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“Well worth it” 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.
Koloa, Hawaii, United States
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4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Well worth it”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2014

I booked with Culinary Backstreets because of the great reviews, and I am going to re-enforce all the previous great reviews. Hands down it was the highlight of our week in Istanbul. When you consider all the OTHER great stuff there is to see and do in Istanbul, that is a pretty bold statement. We booked the "Two Continents" tour and I highly recommend it. The Asian side of Istanbul seems much more relaxed and spacious than the Europe side. We were met by our guide Senem next to the Galata bridge, met our tour mates and quickly shot down a back alley (backstreets, get it?) to a very "local" restaurant. Within 5 minutes of this tour my expectations had been met, as I was sitting at a table eating local handcrafted delights, served by a super friendly and proud proprietor. That is exactly what is so impossible to do when you are new in a strange city. It just got better from there on out. I especially enjoyed the "Pickle" store where, since 1935 they have been pickling everything you can imagine. Awesome! Best of all, my wife declared it her favorite thing about our Istanbul trip. Because I found it, made me look great!

Visited May 2014
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DC
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Yeah, it is that great!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2014

The reviews for the Two Continents tour were so positive I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. I was wrong. This tour, with Gonca as our guide, was probably the best tour I've ever been on! Went places I'd never have gone, ate things I never would have eaten, and met some other fun food-lovers. My only regret is not doing this my first day in Istanbul -- I would have been more adventurous in my early dining experiences.

Visited May 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Old City backstreets tour was fantastic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2014

We did this tour on our first day in Istanbul. It was a great way to get a bit of a cultural understanding and feel for the old city, and since we were staying in the Sultanhamet district it helped with getting around in general. Our guide was very personable and knowledgeable, and I agree with all the other comments about how wonderful the experience is. We made several forays into the area of the Spice Bazaar after the tour, and even retraced our route to a couple of the eateries we visited on the walk. It was a pleasure through and through.

Visited May 2014
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Townsville, Australia
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Fast and feast!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2014

You need to have an early dinner the night before so you can thoroughly enjoy the food selections experienced on this walk. A small group (7) and a host who knows much about cooking & her culture ensures that not only the Turkish will Delight!
A couple of opportunities to be 'brave' and try some very different tastes!
Value for money!

Visited May 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Love love love. Must do ”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2014

My trip to Istanbul was during May 12-19, 2014. Since i had to spend first 3 solid days of my trip alone, I booked 2 tours with culinary backstreets; Grand Bazaar and spice market. Since I consider myself a foodie. I love cooking. I love food. What is the better way to spend my day and get to know Istanbul and its culture through food?

The first thing i have to say about culinary backstreets is "Well Done" I am very happy I did the tours. Memorable experience. Great food ! Worth every single pennies I paid for. And more. Yes, i was a tourist. But i didn't see much of the tourists during walks. You guys are living up to the name "culinary backstreets walks"

I did Grand Bazaar tour with Benoit on the first day. My impression was he is passionate about what he does. He came prepared with info and enthusiasm. We started the day with Turkish breakfast and ended the day with sipping Turkish tea. Let me tell you this. Please come Hungry because you will be surprised how many stops you will make along the way and how much food you will be trying. It was amazing. Such a great introduction to the new city.

My second day with Conga at Spice market was awesome. Conga was very upbeat, lively and a foodie. Her face lit up when she talked about food. She did put her time to get to know the stories of different vendors, established relationship with them. She knows their stories. It makes the experience even more personal. We did visit the part of the market where locals shop for spice, food, kitchen tools. I swear I went back to that market everyday while i was in Istanbul to shop. I didn't feel like I was a tourist. Actually felt like a local. Again, from the start to finish, we made multi stops. Honestly, i lost count. You have to come empty stomach and eat everything. You dont have to like everything Or finish every bite. just try everything. We ended the day with a big lunch. It was delicious. Great food. Great conversation. Great time !

Well, i am not paid to say all this. I was really happy and would recommend this service to anyone who plan to visit Istanbul. Do it at the beginning of your trip. You will have a confidence to eat and eat like locals. Enjoy Istanbul. I did and will be back

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