This friendly restaurant is located a little out of town in one of Istanbul's most famous dining districts, Samatya. It's well worth the trek. This historically cosmopolitan district of the city was home to mixture of Greeks, Jews, Armenians, and Turks until the 1950s, when the Istanbul pogroms reduced the number of minority communities. Since then, there has been an influx of Kurds and Turks from the southeastern regions. This complex history has made for a welcoming atmosphere in Samatya and has created a healthy mix of fishmongers, taverns, and restaurants.
This meyhane became famous after it was the setting of a popular Turkish TV series, "Ikinci Bahar" ("Second Spring"), and photographs from filming adorn the walls that show the obvious likeness between the TV chef and the eponymous owner Ali Haydar. The food here boasts southeastern flavors, with pistachio-studded kebabs, çiğ köfte made from raw meat and spices, and a delicious selection of seasonal fresh mezes. On busy nights, watch for the roving musicians who visit the restaurants in the district, playing traditional fasil music to diners who request it.