two pera traditions: rejans and hacı baba

Rejansfounded in 1931 by Tevfik Manars, Veronika Protoppova and Vera Cirik, is more of a cultural institution than a restaurant, although it is also a very nice restaurant indeed.

Masses of White Russians immigrated to Istanbul after the 1917 revolution and Rejans was initially started as a meeting place for this ex-patriate community, however soon became immensely popular amongst the local intelligentsia as well, hosting many authors, musicians, and artists who contributed to the cultural life of Istanbul throughout the 20th century.

The menu is Russian, however the serving style is a hybrid of Russian and Turkish, with lots of Russian hors d'oeuvres served as tapas and then a main meal and dessert to follow. The place is famous for its home cured lemon vodka, a great borscht soup, roast duck and pork cutlets, and various Russian pickled fish dishes which are served as tapas. And then of course all the usual suspects such as boeuf stroganoff and chicken kievski - all very well prepared and very tasty.

Eating at Rejans is not cheap. I haven't been there in quite some time, but my guess would be that a full meal will set you back at something between 35 and 50 Euros.

Read more about Rejans Restaurant here >>>.

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Rejans is located in Galatasaray, and you can call 0212 243 3882 for directions or reservations. Address: Olivya Gecidi, Yeni Carsi Sokak, Beyoglu.

Hacı Baba lokantası is located on İstiklal Avenue, very near Taksim, on the left hand sidewalk as you enter the avenue from the square. The restaurant was established under the name of 'Husn-u Tabiat' in 1921 by Necati Bey, and was subsequently bought by his close friend and former butcher Recep Akpınar, whose family are still the owners onto this day. Despite the religious overtones in the name, Hacı Baba is actually a tavern, where one goes to have a splendid raki meal with all the trimmings.

Haci Baba is renowned for the quality of its food and for this, as well as its long standing tradition as a tavern, is mentioned in just about every Istanbul guide book. Therefore you are likely to see more visitors than locals when you go there. The food is absolutely scrumptious and unlike most taverns Hacı Baba also serves cooked casserole dishes as entrees after a very substantial selection of meze. And great desserts too! A raki meal at Hacı Baba will cost from 45 to 60 Euros, but it is a meal that is worth the cost. Not to put too fine a point on it - I over-eat whenever I go! ;-)

Hacı Baba retains its decor which dates back to 1921, the year in which the tavern was founded.

There are several dining areas, all differently done up.

The balcony in the back faces the church yard of Aya Triada next door.

The main courses. As you can see here these go well beyond the usual selection of grilled fish or meat which you get in most other taverns!

The meze display in the front right and some desserts peeking out from the back.

Istiklal caddesi No: 49  Beyoglu
+90 0212 244 18 86 - 245 43 77

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