To many Turks belly dancing is seen as a kind of striptease and thus not something for decent people to attend to. That’s probably why it’s mainly served to tourists when they flock the crowded restaurants in Istanbul’s Kumkapi-district or at so called ’oriental shows’ designed to give visitors a glimpse of Anatolia’s variety of cultures. That said, almost all Turkish women know how to do the belly dance, but they generally prefer to do so with out dressing up in a glittery bikini.
Should you wish to see really good belly dancers who seem to enjoy what they do (that is not always the case in Kumkapi) you would want to get your self a table at Al Jamal in Istanbul’s Macka-district.
The food is top notch Lebanese mezze, the décor is outrageously decadent and the belly dancers are the perfect fulfilment of any visitor’s dream of the Orient. Feel free to stuff your bank notes any where in their dresses and feel free to join the dancing at any time.
With a ’drinks included set menu’ this won’t be your cheapest night out in Istanbul, but it could be one of the best.
AL JAMAL; Taşkişla Cad. No: 13; Maçka Demokrasi Parkı Ici.