide, Kokoreç (the lamb intestines in the bread roll). Then we also went to meet the owners of the oldest baklava shop in Istanbul - 4 generations of the same family making - SERIOUSLY - some of the best baklava I have ever tasted. We were treated to a taste of several different pastries and more tea. Further along we tried turkish delight and other sweets, a drink made of fermented burghul with toasted chickpeas, then we went to a local restaurant for lunch.
Lunch started with a Perde Pilavi, (breadlike pastry stuffed with rice and sultanas, currants, almonds), followed by lamb barbecued over coals, salad, drinks and Kunefe a pastry filled with goats cheese and drizzled with sugar syrup - delicious.
We were full. Absolutely totally completely stuffed and ate no dinner that night.
The day was fantastic and gave us a good orientation of Istanbul at the same time.
We would thoroughly recommend this tour to anyone and make sure you do it on your first day.

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Petra, Ma, Jordan
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Culinary Backstreets tour - into the heart of Istanbul!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2013

We ate and drank tea and other beverages (e.g. pickle juice!) in some of Istanbul's best "off the beaten track" cafes and shops. Everything from tea in a 16th century caravansia which today houses hardware shops and small workshops; breakfast in the same area (including clotted cream and honey!); through to visits to some of the best but little known "sweet" shops, pickle shops; and a great meat wrap style lunch plus a huge plateful of various dips to sample.! All of this plus great insights into history (local and national); politics (past and present) and unusual sightseeing. It was a fantastic introduction to Istanbul and Turkey.

Visited December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Delve deep into the backstreets of Istanbul and experience the things the guidebooks don't tell you about...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2013

The Istanbul Eats Culinary Secrets of the Old City tour was a one-of-a-kind experience that everyone should know about. Our guide Ugur (a.k.a., Adam) took seven of us on a nonstop eat-a-thon through the nooks and crannies of Istanbul and led us to some of the best food and some of the most unique culinary experiences the City has to offer. He really knows is stuff! Besides trying some things that I never in a million years thought that I would try, I learned so much about the history, culture and politics of Turkey along the way. The pace was perfect and, as others on Trip Advisor have noted, we never felt rushed. Honestly, it was like spending the day with a really smart, really adventurous Turkish friend. After the tour was over, Adam even directed us to some really great places to buy rugs and lanterns (on request, of course). He and the tour were fantastic! I can't wait to try the other two versions of the tour when I return to Istanbul which - hopefully - will be soon. Reserve this in advance. It's well worth the US$125 price tag, and even includes a personal copy of the "Istanbul Eats" book.

Visited November 2013
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Tucson, Arizona
1 review
“Istanbul Eats”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2013

We absolutely loved this tour. It was such a great way to visit the Old City and learn more about the culture

Visited November 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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