Hamdi Restaurant & Istanbul’s Döner Kebab Sit Down Restaurant

Hamdi Restaurant sits on the Golden Horn with views of multiple mosque depending where you sit.  It’s a traditional Turkish restaurant worth visiting while in Istanbul.

Hamdi Restaurant has been in the area since the 1960s.  The five stories restaurant started as a food stall in the same vicinity then slowly expanded into its current residence.  The restaurant has a large choice of different kebabs on the menu in its casual setting.  Furthermore, Hamdi Restaurant boast views of many of the historical sites within Istanbul — Yeni Cami, Rüstem Paia Cami, Galata Köprüsü, Golden Horn, and Süleymaniye Camii.

Hamdi Restaurant Istanbul Turkey
The view of Rüstem Pa?a Cami

As I made my way from Rüstem Paia Cami, Istanbul’s cold wind chill confronted me as I made eye contact with the Galata Köprüsü on Kalçin Sk.  The area is a massive empty lot with shops surrounding on its borders and the Yeni Cami sitting beautifully in the background like a throne in a king’s court.  The abundance of birds flying in the area savaging for any drops of food — intentional or not — is like a scene from a movie.  However, I couldn’t help myself but to follow the flocks of people on Tahmis Sk as they flooded into the narrow walkways to discover shops after shops. Plus, the currency exchange isn’t too bad.

Hamdi Restaurant Istanbul Turkey
The decor and view of Süleymaniye Camii

I got a hold of my curiosity then headed back to Hamdi Restaurant.  I was greeted by an employee who assisted me to Hamdi’s dining room.  As I stepped out of the elevator, the first thing I noticed was the view of Süleymaniye Camii on the left, the Golden Horn on my right, and the Rüstem Pa?a Cami was staring directly at me.  The dining room had windows all around the restaurant and the sunlight flooded the room providing warmth in Istanbul’s cold mid-November weather.

I knew I wanted kebab when I sat down.  However, the hard part was deciding whether I wanted chicken, beef, lamb or a mix of two or three.  My indecisiveness lead me to the chicken kebab with an aryan drink.

  1. Chicken Kebab –  The chunks of chicken were grilled over a charcoal fire for 10-15 minutes.  It was served with flatbread, fresh salad, grilled peppers and tomatoes.  The juicy chicken had a robust flavor with its salt and Turkish spices.  The charcoal grill really brought out the flavors as it came out perfectly cooked without being overly dry.  The rice pilaf was moist with a mixture of beans and vegetables.  It complemented the chicken’s flavor like the Sphinx complements the Great Pyramid.

    Hamdi Restaurant Istanbul Turkey
    Chicken kebab
  2. Aryan – Aryan is a Turkish yoghurt drink.  The thick smoothie was comforting yet sour in flavor; it was very filling and I would recommend it as a dessert versus an aperitif.

    Hamdi Restaurant Istanbul Turkey
    Turkish side dishes and Aryan

After 30 minutes, I was back where I started on Kalçin Sk admiring the view of Yeni Cami, Galata Köprüsü, and the Golden Horn.  The flavors of the chicken still fresh on my mind as I made my way to the underground passage to cross Galata Köprüsü and to take cover from Istanbul’s cold wind.  My eyes briefly glancing the abundant shops selling selfie sticks, shoes and urban attire.

Check out our other Istanbul articles here.

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Hamdi Restaurant Istanbul

  • 7/10
    Service - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Presentation - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Flavors - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Decor - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Ambiance - 8/10
7.6/10

Summary

Hamdi Restaurant has been in the area since the 1960s. Hamdi boast views of many of the historical sites within Istanbul — Yeni Cami, Rüstem Paşa Cami, Galata Köprüsü, Golden Horn, and Süleymaniye Camii. It’s a traditional Turkish restaurant worth visiting while in Istanbul and eating quality kebabs.

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