With its shores on Marmara, Aegean, Black sea and Mediterranean Seas, Turkey is geographically a very fortunate country. Istanbul adds a plus to this variety with plenty of excellent fish restaurants located by the Bosphorus, offering a splendid view.
Istanbul is a gifted city when it comes to eating fish. Every season of the year you can find several kinds of delicious fish. Locals mostly prefer smaller fish like anchovy, horse mackerel and small blue fish for home cooking.
When in Istanbul, in October the fish that live in the Black Sea all summer long come back to the Marmara Sea. So they are available both in good quantity and quality. After December, the sea water gets colder, this means that the fish gain fat, and also much tastier. So, if you are in Istanbul during the winter and the sun doesn’t matter, eat fish.
Below you find an overview of fresh fish according to the months.
January — anchovy, bonito, horse mackerel, mackerel, mussel, red mullet, small blue fish, and whiting.
February — anchovy, sea bass, red mullet and bonito. Turbot starts in this month and is good until the end of May.
March – red mullet is still good, best time for grey mullet, sea bass and turbot. Blue fish and bonito lose their fat, not that tasty.
April — turbot and sea bass are the tastiest this month. Also sea bass, swordfish and red gurnard are rich in amount, meaning cheaper than other months. Red mullet and mullet are still available and good.
May — sea bass, mullet, sole and swordfish are still very good. Shrimp and lobster are available.
June — the least good month for fish variety and quality. Still you can eat goby, horse mackerel, tuna, mullet and red mullet, yet more expensive than other months.
July — horse mackerel and mackerel are good when fried. Lobster and crab are available. Sardines pilchard starts this month and good until mid-September.
August — horse mackerel, sardines, tuna, swordfish (best in August), lobster, crab. Bluefish starts slowly, so it is expensive this month.
September — bonito is best in September, red mullet, sardines, small blue fish, and swordfish.
October — bonito, mullet, red mullet, sardines, small blue fish, swordfish, sea bass.
November — whiting is the new comer and the rest is all the same as October.
December — anchovy (best in December and January), bonito, lobster, crab, mackerel, small blue fish, and whiting.