When visiting Istanbul, you will often come across restaurants titled Meyhane – but what exactly is a Meyhane?
In Persian Mey translates to wine, and Hane to house; Meyhanes are taverns which serve alcoholic beverages, traditional dishes, amid a historical setting and feature local music. During the Byzantine Empire, they were mostly located in seaside cities, and were frequented by merchants who spent their money on alcohol. During the Ottoman empire Meyhanes, expanded nationally. Meyhanes also began differing in type; some were frequented by judiciaries, others served civil servants and clerks, who had to consume alcohol while standing. Gedikli Meyhanes were known for their cleanliness and hygiene, and usually featured high ceilings, and still operate today. In Istanbul, the Galata district was especially renowned for its Meyhanes. Although wine was served until the late 19th century, the famous Turkish alcohol Raki became the standard drink consumed in Meyhanes. After the founding of the Republic, the Beyoglu district flourished with the taverns, which can be found around Asmalımescıt, Nevizade Sokak, Cicek Pasajı and Krepen Pasajı. Dishes served include loads of vegetables, meats, and fish.
Visiting a good Meyhane will epitomise your Istanbul experience, and allow you to experience the Turkish cuisine and lifestyle, with all its authenticity and local feel. You order without a menu, beginning with starters, so called Mezes (small dishes which you can select) eaten with bread, followed by hot Mezes, followed by the main course, all alongside Raki. Desert usually includes a fruit platter and Turkish coffee. The environment is usually informal and noisy, since Meyhanes serve as a popular gathering place for friends to socialise, and often sing and dance. Meyhanes either charge fixed prices for the entire dinner (with unlimited drinking), or offer fixed prices for all meze dishes and fixed prices for the main courses. Prices range between 30TL and 100 TL.
We have compiled a list of Top Istanbul Meyhanes, all in close proximity to Patika Suites.
Boncuk Restoran Nevizade
Nevizade Sk. 19, 34410 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, T: (0212) 243 12 19
Known for: being one of the oldest Meyhanes in Nevizade, its Meze dishes, and good service.
Kokosh By Asmalı Meyhane
Meşrutiyet Caddesi 83/c Kat 3, Asmalımescit, Istanbul, T: (0212) 293 25 47
Known for: fun atmosphere, and more upscale setting, often serving as an outlet for special occasions.
Latife Hanim Meyhanesi
İstiklal, İstiklal Cad./bekar Sok. No:22/A, Beyoğlu/İstanbul, T:(0212) 293 00 68
Known for: its nostalgic decoration, local Turkish and Cyprian dishes.
Balat Sahil Restoran
Mürselpaşa Caddesi No.245, Balat; T: (0212) 525 61 85
Known for: its wide selection of Meze.
Turnacıbaşı Caddesi, Kartal Sokak No.1/A, Galatasaray; T: (0212) 244 55 75
Known for: its grilled Hamsi (Anchovy) skewers.
Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi, Kemankeş Caddesi No.37, Karaköy; T: (0212) 292 44 55
Known for: its trendy ocation, and being frequented by Istanbulites and celebrities.
Safa Meyhanesi *reachable via Taxi or Public Transport
İlyasbey Caddesi No.121, Yedikule, Zeytinburnu; T: (0212) 585 55 94
Known for: its interior architecture and for operating since 1948.