Balik ekmek ve bira. Fish with bread and beer. Fresh, simple, nourishing, refreshing. With a splash of lemon, set against a turquoise waterfront, it can’t be beat as accompaniment for people-watching, waiting for a ferry, or just letting time be.
On a busy day, a barge embossed in gold filigree, topped with gold domes, led by dolphins, serpents, or a helmeted dragon might get lost behind the throng of humanity. Stroll toward the red and gold-domes, though, and as eyes adjust to the shade, men in embroidered shirts serving hot balik ekmek from 8-foot open-air grills to customers waiting on land over the starboard side come in to view. Edge closer. If the line is long, someone may approach to take your order. Pay when the fish is ready and pick up your beverage at the refrigerator with your receipt. Select a barrel and table with a view of the Galata Tower. Observe or engage as life transits irrepressibly between historic and modern Istanbul.
Getting there From Eminonu station or Yeni Camii (New Mosque), cross traffic to get to the southwest corner of the bridge, ideally using the pedestrian tunnel. Look for the red or gold domes at water's edge.
Photo Op Take the staircase on the west side of the bridge to a sea level observation deck. For video, use a wide angle lens and adjust focal length, tripod height and viewing angle to include the two highest points of interest – Galata Tower to the north and Suleymaniye Mosque to the south. Be prepared - it's windy!