Alldaywifi's Choice: 3 Favourite Spots to Eat like a Local

You should definitely try famous and rich Turkish cuisine including huge variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for sure. The best way to do it is to visit local and authentic places instead of central and touristic restaurants with high prices. We, as Alldaywifi Team, have selected top 3 places where you can try real and delicious Turkish dishes like a local with reasonable prices. Let’s take a look together!

Since those 3 suggestions are our favourite and most-visited places for food, two of them are very close to our office. If you decide to try Ficcin or Sabirtasi, you can come to our office and say hello, since they are only few steps away from Alldaywifi Office.

Fıccın

Fıccın is located one of the small streets on Beyoglu and operated by 2 cute old ladies. The local people love to eat in here because of their daily-changing menus with variety of famous Turkish meals and specialties which are whole homemade. It’s not an elegant restaurant but a simple, casual, and warm one with an ordinary design and atmosphere. However it is still a good choice for a quick, nutritious, and filling dish being served by friendly and kind staff.

Ficcin Restaurant Istanbul

The prices are reasonable, for most of the tourists it is even cheap. That’s why the place is always full! But don’t worry! If there is no table, you can wait a little bit because there are more than 4 restaurants under the name of Ficcin at that street and the staff will be more than happy to find a table for you shortly.

When I go there for a lunch or dinner, I generally prefer Manti (Circassion ravioli), puree appetizer meatballs, and Turkish mezes (for sure!).

Çiya

Located in the Fish Market in Kadiköy, Çiya is famous for both locals and tourists with its traditional atmosphere, welcoming staff, and the rich menu including different traditional cuisines such as Ottoman, Balkan, Seldjukian, and Arabian. The restaurant is located on asian side of Istanbul and was founded on 1987 by Musa Dagdeviren, a chef specialized on kebab and lahmacun. After many successful years, different regional dishes were added to the menu. The main purpose behind the idea was to preserve and keep serving the traditional and cultural cuisines of Anatolia against unhealthy fast food restaurants.

Ciya Restaurant Istanbul

You can order both from the menu or pick out the dishes from the counter. If you are only a little bit hungry, you can at least try cold appetites called ‘mezes’ from all over Turkey with unique tastes.

My favourites dishes in Ciya are Lahmacun, Ciya Kebab, Perde Pilav, Turkish Pide, Vişneli Köfte (meatballs with cherry sauce). If you like desserts, do not leave there without trying famous Künefe, Baklava, Katmer, or Ayva Tatlisi. After all Turkish Tea is a must to end your meal.

Sabirtasi Restaurant

On 1987, Ali Bey and his family have moved to Istanbul from the hometown, Kahramanmaras due to the economic problems. In Istanbul, they decided to serve handmade Icli Kofte (bulgur wheat filled with meat and spices). Indeed, in a short notice, people loved his special Icli Kofte. At the beginning they were selling it with a cart around several streets of Istiklal Street. After high demand, he started to deliver it to hotels, restaurants, and catering firms.

Sabirtasi Restaurant Istanbul

He, then, opened a restaurant called Sabirtasi. It is located very close to Galatasaray High School on the Istiklal Street, on the rooftop floor of a 5-floor building. So, let me warn you, if you are excited for the traditional Icli Kofte, you need to put some effort and climb 5 floors. If you think, it is tiring, you can simply stop by the Ali Bey’s famous old cart located at the entrance of the building, and eat Icli Kofte on the go. It was Ali Bey’s idea and he was very famous with his white shirt at his times.

On 2009, when Ali Bey died, his son, Mustafa Topcuoglu has decided to protect his traditions and continued to serve what his father had started. Besides Icli Kofte, there are lots of delicious and homemade dishes you should try in this cozy restaurant. My favourite is Manti and trust me, you will eat the best Manti in the city with a reasonable price and with a warm service.

Turkish Prepaid Data SIM cards for travellers

While reading the travel forums about Turkey, I just realized that getting a Turkish SIM card is one of the most popular topics that travelers discuss about. Indeed, when thinking the communication, getting directions, online maps and restaurant suggestions, internet access would be crucial while travelling to another country.

sim card

When you make a search at the forums and online sources regarding Turkish prepaid SIM card offers, you will notice that there is many different informaton on the forums, because none of this information is up-to-date. Similarly the official websites of mobile operators are mostly for local citizens and contracted customers so you never get what you are looking for as a foreigner.

But don't lose your hope, here is the good news! I, by myself, went to the Ataturk International Airport today and made a comprehensive research to learn the recent offers and deals of mobile operators. Here, what I get at the end of the my little research is:

Turkcell Airport SIM Card

Turkcell

I first went to the Turkcell office because it is widely known in Turkey and let me say that it was the most crowded one. The SIM Cards they use fit any kind of mobile phone (Standard, Micro, Nano), therefore you don’t need to cut it. They said the SIM Cards get activated within an hour after you buy. I need to say I heard some complaints that it takes longer than promised for SIM Cards to get activated. They offer different prepaid data deals from 1GB to 15GB. Their prices vary between 105TL to 185TL. Check the photo I made while I was talking to representative.

Turkcell SIM Card Prices

Vodafone

After Turkcell, I went to Vodafone which has a completely different system. They do not publish their prices at the airport. You need to talk to a salesperson. Data only SIMs start from 230TL with 8GB of data. Vodafone also offers local call + text + data packages. You can get the package with 2GB data for 160TL or the package with 9GB for 250TL. The activation of the SIM Cards takes 3 hours and you also need to make your SIM Card cut if your smartphone requires. They do not have ready-to-use nano-SIM like Turkcell.

Vodafone Atatürk Airport SIM Card

Turk Telekom (Avea)

The last stop is Avea which has been converted to Turk Telekom on 26th of January 2016. It is the budget friendly option among other operators. Unfortunately, they have also raised their prices at the airport and most of the times they have a limited staff there to help you with documents. There were 2 people in front of me and I have waited like 20 minutes to ask prepaid data prices. Minimum package starts from 100 TL with 3GB. They have also 10GB for 160TL if you need more data during your stay.

  Turkcell Vodafone Turk Telekom Alldaywifi.com*
1 GB 95 TL   87 TL
2 GB   160 TL 87 TL
3 GB 100 TL 87 TL
5 GB 125 TL 210 TL 87 TL
6 GB 130 TL 87 TL
8 GB 145 TL 230 TL 87 TL
9 GB 250 TL 87 TL
10 GB 160 TL 87 TL
15 GB 180 TL 87 TL
∞ GB 87 TL

*The price is calculated for average stay in Istanbul (5 days) and converted in TL with the rate 1TRY = 0,33USD

Finally let’s check the prices at the table above and see how much data you can consume with different prices. As an alternative to SIM Card, you can rent a mobile WiFi and benefit from unlimited data plan for only $5 per day. You can pre-order online at Alldaywifi.com and get your Alldaywifi Kit delivered at the airport. Sharing it with your friends or family will also make you save up to 95% of the mobile internet costs.

Alldaywifi Mobile Internet Turkey

Getting a high-speed internet connection during your stay in Turkey is as simple as pushing a button of Alldaywifi. At the end of your trip you can just leave it at the reception of your hotel or hand it to your Airbnb host. The extra battery coming with your Alldaywifi Kit will also make you stay connected for entire day. Lastly, do not forget to check out the extra services like Fast Museum Tickets, Istanbul Card, Museum Pass etc.

Book yourself and your travel partners a pocket WiFi from Alldaywifi.com and start enjoying unlimited internet wherever you go in Turkey.

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