Istanbul by night. A sparkling city steeped in history, a glistening jewel on the Bosphorus. By day, this great metropolis greets visitors with grand bazaars and glorious spice markets… with wide, open-air plazas and serpentine back streets. The only city in the world that straddles two continents, Istanbul is literally where East meets West.

In its famed restaurant kitchens, chefs perpetuate a culinary tradition that integrates remnants of the palace cooking from the days of the Ottoman Empire with the wisdom of home cooks, guardians of many of Turkey’s best recipes. The city’s prime spot on the spice route between Asia and Europe made Istanbul—the former Constantinople—the richest city of its day. Its architectural wealth remains breathtaking, exemplified in the minarets and soaring domes of the sacred Blue Mosque.

For the food traveler, Istanbul provides a steady stream of temptations. Street vendors tempt passersby with boreks (Buh Reks) and baklava and, for the adventurous, juicy tripe sandwiches. But in its restaurants, both modest and grand, diners can experience the breadth of Turkish cuisine, a seamless fusion of East and West.

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