Since the food at the Grand Hyatt Istanbul was subpar, we decided to venture out for breakfast at Namli Gurme on our last morning. A family friend who lived in the city recommended it. She proclaimed it to be the best place for a traditional Turkish breakfast. Situated in Karakoy, Namli was mostly frequented by locals and everything was fresh and delicious. While I personally wanted to try out Kale (where Bourdain goes, I will follow), I was curious about the rave review she gave Namli.
Namli Gurme Location
Namli is just a 10-minute drive from the Grand Hyatt Istanbul. It’s situated in a quaint little neighborhood on the Bosphorus.
The restaurant has an outdoor seating area, with a partial view of the water. Since it was a chilly day, we asked to be seated inside.
Namli Gorme Restaurant
The restaurant has an interesting set-up. It’s basically a grocery store with a seating area right in the middle. When you walk in, there is a dairy section to the left, a drink counter to the right, and a deli in the back. In between are long tables where patrons sit after placing their orders at the deli station. Drinks can be ordered from the wait staff.
Namli Gorme Breakfast
The breakfast at Namli wasn’t just delicious, it was super cheap. Each of us ordered some variation of shakshuka, which cost just $2.50 per person. After we sat down, our table was flooded with other items we didn’t order but that I guess were included.
They brought out two large plates filled with cheese, olives, and deli meat. Next came two mountains of bread. The best part was the qaimagh (clotted cream), served in a puddle of honey. Yeah, that tasted as good (and fattening) as it sounds.
The food was fresh and the lattes would easily put Starbucks out of business. Everyone enjoyed their breakfast, though unfortunately, we ended up with a lot of leftovers.
The total for a breakfast for eight at Namli? 180 TL or about $27. I sh** you not, for the cost of coffee, eight of us ate like kings and ended up with leftovers.
Namli Gorme Service
The wait staff at Namli was great all around. Though they didn’t speak a word of English, we were able to communicate with them. Mostly via mispronounced words and Google Translate. They were very friendly and especially kind to the kids.
My experience here, among others throughout the city, made me realize how differently people react to kids in Turkey vs. the U.S. Kids are pretty much despised here – I feel like everyone rolls their eyes when families board a plane or sit down at a restaurant. And when you do see customer service providers interacting with kids, it’s in a very disingenuous, rehearsed kind of way. Most people here don’t seem to like kids or want to be around them. Turkey definitely seemed like a much more child-friendly place.
Final Thoughts on Namli Gurme
I was really glad we picked Namli Gurme over having breakfast at the hotel. In fact, after this, I wondered whether free hotel breakfast was a blessing or a curse. We think of breakfast as “just eggs and toast,” so who cares where we have it? This trip made me reconsider that idea.
Overall, the breakfast at Namli Gurme was as promised: Fresh and delicious. The setting was very unique and the service notches above the Grand Hyatt. The fact that it cost less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks was just icing on the cake. If you’re in Istanbul, you really should try to venture outside your hotel at least once for a traditional breakfast. Namli Gurme is a great choice for that.
Do you have any great places to recommend for breakfast in Istanbul? Please share in the comment section.