Sur Balik, Istanbul

May 28, 2009

Sur Balik is not mentioned in any of the guides or blogs so we were a bit sceptical when the concierge at The Four Seasons Sultanahmet recommended it. But he was convincing, so Linda and I went for dinner there on May 23, 2009. It would have been a fifteen minute downhill walk to Sur Balik on the corniche along the Sea of Marmara, but it is not a very pleasant or interesting walk so we took advantage of the restaurant’s transport van.

We were seated in the middle of the terrace which looks over the seaside highway and park. The noise of the Saturday evening traffic was annoying at first, but eased off as the evening progressed. We ordered a bottle of Kavaklıdere Angora, a white wine made with the sultana grape from an excellent Turkish wine house. It was light, but with an elegant flavor. 

The mezes tray was presented and we chose three, which were served to us on plates.

Balık Pastırması
Fish Pastorami
This was a slice of an air-dried fish that had a good concentrated flavor.

Levrek Marine
Marinated seabass
This was lovely; the fish seemed quite fresh. I don’t know what the marinade was, but it seemed like a cevice with little acid or pepper.

Red bean salad
The white beans had been cooked to just the right texture and dressed with a good light tomato sauce.

Following the mezes we shared a grilled
Balık Köfte
Fish ball

Grilling seemed unusual for this mix of chopped fish and herbs, but it really made the dish excellent.

The available fish, which were on display on ice near the entry, were described to us.

We chose a grilled

Spring is the season for turbot here. This was not as charred or quite as good as the grilled turbot at Balikçi Sabahattin two nights before, but it was very nice. Nor were the vegetable garnishes as interesting.

I finished with 
İncir Tatlısı
Fig Dessert


One of the enjoyable aspects of the evening was watching the other tables. On one side of us was a group of a dozen businessmen; they looked more like construction or trucking bosses than accountants or dentists. Here you can see their fish course being prepared and served to them.

On another side the table had ordered the Tuzda Balik, or salt-baked sea bass.

When we were done, the van was ready to take us back up the hill to our hotel.

Our original reservation that evening was at Poseidon, which is probably the best fish restaurant in Istanbul. But it is a long taxi ride away up the Bosphurus. We were told that the Saturday night traffic would be horrible, but that on Sunday the traffic would be much less for our drive up the same route to the boat for Körfez. Well, we were sorry to have had to cancel Poseidon, but I am sure we had a much more enjoyable evening at Sur Balik where the access was easy, the setting was lovely, the service was friendly and efficient and the fish very good.


One Response to “Sur Balik, Istanbul”

  1. violeta kazakova Says:

    hi guys ! we went to the same restaurant few days ago hoping to spend a nice late afternoon by the sea. everything seemed all right and as the breeze rises from the Marmara at this hour we preferred seats at the back of the open hall near the wall. unfortunately this was the first week of the Ramazan period and there was no display of fish at the entrance. the staff was kind of unfriendly and hasty, not to say nervous by the fasting. we were showed few very gigantic fish and chose cipura (sea bream). fresh fish is quite pricy in Istanbul, but this one was way overpriced. we got a microscopic portions plus underbaked patato and a tiny slice of tomato and union, plenty of some sort of green leaves though. we left almost hungry, but were asked to pay service and view. what a rip ! few days later we went to Akbiyik Fish Restaurant and enjoyed their fryed kalkan. this time we ordered 1 kilo for two of us, but had to take half of it as a take out as it was too much. greetings !

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