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Editor’s note: We are sad to report that SofrAda has closed.

One of our favorite spots to make a quick summer getaway from Istanbul is the idyllic car-free and forested paradise of the Princes’ Islands, located just a short ferry ride away from the city. Here’s where you should eat when you get there.

Club Mavi
While most visitors end up getting lured to the fish restaurants right next to the Büyükada ferry terminal, we prefer to hail one of the island’s horse carriages to head to this restaurant inside a rambling old house on the island’s undeveloped backside. The menu is pretty typical, though well executed – it’s the stunning location that will blow your mind, especially if you’re there around sunset.

SofrAda Restoran
A homey version of an esnaf lokantası, this restaurant is where the Büyükada locals go to eat. There’s a large daily menu of prepared dishes, freshly made with a loving touch. We especially love the vegetables stewed in olive oil and served at room temperature, and everything else is very tasty and offered up at mainland prices.

Heyamola Ada Lokantası
This restaurant – the trifecta of inspired food, chill ambiance and small-label Turkish wines, all at ridiculously low prices – is reason in and of itself to get off the ferry at Heybeliada. One of the chefs often forages around the island for the herbs and greens that appear among the many seasonal meze offerings, and the main courses are a shortlist of great uses for fresh fish.

Kalpazankaya
Burgazada, the smallest and least visited of the islands, may have few easily accessible beaches and picnic spots but we go there for the laid-back atmosphere and for this open-air meyhane. Kalpazankaya serves classic mezes, as well as a wide variety of fresh fish, grilled or fried or even in an unexpected ceviche. There are plenty of meat options too, including the house specialty of lamb slow-roasted in a clay oven.

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Published on August 06, 2014

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