Getting the ferry to Princes Island
On our last full day in Istanbul we visited Heybeli island, part of a small group of islands an hour and a half lazy ferry ride from the city. The sleepy islands are a popular escape from heat of the city during the summer. Quiet towns, restaurants on the sea front and horse drawn carriages are the main draws for day trippers and tourists alike.
If you want something faster paced you need to head to one of the island's private clubs which seem to have monopolised the beaches, swimming pools and sun loungers on the island.
Approaching the Islands
After a short walk round the village and up to the monastry at the top of the island (sadly not open to the public) we headed to Heyamola restaurant which was recommended to us by Megan, our guide on the Instanbul Eats walking tour.
Heyamola occupies a prime location on the sea front and looks like the sort of place you could very happily while away a couple of hours in the sunshine.
Meze at Heyamola on Heybeli Island
We were initially given menus and then when the Megan connection was made they were taken away again and we were treated to a wonderful array of ten meze dishes.
Roasted aubergines with tomato and garlic, spicy tomato, roasted peppers with garlic, olive oil and parsley and four different types of yoghurt started us off. The selection of yoghurt meze included aubergine, a sweet carrot dip that was thick like mayonaise, dill and mint and a nutty (almond?) yoghurt.
Three types of seaweed Meze
We also had three types of seaweed meze, very appropriate given our location. None of the seaweed dishes were too salty. The pale green seaweed at the top of the picture flavoured with lemon and olive oil was a favourite. Some mackeral with pickled cucumber and olives completed our selection.
Mackeral stuffed vine leaves
After the meze selection some mackeral stuffed vine leaves appeared at our table. The vine leaves had been finished in a frying pan and were slightly chewy. The vine leaves worked well with the lemon and raw red onion which cut through the richness of the mackeral.
Slightly nervous of how much more food might come out, and knowing that we had an epic meal to come in the evening, we asked for the bill after the vine leaves, very content with what we had eaten.
I enjoyed our lunch at Heyamola. The only thing that would prevent me from recommending the restaurant is that they seem to have an English and Turkish menu. In my brief look at the menu I didn't spot any of the wonderful meze on the English version. If you do visit Heyamola, make sure they know your keen to try some of the local dishes.
The map of all the places I visited in Istanbul is on my maps page here.
Mavi Marmara Yali Cad.
(Mavi Marmara Motor Iskelesi karsisi)
Turn right when you get off the ferry. Heyamola is the last restaurant on your left.