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Istanbul

My wife and I are signed up for the RS city tour of Istanbul in oct 2011. The hotel we are staying at is the Best Western Oberlisk. Has anyone stayed at this hotel?
2nd question my wife and I are both vegeterian and is Turkey vegeterian friendly. We both eat eggs/cheese. In Italy we have a easy time eating. France is tougher especially outside of Paris.

Posted by
2876 posts

I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian too. I didn't have any trouble finding food to eat in Turkey.

Posted by
281 posts

You will love the RS city tour. I took that tour in April and stayed a couple of nights at the Obelisk due to booking late. After about 2 night I joined others on our tour at the Acra. The Obelisk, Acra and Hotel Hippodrome are sister hotels...the Hippodrome being the most inexpensive. The Obelisk and Acra are similar and well appointed, comfortable hotels. They are only a couple of blocks from the Blue Mosque and other sights. There is a nice terrace at the Obelisk if you care to have a glass of wine in the evening. I would recommend you eat dinner elsewhere as there are many other possibilities and you will have no problem finding vegatarian choices. Feel free to write me if you have any questions. This will be
a trip you will remember for a lifetime.

Posted by
990 posts

If you want to ask for vegetarian food, ask, "Etsiz yemek var mi?" (Do you have meatless food?) or "Etsiz yemek istiyorum." (I'd like meatless food.") You can emphasize this by saying "Hic et istemiyorum" (I don't want any meat at all.") Turkish cuisine has many wonderful vegetable based dishes, so you should enjoy eating there!

Posted by
2788 posts

We took RS 14 day Turkey Tour in May & June of this year. Our tour began at the Hotel BW Oberlisk. Since we always arrive a couple of days before the tour starts, we contacted the hotel via e-mail and telephone call to reserve a room before the tour began. We chose what I believe was called a "sea-view" room which was not much more than the standard room but had a nice view. When making the reservation, we told them that we we coming for the RS tour and would like to stay in the same room for our entire stay. They agreed and did not charge us any extra for the time our tour was there. I agree with another post about taking any meals outside of the hotel. Much better deals are available on a nearby street full of restaurants, all of whom spoke english.
We returned to Istanbul for 5 days after the tour and stayed at a different hotel that was mentioned in RS guide book that might have been named Hotel Sutten Hill (or something close to that and had been recommended by several people on this web site). It was about half the price of the Oberlisk and in a very good location. We got a discount by mentioning the RS guide book and asked to show it when we arrived. My wife eats vegetarian meal often and had no problem ordering them in Istanbul. What a city. I could certainly return there some day. Happy travels

Posted by
2876 posts

I agree that vegetarian food will be easy to find, and in my experience you won't have to ask in Turkish. We spent several days in Istanbul, and I don't remember a single restaurant where English wasn't spoken. And I think most of the menus had English translations.

Posted by
990 posts

The other posters are right that, as in most of Europe, Istanbul's restaurants that cater to tourists are likely to have English speaking wait staff and English menus. But also as in other parts of Europe, you might want to venture beyond those restaurants to eat where the locals eat. The 'point at what someone else is having' strategy that works well generally is a bit dicier for vegetarians in Turkey, though. Many soups, stews, pilafs, and the like that look vegetarian actually use meat stocks or small bits of meat in them. (There's actually a dessert that includes chicken!!) Since there really isn't a tradition of vegetarianism in Turkish culture, it can be useful to have a few Turkish phrases to express one's preferences to have no meat at all, not just relatively little meat, in one's food. Or, as the others suggest, eat in the places that cater to tourists and you should be fine.

Posted by
358 posts

Thank you to all for your answers to my questions. We were orginally scheduled for the village turkey tour however after taking the village italy tour, moving every 2 days was hard on my wife who has chronic regional pain syndrome in her right extremity. I then switched the tour to the week in Istanbul staying at one hotel. I am now really looking forward to visiting Istanbul next oct. In june we are going on a tour of Switzerland.
Looking at the Turkey tours website I see they offer a day tour to Ephesus and I may sign up with some tour company.

Posted by
26 posts

Our RS tour stayed there in September of 2009. I wouldn't hesitate to stay there again. Great views from the rooftop terrace.

Posted by
361 posts

Turkey and points East are very easy on vegetarians. I found a lot of great non-meat dishes in my travels to this part of the world--hummus, grape leaves stuffed with rice and tomatoes, pita breads, giant beans in a delightful tomato type sauce, roasted peppers and much more.

Posted by
26 posts

Yes, we stayed there Oct 2010 before the start of our RS tour. We liked the hotel. Nice breakfast area on top of the hotel with a view and lots of breakfast choices. You should eat well for breakfast. The room comes with a hotpot for coffee (if you require coffee) Our room had a sitting area with a couch & two chairs, small tv with a few channels. Since I am a non-vegeterian, hard for me to answer. However, lots of fresh veggies & fruit daily at almost every meal. We ate tomatos at every meal so I hope you like them.
Enjoy your tour. You two should have a great time.