Although in the heart of the hustle and bustle of İstiklal Caddesi, Eleos restaurant is hidden up a few flights of musty stairs in a historical building close to the Tünel end of the street. Following the stairs into a dark hallway, a sign will direct you towards the right, and you step into a nautical-themed oasis with a beautiful view of the Bosphorus. Eleos (which roughly translates as compassion or mercy) is a Greek establishment, apparent thanks to the traditional tunes wafting through the room, the white-blue color scheme, and a few unusual dishes.
The menu focuses on seafood, featuring both familiar and unusual meze options, ara sıcaklar (warm appetizers), and main courses, as well as decadent desserts. The çoban salata is highly recommended for its juicy and flavorful tomatoes, tiny green tart peppers, and thinly sliced red onions with a sweet pleasant tang. From the ara sıcaklar, we recommend the ıstakoz kavurma, an exquisite concoction of lobster, crab, and cream that will melt in your mouth, and the big rings of calamari, fried to succulent perfection. A main course choice from the selection of fresh seasonal fish depends on the time of year but if the tekir — a small, lightly fried striped red mullet waiting to be stripped from the bone and copiously drenched by accompanying lemon wedges — is on the list, it is a must try.
The attentive waiters, in starched blue shirts and shiny black pants, will tempt you with dessert so be sure to save some space as the chocolate soufflé alongside heaped platters of fresh fruit, or irmik helvası (a semolina dessert sprinkled with cinnamon) are difficult to resist at the end of a sumptuous seafood meal. With live music on selected nights, ice-cooled rakı, and some good friends, Eleos is a a great choice for groups that want to enjoy a night out together with delicious food, a cheerful atmosphere, and a beautiful Bosphorus view in a laid-back, yet luxurious setting.