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Zarifi, Beyoğlu

13 Çukurlu Çeşme Sokak
Tel: 90 212 293 5480's insider take:

A meyhane is a Turkish tavern where alcoholic drinks and plates of traditional meze (appetizers) are served. Zarifi is a meyhane with a twist that, for better or worse, captures the essence of contemporary nightlife in Istanbul. Run by the descendants of a prosperous and philanthropic Greek merchant family from the 19th century, the restaurant's menu reflects Istanbul's varied European influence, with Jewish, Greek, Armenian, Arabic, and Turkish fare, beginning with meze, and accompanied by copious Raki. The food is a cut above that served in most local meyhanes, both in quality and price—try the lamb shish kebabs with eggplant and béchamel, or Cretan-style octopus meatballs. Go on a Friday or Saturday if possible, and make a reservation for before 9 pm. This should give you enough time to finish your meal before midnight, when crowds of carousers arrive to dance around and on the tables to anything from contemporary Turkish pop to live traditional tunes.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.