"Have you eaten at Tatar Salim yet?".
I ashamedly said "No". He admonished me and told me to go right now on the way to the airport bus. I obeyed. Thus began my criss-cross journey through the streets of Kadikoy EXACTLY the same trip I had made barely 10 minutes ago without my bags and laptop, and ended up wheeling my case into Tatar Salim and ordering a doner plate.
Due to my expanded stomach from just having eaten at Ciya, I asked for a small plate and was handed a fresh, delicious salad, some pickles and a small plate of meat.
And here I was thinking I had eaten Doner before. Foolish me.
The texture, taste, spices, and quality of this meat were unparallel to my previous ventures. The service was some of the friendliest I had experienced in Turkey, period! My salad had tons of acid which cut through the fattiness of the meat. I am eternally grateful to that strange old man who basically forced me to come here.
Istanbul is a gift that keeps on giving, again and again.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"