This article will probably be one of the many, about the one and only, “Ciya Sofrasi” in Kadiköy, Istanbul. This place is so magical, for locals and tourists, it will be a pity if not mentioned in this page.
What makes Ciya special, is not the food alone. The mission they carry, to be a taste ambassador in their own country, makes them unique. Feel free to check their magazine, Food & Culture (The magazine itself is in Turkish but do scroll down for information in English) “Yemek ve Kültür” as well.
Although “kebab” is among the first Turkish foods to pop up when you simply google (make no mistake, Ciya has also excellent kebabs), Ciya is almost challenging this, and introduces you to a wider variety of food, that represent various parts of Turkey, and with a menu that changes almost everyday. Everything is cooked fresh for that day, although it is possible that you can end up with a fresh batch of the same food the very next day.
The cooks who serve your food welcome you, with the food, at the entrance, since a part of the kitchen is practically located there. You can point to the huge pots, ask & learn the name of it, how it is cooked, and with which ingredients. You will also be informed from which part of the country that special dish is coming from, and yes, they can explain it in English (most of the time) as well. You can order a variety of food at that spot, and you can also order half a portion, if you feel like trying them all 🙂
They have the best salad bar in town, which gives a great opportunity to taste anything that catches your eye, in the amount you prefer. You can prepare your own salad dish, but do not forget to give it to the nice employees before you go to your table, since it needs to be weighed and priced accordingly.
Hope you saved some space for the dessert? If not, have some “zahter tea” first. Then check “Sütlü Incir” which is made of dried figs, or a fresh green walnut turned into a delicious dessert? Of course, you can always go mainstream and try the pumpkin. No disappointments in this section!
Needless to say, they have also the most cheerful and nicest personnel as well, do take their opinion if you are undecided and they will offer you the best! Feel free to check their website, if you want to have a ‘wish list’ beforehand especially. On top of everything, you will be very happy when you see their guest friendly prices! Now, details:
Ciya is located in Caferağa Mahallesi, Güneşlibahçe Sk. No:43 in Kadıköy (Anatolian side of Istanbul), telephone: +90 (216) 330 31 90.
From the European side, you can take the ferries from Besiktas and/or Kabatas and get to Kadiköy. If you are on the Anatolian side already, make sure you are going to the direction of the harbour, where the ferries take you to European side. When you take the main street walking up, direction of “Bull/Boga Statue” (Sogutlucesme) their street is located just before Osman Aga Camii (Mosque). Ciya is located in such a neighbourhood, where you can also walk around and admire the narrow beautiful streets, and shop from local spice shops, and textile shops where you can get ‘pestemal’, nuts, fresh groceries etc.
Kadiköy offers a wide variety of live music especially in the evening, from local music to hard rock, blues, in their small bars, so take the opportunity to discover, when you are there during daytime. Enjoy your visit!