A Different Kind of Cultural Memory

Despina

Deciding to go out to get some air and grab something to eat at the last minute turned into an experience that took us back in time. Istanbul always had a tradition of Greek ladies who ran meyhane’s (tavern) especially in and near Pera. Tonight we went to a restaurant that is (almost) in our backyard, in Ferikoy, that seems to be a place everyone in Istanbul knew about When we set out all we knew was that it was the best meyhane and it was ran by a Greek woman. Despina Restaurant is the epitome of off-the-beaten-path, located on a dark street in an old decrepit neighborhood, with an excellent staff, good food and …(it turns out) live music.

Everyone singing along to the group of musicians

Everyone singing along to the group of musicians

In typical meyhane style we ordered a couple of little plates of meze and a tek (one shot of) raki. Just as we started our meal, a group of musicians came and started to play at the big table behind us. The familiar songs that we all sang along to, the raki with feta cheese and melon, and especially the local clientele all contributed to a very special evening that can only be experienced in Istanbul.

To get an idea of the kind of music we listened to you can check out this youtube video – http://youtu.be/ydGGaln9h14

Despina Restaurant
Feriköy Mh. Açık Yol Sokak 9 Şişli, Turkey‎
+90 212 247 3357
(Around 60-70 TL per person)

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