Fine Dining in Istanbul

While traveling through Turkey in the early 70s My family was overwhelmed with all the beautiful places to visit. We always like to stick close to the local fair avoiding the tourist trade as much as possible.

One afternoon we were deciding where to eat when we saw a neighborhood restaurant that had a lot of local business. We watch the line of robed men happily walking in and knew we had finally found a true local hotspot.

Inside there was a dozen round tables full of customers and a cafeteria style line to pick your food from as is common in Europe and the Middle East. No one spoke English and our Hebrew we learned in Israel was of no use.

We each grabbed a tray and hopped in line. The food smelled great! Everyone was excited to see an American family in their humble restaurant. We worked our way down the food line picking one awesome dish after another. It was hard to chose it all looked so good.

When we got to the end they were so happy to see use they insisted our dinners were on the house! Some guys even moved around and cleared a table for us in the crowded place. Our presence was definitely an event in the little place.

As we tore into our plates piled high with Turkish food everyone stared and smiled. After a bit I noticed everyone else only had single entrees compared with each of our four or five different choices.

As we ate the incredible food I then noticed no one was paying for the food either and we had stumbled into a soup kitchen for the poor and homeless...

There we sat, the stereotypical rich Americans, each with four or five dinners worth of food on our plates eating like kings...

The company was great even though we had to work through the language barrier. Have been outside of the States for over a year that was normal for us though.

Before we left we tried to give a donation to the cause but they would have none of it and begged us to return again the next night.

After a week of pillaging Istanbul that homeless shelter was the best food we ate the whole adventure.