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Rome, Istanbul

Places to eat and sites to see in Rome and Istanbul?

My wife and I are going at the end of the month, and we're looking for out-of-the-way restaurants and activities. Any and all suggestions most welcome.

12 Answers

top answer by
Krista from San Francisco

Dear Ron,

I hope I'm not too late! I'm a huge fan of Roman cuisine and have some suggestions that I hope you'll be able to enjoy during your travels.

  • Breakfast: Dolci - Desideri S.R.L. Take the espresso with a small, fruit tart. Such a sweet way to start a morning.

  • Lunch: A panino, or sandwich, is my go-to. They are surprisingly awesome when prepared with local meats and cheeses. Perfect for eating in a park or on a bench while people watching. :)

  • Snack: Gelato at La Gourmandise is essential!

  • Dinner: Oh my, too many great places to choose from. For an authentic carbonara dish, I recommend Ristorante le Mani in Pasta, for a classic meat dish like fileto e pepe verde I love L'antica Roma and for a fun atmosphere with cocktails and pizza, Mò Mò Republic is my favorite. 

I wrote a short blog post with a bit more about these places and their surroundings, so feel free to have a look if you want more detail. I hope you have a delicious trip! :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dolci - Desideri S.R.L. (restaurant)
  2. La Gourmandise (attraction)
  3. Ristorante le Mani in Pasta (restaurant)
  4. L'antica Roma (attraction)
  5. Mò Mò Republic (restaurant)
4 thanks

answered by
Lucy from Hawkinge

For Rome; to eat try Il Bacaro on the Via Degli Spagnoli, near to the Pantheon. It does wonderful quintessentially Roman dishes and amazing, authentic carbonara. 

Al Duelloon the Vicollo della Vaccarella is also spectacular for something a little fancier, whilst still being relatively economic. Both places are off the beaten track and you won't get mobbed by tourists.

For coffee, you must try Tazza D'Oro- it is Rome's oldest and most famous coffee shop and you can't beat it. 

I wrote a piece about Eating in Rome and about a couple of my favourite sites. If you want to read more about places I rate have a peek :). 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Il Bacaro (restaurant)
  2. Al Duello (restaurant)
  3. Tazza D'Oro (restaurant)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Mia from Rye, Victoria

In Istanbul Babel Cafe Restaurant was me and my partner's favourite restaurant. We went there 4 or 5 times just so we could try as many things on the menu!

Address: Turnacibasi Cad. No 56 Beyoglu/Istanbul | Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Babel Cafe Restaurant (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered by
Eric from Seattle

Here are some memorable, somewhat out-of-the-way restaurant experiences we enjoyed when we were in Rome in the Fall of 2012. In the Trastevere area: Osteria la Gensola for its seafood, Antica Trattoria da Carlone for its carbonara and mezzemaniche, and Roma Sparita for the Bourdain-approved Cacio e Pepe. The Trastevere is a great neighborhood to just walk around through its old, well-worn maze and find your own experiences.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Trastevere (neighborhood)
  2. Osteria la Gensola (restaurant)
  3. Antica Trattoria da Carlone (restaurant)
  4. Roma Sparita (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered first by
Meir from Tel Aviv

Hello Ron, 
Congrats for choosing Istanbul as your destination :-)

Places to stay: Since most of the interesting attractions in Istanbul are within walking distance from the Blue Mosque that's the neighborhood where I'd look for accommodation. There are quite a few of very nice small hotels and pensions - family run B&B, clean and friendly.

Sites to visit around Blue Mosque: 

  • Sultanahmet Imperial Mosque (Blue Mosque) renown for it's majestic design and beautiful blue tiles 
  • Hagia Sophia- Once Imperial Church, turned into Mosque, now Museum, a stunning piece of architecture since Byzantine times and a real must.
  • Basilica Cistern - a hidden gem, a forgotten underground cistern since Byzantine times. Located not far from Haghia Sofia
  • Topkapı Sarayı:  Earlier Imperial palace of the Ottomans, where you can see from imperial huge pans and pots to golden thrones and of course the famous huge Topkapi Diamond...
  • Grand Bazaar - not far, within walking distance from Sultanahmet you will find the huge Oriental Bazaar . Do not miss the little charming books bazaar just connected to it, + as you exit the books bazaar you hit a square that serves as tea terrace - a great place to relax and mingle with local folks visiting the books bazaar or the Istanbul University just across the square.
  • Süleymaniye Mosque and Complex - another Imperial mosque, still within walking distance, by all means worth a visit.

