Liveliest dinner on Nevizade Sokak

The sun is down and it's time to unwind. Nevizade Sokak is where you will find many Istanbullu that make this street known as the liveliest in Istanbul's Beyoğlu [bey-yoh-lu] area. The cobble stone alleyway of Nevizade Sokak is cramped but there is space for many lively seafood and meze restaurants. People are here for the food and atmosphere. Nevermind the narrow alleyway, every restaurant still makes space for alfresco dining even in the cold and wet weather, thanks to the outdoor heating lamps. Nothing keeps people from having a good time eating and drinking on this street. It's casual. It's loud. It's Istanbul at her liveliest. The very nice thing about Nevizade Sokak is that you can't go wrong with any restaurant you pick so just go with any restaurant that calls out to your stomach.

A large tray with choices and choices of mezes (small dishes) is brought to the table for people to select from the kitchen offerings. The mezes are shared at the table and enjoyed at your own (slow) pace while chatting and drinking. When you are ready for the main courses, place your order and enjoy even more food. Seafood (fish especially) is popular given the close proximity of Istanbul to the sea. A night out is not complete without fish.

We start our night with hamsi (anchovies) that are cured and lightly drizzled with sesame oil. Anchovies are seasonal and a huge local favorite during the winter months. Other small plates include the smoked fish with strips of raw onions and garlic cloves on the side, cold octopus salad, and the very spicy stuffed peppers with cheese. The grilled whole sea bream is a must (or just about any other fish they have). Lightly squeeze the fresh lemon wedges over the grilled fish and eat it with a small side of arugula. Oh my... we could have this every night.

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