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“Fish in a fun setting”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Balikci Sabahattin

Balikci Sabahattin
Ranked #204 of 13,391 Restaurants in Istanbul
Price range: $30 - $100
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Families with children, Large groups, Local cuisine, Special occasions
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Free Wifi, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Valet Parking, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: Sultanahmet
Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA
Level Contributor
160 reviews
100 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
“Fish in a fun setting”
Reviewed May 29, 2014

We ate here our first night in Istanbul. We were able to eat outdoors and I'd say had fun evening and some wonderful fish. We were six and were offered the choice of very fresh sea bass or turbot. We went for the latter and it was wonderful. The rest of the meal was OK. We were introduced to some excellent Turkish wines and enjoyed warm and effective service.

Certainly worth a return for the fish alone. Put it on your Istanbul list. I'd give it 3.5 plates.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Martin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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872 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Lincolnshire, Illinois
Level Contributor
305 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
“Excellent fish restaurant”
Reviewed May 28, 2014

Recommended to us as a great fish restaurant Balikci Sabahattin lived up to it's billing. It is a bit out of the way in the southeastern part of the old town (but close to the Four Seasons Hotel) so you may want to take a cab. The Restaurant consists of three sections, one outside with a fireplace, which in good weather might be the best option, in order to get away from smokers. We sat in the middle room, with lots of cigarette and cigar smokers but there was a nice light breeze which took the smoke away from us...but be forewarned as you are being seated.

There is a great menu featuring a dozen or so different fresh fish. The rice-with-mussels appetizer was outstanding with the mussels being the best I've tasted in many years. I had snapper while my wife had sea bass (she wanted sole but it was not available--out of season, perhaps). Both were served grilled, whole fish and both were really excellent--very fresh and perfectly cooked. (They sometimes have rather exotic fish but we stayed middle-of-the-road.) Service was excellent and our waiter was friendly and "chatty" even though the restaurant was quite busy. This was one of our two best meals in Istanbul (along with Pasazade). Highly recommended!

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Steve L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
125 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Very average, fish is fine ,rest could be better”
Reviewed May 19, 2014

This fish restaurant was recommended as the best fish restaurant in Istanbul, but it is not.
The fish was fresh and well grilled but out of 12 sorts of fish they would only grill 2 kinds. The service was somewhat sloppy and the salads were not great. Add to that it is expensive (approx $60 for 2) in a city where we got fresh grilled fish at other places for $15. Yes it was busy but we would not recommend it

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank MelbourneSeashell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Atrocious service but food was excellent”
Reviewed May 17, 2014

If you only care about the quality of the food, then go to Sabahattin.
We had 2 cold entrees, grilled calamari, the blue fish as main and semolina with ice cream as dessert.
All of them were excellent.
However, customer service is non-existent.
The waiter was friendly when we came in but it all changed as soon as we mentioned that we wouldn't be having any other drinks apart from the 'complimentary' water. (They actually charge a TL 5 seating charge per person).
One of the items I wanted wasn't available on the menu but the waiter quickly suggested the most expensive option straight away (this is the 3rd time in 3 nights in 3 different restaurants that my choice of a cheap item is not available on the menu and every time I got recommended the most expensive option)
The food was literally thrown on the table.
We wanted dessert after the main but it took over 10 minutes before we could get a waiter's attention.
They were really quick at taking away our plates but never offered us the option of taking another look at the menu for desserts.
A couple on the next table was looking at the wine list and the waiter quickly convinced them to let him decide on a wine for them (unsurprisingly, he came back with the most expensive bottle)
When I asked for the bill, I was quickly reminded that there was no service charge and that I can leave a tip if I wanted. I must admit I wasn't in a mood to leave a tip but I thought I would tip the minimum.
I paid by credit card and the waiter just threw the card receipt on the table and walked away as I was going to ask for a copy of the restaurant bill as well.
At this point, I put the tip that was still in my hand back into my wallet and just left.
No need to say that no one even opened the door for me as I left but they quickly rushed to check if I had left a tip in the receipt pouch.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Kevin T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Wonderful place”
Reviewed May 6, 2014

Very good restaurant in Sultanahmed. Freshest fish, nice decor, good wines, all perfect! Nice terrace, 5 min walk to the see.

Visited May 2014
Thank Dkouzn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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