Chilling in the Fish Market
Akin Fish Karakoy stands at the end of the fish market and has paper table clothes, wooden tables and chairs outside; and it’s a place where everything from service to presentation is simple, yet done so diligently. Their claim is not to be a chic restaurant, but to satisfy people with fresh fish and meze.
The fish market in Karakoy is one of the most authentic and unique places in Istanbul. It’s difficult not to be attracted by this market visited often by local and international tourists. Not only to get some fish, but it’s also ideal to take photographs, have a real İstanbul experience, to lose yourself among the fish in this feast of colour, and to forget all about worries in between bargains, yells and outcries. There you see,at the end of the market Akın Balık is a place that serves you fresh fish without any fancy or grandiose plates or anything. To top it all, you have the pleasure of drinking rakı in tea glasses.
Don’t imagine this place to be a fish restaurant. This is a simple place where the service of waiters replaces the menu. Take what they tell you, that’s what’s fresh and should be eaten. Their selection of rakı and wine is almost non-existent. You drink what they have at that moment… Acknowledging the fact that you’re not eating by the Bosporus, the presentation of mezes is nice. We order octopus salad, fava(mashed broad beans), sea beans, calamari, and sea bass. In general octopus is quite all right.The softness is amazingly good. Usually they serve very tough octopus at such places, andeven your jaw gets fed up chewing on the fish. This octopus is of good quality. The sauce of sea bass is not dark, so it’s not overwhelming. If you like savoury taste in general, you might not like this sauce that much. It’s sub-standard, but I give the fish thumbs up, but others on the table are not on the same opinion.
In our country, fava is a meze that varies from one place to another. Believe me, everyone has their own favourite place to eat fava. This place is not my favourite. Fava at Akin Fish Karakoy is soft. The fava I had at Kalpazankaya Restaurant was one of the best in that sense. Here, fava is not oily, and does not have onions. When these powerful contributions lack in meze, fava tastes rather dry and poor.
Sea beans are drowning in garlic like you encounter atmany restaurants in Turkey. Actually it would be fairer to call it garlic with sea beans. Only positive thing was that the beans were still lively, thank god they didn’t wither. Calamari is above frying standards. It’s delicious and has its own unique taste. But tarator (garlic and walnut sauce) is a “never mind”.
Anchovy season: Welcome Anchovies
The shrimps in shrimp casserole are very dry. I don’t know why, but as a country we tend to have this attitude to overcook food. We can’t tolerate to see anything juicy or bloody. While hoping anchovies don’t end up the same way, I see that all my fears were in vain. As soon as the waiter served the gold of Black Sea on the table, all anchovies disappear on the plate. Yes, it’s very fresh like I expected and the feast begins. I’m one of those that light up in anchovy season.
Marketing is Better than the Taste
The chilled ambiance of the place, tables, the arrangement of fork and knives, and the concept of rakı in tea glasses and simplicity give me pleasure; although, I find the reviews on the place overrated. In the end, the bill didn’t really look like it belongs to a simple restaurant. There are other existing places in İstanbul where you can have the same taste and simplicity for a better price. It’s a solid proof that one should never undermine the power of marketing at all.
Address: Fermeneciler Cad./ali Yazıcı Sk Gümrük Han D:10, Karakoy/Istanbul
Tel:(0212) 244 9776