For lunch, enjoy a traditional Turkish meal at the House of Medusa. This restaurant is on Yerebatan Street at no. 19, just up the street from the Basilica Cistern. Found in an old mansion, it has a nice outdoor terrace and garden and attractive inside dining rooms.
For dinner, I recommend Rami Restaurant at Utangac Sokak No. 6, phone 0212 517 6593. A block or so from the Empress Zoe, it is located right across from the Arasta Bazaar. It is a beautifully decorated Ottoman style restaurant in an old house with amazing views of the Blue Mosque. Make sure you request a table by the window. I loved item #24 on the menu, the elbasan tara, an Ottoman style lamb dish with amazing sauce. I also enjoyed drinking Turkish red wines at every dinner! Check them out.
Having lunch at the Konyali restaurant at the Topkapi Palace (located in far right corner as you enter) is a must. It is on the Topkapi Palace grounds and has wonderful views of the Bosphorus. I bypassed the cafeteria line and instead enjoyed the table service and the better menu. Loved the combination plate of cold Turkish mezes as a meal.
For dinner, I highly recommend Balikci Sabahattin. This is a highly recommended fish restaurant located in a refurbished Ottoman townhouse. It has a wonderful atmosphere. The address is Seyit Hasan Kuyu Sok, Cankurtaranmah, phone 0212 458 1824. It is about a three block walk from the Empress Zoe.
I enjoyed dinner at Albura Kathsima, a nice restaurant two blocks from the Empress Zoe. It is on Akbiyik Caddesi where there are many fun small restaurants. Check out the 1600 year old palace in the back after dinner.
Having lunch at the second floor restaurant in the Spice Bazaar, Pandeli, is a must. At the water side entrance to the Bazaar, take the stairs to the left (right side as you exit). The restaurant is beautifully decorated with blue tiles and has great food. Try to get a window table to enjoy the water views.
I enjoyed a fun lunch at the attractive House Café where they have both indoor and outdoor dining. They have burgers if you are tired of kebabs and lamb.
Have a drink or dinner at 360 Istanbul. This is a glass penthouse restaurant on top of a 19th century apartment building with wonderful views of the city. Istiklal Caddesi 32/309, phone 0212 251 1042.