The first time I tried sushi, I almost vomited. The second time, I only felt huge dislike. Don't ask me why, but I just felt that I had to keep going and for some reason like the dish. I'm a stubborn person and in the end, sushi became one of my favorite foods. Unfortunately, good sushi in Istanbul is expensive. That's why I am super happy to have been introduced to Ioki restaurant.
Ioki has two branches, one in Istinye and the other in Kandilli. As I've tried both, I can tell you the taste is the same. They do however differ in terms of size, with the one in Kandilli being slightly bigger and in my opinion more chic. However, if you want coctails, it's only available in the Istinye branch.
The sushis are made by famous chef Japanese chef Keizo Oki, hence the name of the restaurant, Ioki.
|Ioki Kandilli Özel Bölüm|
|Ioki Istinye Özel Bölüm|
When my parents went, they ate in the "special room". It can be reserved if you're a large group of people and you get to sit on the floor. Well, you're not actually sitting on the floor, as there is a "hole" to put your feet, but it looks like you are.
As for the food, the options are many. Sushi, sashimi, tempura, noodle, salad, teppanyaki; all that comes to mind is available. Let's start with the sashimi. The salmon sashimi (18TL), like everything else that arrives at the table that night, is extremely fresh. I know I use the phrase often, but the sashimi literally melts in your mouth.
I strongly vote against ordering the Mori tempura (30TL) but when it arrives, I am the one to eat most out of the plate. The shrimp is lovely, and the fried veggies even better.
Aside from the disgusting greens on the side, unless they are there for decoration, the Wakame salad (14TL) is surprisingly tasty. I'm normally not a fan of seaweed, but with the ponzu sauce (a Japanese sauce made with citrus juice and soy sauce) and the sesame seed, it turns into something totally different.
I've always found the maki rolls a bit boring so when I order, it is always from the list of inside out rolls. The spicy tuna (19TL), is a clear winner. The grilled pepper spice on the outside adds even more flavor.
The Volcano roll (28TL) is a mix of just everything and hence doesn't sound promising at all. It contains crab, shrimp, octopus, scallops, masago, and avocado. Surprisingly, we all love it. The inside out roll with the parsley spread on the outside is, as you can probably guess, a veggie roll (12TL). It's mostly favored by the ladies.
It's the first time I get to try a roll wrapped in potatoes (Tornado roll: 24TL). I don't even think I've seen it before. I'm a fan. It's served warm and the potatoes are slightly crusty.
Beef teppanyaki (38TL) is the only dish we don't like. For some reason it is too chewy. Maybe that's how it is supposed to be?
The sake choices are not many but the quality is so much better than at many other places in Istanbul that serve sake.
I'm a huge fan of fried banana (10TL) and I'm so happy to admit that this one is just perfectly made. You can't find any better in Istanbul.
If you're a sushi fanatic like us, you'll come to love Ioki.