Karaköy Lokantası is the best known meyhane in the area. It is the prime location for well-off locals to take their tourist friends. Consistent in high quality mezes and distinguished service, this place is very palatable as an experience for Westerners. One caveat here is its popularity -gotta book in advance even on weekdays. It is less a meyhane, and more a sterile, perfected representation thereof.
What to order: Karaköy Lokantası hosts an array of well-made mezzes. Perhaps because of the brilliance of the tiles, I always feel the food here tastes “clean”. The mezzes are classic recipes, well-sourced and executed. There is a menu but ideally you can visit the display fridge and choose to your own taste. While some mezzes change seasonally, I would recommend the broad beans salad and the calf brains. The brains are the perfect accompaniment to the grilled bread, perhaps with the addition of some salt or extra lemon juice. Not something you find easily.