Hamdi is renowned for their kebabs. The restaurant has been around since the 70’s although not always at its current location. It’s well situated, next to both the Spice Market and the Grand Bizarre. On a day when you plan to tackle both markets, Hamdi is the ideal place to have lunch. We were seated on the fifth floor by the window, overlooking the Golden Horn, the fresh water river that divides Old Istanbul from the modern part of the city. As with every meal, the cold meze were delicious — the grilled eggplant was a standout at Hamdi. The Turkish pizza also seemed to be very popular, so we each indulged in a small order before proceeding on to the kebabs. The day before, we called to order the testi kebabi— small cubes of lamb meat, peeled tomatoes, small onions, garlic and green pepper fill an earthware jug that is then sealed with dough and cooked for two and a half hours. Once ready, the jug is then presented at the table and cracked open in front of you, letting the juices and aroma ooze out as it’s being served. It was such a delight! Since there were only four of us, and more than enough testi kebabi, the waiters served the remainder to our neighbors at the next table. They graciously responded by urging us to taste the pistachio kebab ( fistikli kebap) they had ordered. The pistachio kebab is not to be missed! Even if you do order the testi kebabi(which you must order in advance since it takes so long to prepare) don’t forget the pistachio kebab! It’s made of minced lamb meat mixed with crushed pistachios and I swear it is a gift from the heavens!