Saturday was nice at Kalpazankaya

One of the great joys of spring and summertime in Istanbul is the chance to get away for a day to one of the Princes’ Islands, the car-free and forested archipelago that is a short ferry ride away from the city.

Getting to Kalpazankaya is easy: take the road that leads to the right when leaving the ferry terminal and continue walking along that road for about 30 minutes until it comes to an end. In front of you, sitting in splendid isolation on a hillside overlooking the blue waters of the Marmara Sea and a small pebble beach below, is the restaurant, a collection of vine-shaded terraces with rickety wooden tables and chairs.

The meze tray holds all the classics, plus a few surprises, such as a ceviche made with sea bass tossed in what seemed like a mustard vinaigrette. Kalpazankaya also serves up a wide variety of fresh fish, either grilled or fried, and different types of kebab and meats (including lamb slow roasted in a clay oven, the house specialty). Everything we tried was delicious, the flavor enhanced by the bottle of raki we finished, the tranquil view and the cool breeze blowing in from the sea.