I am quite critical when it comes to reviewing restaurants because of my high(?) standards and low pocket. And I don’t judge a restaurant right after the first visit as my experience can be affected by various factors, some of which lead to a biased and subjective conclusion. If I don’t go to the same place twice, it already proves itself that I didn’t like it, therefore there is no need to write about it, unless it’s great without a doubt in every aspect.
I came across this restaurant, Şaşkın Balık, which means Confused fish, all by chance and I couldn’t have been more pleased, knowing that I’d have another place added to my very limited eat-out list. Tucked away in a tree-lined small street in Suadiye, known as a rather posh area, this modest fish restaurant serves dishes that you don’t find anywhere else in Turkey. The chef, who friendly presented every single dish while explaining about the dish, makes sure he creates something different with his inspiration from other cuisines.
Now I don’t have to eat the same old same old dishes any more. The setting and the ambience of the restaurant will fool you as if you were sitting by the sea somewhere on the Aegean coast with the blue and white colour contrast and the sea-themed props.
Their stuffed fish is among my favourites. On my second visit there with some guests, we ordered an assortment of sea vegetables, some of which I hadn’t had before and had interesting tastes.
My absolute favourite is this baked fish with caper sauce and slivers of fried potatoes. I ate it twice but I can still eat it again and again. The Fish Simit is very interesting, too.
(Photo source: Aren and Family)
There were two others we tasted, one wrapped in pancake dough and one with curry sauce but I don’t want to put all the photos because I want to leave it to your imagination and curiosity to discover. The Turkish signature meze, the eggplant puree was also different here, not to mention the mussel dolma. Yum, yum!
You shouldn’t forget to try their drinks, ayran, ice tea and grape juice because they are very very different. Superb!
Above all, I love the way the staff make you so welcomed and cared for, which shows the true Turkish hospitality, I mean hospitality in general. I hate eating in a restaurant where staff with a grumpy look serve and dishes are overpriced. Here you can eat as much as you like but still pay less than other places with the same amount of food. The level of satisfaction is priceless here, I’d say.
I hope you will get the chance to try this place although it’s a bit out of way for tourists and even for locals. Having said that, you can always make the time to have a stroll along Bağdat street and the Caddebostan seafront, which is one of my favourite spot in Istanbul. If you ever do so, please swing by the restaurant for dinner before heading back.
Tonozlu Sok. No: 4/A Şaşkınbakkal