Map
13 Çukurlu Çeşme Sk., Istanbul, Turkey

You might call Zarifi the first postmodern meyhane with a mission to revive lost elements of Beyoğlu’s past as a drinking, fun-loving ghetto from Byzantine days. Not to mention the food that went along with the mayhem. Owner Fehmi Yaşar worked as a filmmaker before launching the Byzantine cistern-like location right off Istiklal Street, the main pedestrian thoroughfare. (A waterfront location in Çubuklu, on the Asian side, is open from July through September.) Yaşar says he created the menu as a tribute to the old Ottoman minorities of the Beyoğlu area: Sephardic Jews, Armenians, Greeks, and others—and their dishes. Tuck into the Hungarian honey eggplant, an unprecedented sweet-savory flavor, and the Bosnian smoked meat cooked in oiled butcher paper. Eating the islim kebab—lamb on the bone wrapped in lush eggplant—feels like a homecoming on a winter’s night.

Restaurant
Zarifi

You might call Zarifi the first postmodern meyhane with a mission to revive lost elements of Beyoğlu’s past as a drinking, fun-loving ghetto from Byzantine days. Not to mention the food that went along with the mayhem. Owner Fehmi Yaşar worked as a filmmaker before launching the Byzantine cistern-like location right off Istiklal Street, the main pedestrian thoroughfare. (A waterfront location in Çubuklu, on the Asian side, is open from July through September.) Yaşar says he created the menu as a tribute to the old Ottoman minorities of the Beyoğlu area: Sephardic Jews, Armenians, Greeks, and others—and their dishes. Tuck into the Hungarian honey eggplant, an unprecedented sweet-savory flavor, and the Bosnian smoked meat cooked in oiled butcher paper. Eating the islim kebab—lamb on the bone wrapped in lush eggplant—feels like a homecoming on a winter’s night.