Here we go with another gourmet diaries article, featuring those places in Istanbul with a fantastic bird’s eye views of the city…
Mikla Restaurant has one of the best views of the city overlooking both the city itself and the Bosphorus from the rooftop of the Marmara Pera Hotel. In summers, the restaurant also has an open air bar that almost has a 360-degree view stretching from the tip of the Marmara Sea towards Haliç Canal. It is very pleasurable to take drinks here at the bar whether after work during weekdays or for pleasure on weekends. Mikla focuses on refined Mediterranean cuisine and thus offers selective tastes from the region. The owner / chef Mehmet Gürs is not only a very gourmet person himself, but also one of the pioneers of the Slow Food movement here in Istanbul. He is a multilingual person, born in Finland, was exposed to making bread with his family at their home in Finland. His interest and talent led him to the States in his adolescence to study culinary arts and tourism. Coming back to Turkey later, he developed quite a major success story with everything he put his mind to, including NumNum, Lokanta (of Nu Pera Club, now closed), Downtown and foremost his own brand, Mikla.
For many in the city, the closest competitor to Mikla would be 360 Restaurant along the Istiklal Street. 360 is one of the first upscale places that opened up in Beyoglu and thus led the way for Beyoğlu to become one of the most sophisticated cultural spheres in Istanbul -where the art and the artist, the writer, the musician, the bohemian and the intellect meet with the rest of the citizens, the public and the folks. Drinks at 360 are more advisable than dinner. Dinner is most often accompanied by live music concerts. The menu is composed of variations from the world cuisine.
Litera is in the proximity of 360 Restaurant -a few blocks further down the Istiklal Street. Open everyday between 11 AM and 4 AM, Litera offers samples from European cuisine -especially German and Australian. Litera is established as a lounge, bar and restaurant with a live band on weekends that classic Western music pieces and popular music. A favorable place to open a bottle of wine, order a cheese platter and enjoy the music, the view and the evening.
In summer, the best diners’ spot in Istanbul would be without doubt Sunset Restaurant in Ulus. Although not exactly a rooftop, the mountain-top garden of this restaurant has one of the best views of the city. Overlooking Bosphorus from a keen angle amidst trees and hills, Sunset definitely has the perfect view and the perfect candle light atmosphere on a summer night. As the name rightly suggests, you need to arrive here a little before sunset and sip any of their marvelous cocktails as the sun sets. Sunset has a rich menu focusing on the world cuisine. There is also a long list of wines from all around the world. Service is elegant at all times, though it may get a bit slack during overcrowded nights. The wine list in Sunset is extensive and the sommeliers are very well trained. Risotto of wild mushrooms seasoned with fresh herbs, Sunset fillet with basil mashed potato and red wine reduction, jumbo shrimp with tomato and saffron risotto, fillet with special miso and mustard sauce and last but not least the cheesecake with red berry compote are among recommended meals off the Sunset menu. Sunset also has a sushi bar for sushi lovers, and apart from its salty prices, it is one of the best sushi offers in the city.
Another fascinating rooftop with an excellent sushi bar is the Vogue Restaurant. Situated on a rooftop with open air terrace for summers, Vogue has a beautiful view of the Dolmabahçe Palace and the Beşiktaş coast. The sushi is especially good, but that does not mean that the rest of the menu is bad. The menu, which is mostly modern fusion cuisine, has everything from risotto with porcini mushrooms to sophisticated chicken and meat dishes, such as veal wrapped with bresaola and the oven-cooked veal rib. A nice “first date” place.
Topaz Restaurant in Gümüşsuyu, Istanbul, also has an expansive view of the city. Situated on one of the upper floors of a large apartment building in Gümüşsuyu, Topaz looks at the Bosphorus and the Bosphorus Bridge from a wide perspective. The restaurant offers unique samples from both Ottoman and Mediterranean fusion cuisines. Those with a good appetite for tasting meals should and must go for the food & wine pairings -of which there are two: one Mediterranean tasting menu and one Ottoman. Those wanting to go a la carte should try the artichoke cold starter. Ask for wine recommendations, sommelier services in Topaz are also very good. Prices hefty.
Image from: Wikimedia
Slightly off the class of the elegant restaurants enumerated so far in this list, is Mangerie. Mangerie is a sophisticated café, situated on the upper floor of an apartment in Bebek. Being classified as a café, does not make Mangerie’s prices lower than any of the aforementioned restaurants. Here burgers cost around 30-35 YTL, noodles and pastas around 30 YTL and deserts 10 YTL. Nevertheless, whether it’s for breakfast in the morning, lunch or a casual dinner with the loved ones on an evening, the view of Mangerie is unparalleled by others in the city. Most of the items on the menu are extremely delicious and are made fresh daily in Mangerie’s own kitchen. The Patisserie products are heavenly, especially the salty muffins with cheddar cheese and dill. Mangerie also keeps its own blog up on its website, where they present certain recipes from the kitchen and other news from around the neighborhood and the city.