Off the beaten track destinations and attractions:

  • Take the ferry from Eminönü for a cruise along the Bosphorus with all the local commuters, get off at Anadolu Kavağı, a dormant village on the northern mouth of the straits, climb the hill for a view of the black sea, and stop for a fresh fish meal back down at the harbor.  Take next ferry, cross the straits to Sarier Ticaret, get off and sample local fish if you haven't done so before. You may return 'home' by local transportation. 
  • Take Ferry from Eminonu to Adalar (the islands), and get off with the commuters at Buyukada, the biggest island. On the island, beside the great atmosphere, and the beautiful 19th century villas, you may enjoy a ride on a faiton - local horse and carriage across the island (the short ride will be long enough for you :-)  
  • Inquire at your hotel about a Sema  - Whirling Dervishes ritual. Unlike belly dancing that could be a bit tacky, the Sema ritual is the real deal, most impressive!

Meir Jacob, Founder of Trips for Photographers.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Blue Mosque (attraction)
  2. Hagia Sophia (attraction)
  3. Basilica Cistern (attraction)
  4. Topkapı Sarayı (attraction)
  5. Grand Bazaar (attraction)
  6. Istanbul University (attraction)
  7. Süleymaniye Mosque and Complex (attraction)
  8. Eminönü (neighborhood)
  9. Anadolu Kavağı (attraction)
  10. Sarier Ticaret (attraction)
  11. Adalar (attraction)
  12. Buyukada (city)
2 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Yuksel from Kuşadası

Hi Ron,

Places to visit in Istanbul... Hagia Sophia museum, Topkapı Sarayı, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Hipodrome, milione stone Bosphorous, Grand Bazaar, Egyptian market, Eminönü, Taksim Square, Galata Tower, Dolmabahçe Palace, etc...

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Istanbul (city)
  2. Hagia Sophia (attraction)
  3. Topkapı Sarayı (attraction)
  4. Blue Mosque (attraction)
  5. Basilica Cistern (attraction)
  6. Grand Bazaar (attraction)
  7. Eminönü (neighborhood)
  8. Taksim Square (attraction)
  9. Galata Tower (attraction)
  10. Dolmabahçe Palace (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Gina from Minneapolis

I am notoriously bad about restaurant names—likely because I tend to just stop into places that look good. I'd encourage you to do so, too. Just maybe be smarter than me and write down the names :). 

In Istanbul, Meir's suggestion to go out the Princes' Islands, and Buyukada Iskelesi in particular, is a really good one. It's beautiful place with a relaxed atmosphere—do try to take a carriage ride, or if you like, ride a donkey up to the monastery at the top of the island. 

Within the city, try going beyond Sultanahmet and the area right around Istiklal Caddesi and Galata Tower, just to get the feel of some other neighborhoods. Cukurcuma and Nisantasi are fun to walk around and if you're in town on Tuesday, you could go over to the Asian side for the Kadikoy Tuesday market.

Wish I could give you an off-the-beaten-path rec for Rome, but we stayed pretty well on the path—there's just so much to see in the city, and you can just kind of wander and find little pockets of everyday life.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Istanbul (city)
  2. Princes' Islands (island)
  3. Buyukada Iskelesi (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Rita from San Jose (California)

Two restaurants in Istanbul with incredible views of the Sinpaş GYO Bosphorus City and amazing food:  Ulus 29 and Reina

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Istanbul (city)
  2. Sinpaş GYO Bosphorus City (attraction)
  3. Ulus 29 (restaurant)
  4. Reina (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by

In Istanbul I enjoyed Simdi Cafe for lunch .Modern and with it with good food.(Off Istiklal in Beyoglu).There are some decent fish places on Galata Bridge.(Yes on the bridge).I went to Galata Balikon the bridge.In Rome I can't member where I ate but search for two things- cacio e pepe and the Roman style artichokes.This is local specialty food and good ,in a city not really known for great food.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Simdi Cafe (restaurant)
  2. Galata Bridge (attraction)
  3. Galata Balik (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Diana from Lisbon

Hello, although it sounds biased, but I have the best answers for you written on my blog post :)

Istanbul, a millennial fusion of cultures and ethnicities


Vacanze Romane or 3 days in Rome

answered by

Niño's is the absolute best.  Just a couple of blocks from the Spanish Steps.

answered by
Erin from Morristown, Nj

I don't know how "out-of-the-way" it is, but my husband and I stumbled across the original restaurant of fettuccine alfredo, Ristorante Alfredo alla Scrofa, one night and it was fantastic!  Have a great trip!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ristorante Alfredo alla Scrofa (restaurant)

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