The earliest form of sushi can be traced back to the 8th century, when fish was salted and wrapped in fermented rice for preservation. Although the origin of sushi probably lies elsewhere in Southeast Asia, it gained fame in Japan; in the 19th century, Japanese street vendors began to drape slices of fish over mounds of sticky rice, creating the nigiri sushi which has become a popular light bite around the globe.
It may be located more than 5,000 miles west of Japan but Istanbul has a great selection of restaurants specialising in sushi and sashimi as well as other Japanese dishes, offering a delicious taste of Tokyo in the heart of Turkey.
Ioki, an award-winning enterprise with three restaurants in Istanbul, fuses traditional Japanese cuisine with Turkish and Peruvian flavours. The first Ioki opened in İstinye and is still regarded as one of the city’s definitive sushi venues. Discerning customers who stop by for lunch, dinner or for a take-away will be impressed by the unique sushi creations, which change frequently depending on the best catch of the day. We recommend the Ioki Fantastic Roll – an ebi tempura and eel roll topped with sea bass and dill.
Ioki, Polign Mahallesi, Sarıyer Caddesi 105/C, İstinye, + (0)212 323 2313
Sunset Grill & Bar
Opened in 1994, Sunset Grill & Bar was already a firm favourite on Istanbul’s fine-dining scene when it launched its highly successful sushi bar in 2000. Its beautiful location, overlooking the Bosphorus, offers stunning views and provides the perfect laid-back atmosphere in which to share excellent sushi and sashimi with friends. Sunset prides itself on a world-class wine cellar, which features bottles from leading international producers including Petrus, La Tache and Château d’Yquem.
Sunset Grill & Bar, Kuruçeşme Mahallesi, Yol Sokak 2, Beşiktaş, +90 (0)212 287 0357
Award-winning Japanese restaurant Zuma, which also has a number of branches in cities around the world, recently opened a branch in the fashionable İstinye Park mall. Through Zuma, the acclaimed chef Rainer Becker brings relaxed and informal Japanese dining to Istanbul and the restaurant is welcoming, stylish and authentic, without being bound by tradition. The sushi and sashimi platters are impressive and we also recommend trying one of the indulgent desserts.
Zuma, İstinye Park AVM, İstinye, +90 (0)212 236 2296
Considered by many as the best sushi bar in Istanbul, Sushimoto is known for its creative dishes and its commitment to fresh and seasonal ingredients. Dishes change frequently, with the sushi menu embracing the catch of the day. Stop by for lunch or dinner, or even to grab a box to take away, and choose from an excellent selection of beautifully presented sushi and sashimi. For a more hearty meal, we recommend the warming bowls of udon noodles with perfectly cooked shrimps or duck.
Sushimoto, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Mahallesi, Bilgi Sokak 26, Sarıyer, +90 (0)212 277 9696