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Istanbul's top five destination restaurants

Some of Istanbul's most noteworthy restaurants are located in or alongside major museums and tourist attractions. Vanessa H. Larson breaks down the top five destination dining venues

City Guide
Vanessa H. Larson,

Istanbul Modern Restaurant
The Istanbul Modern Restaurant offers both international and local dishes, from excellent pizzas and pastas to grilled lamb and traditional-style Turkish meatballs. The varied starters are ideal for a quick bite, as are desserts such as the famous almond soufflé. With its long, sleek bar and popular waterfront seating area, the venue has a stylish vibe befitting its location in the city’s top contemporary art museum.

Istanbul Modern Restaurant, Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi, Antrepo 4, Karaköy, +90 (0)212 292 2612

Situated in the verdant grounds of the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Müzedechanga has a chic, contemporary interior and an inviting terrace with sublime Bosphorus views. The menu, inspired by Mediterranean and fusion cuisine, is among the city’s most innovative. Small plates like halloumi cheese in vine leaves or grilled octopus with capers can be enjoyed at any time of day, while the sophisticated wine list encourages lingering.

Müzedechanga, Sakıp Sabancı Caddesi 42, Emirgan, +90 (0)212 323 0901

Karakol Restaurant
Housed in a former guardhouse in the publicly accessible outer courtyard of Topkapı Palace, Karakol has an elegant interior and outdoor seating in its front garden. Classics of Turkish and Ottoman cuisine are given an upscale, modern twist, in dishes such as shish kebab of duck breast or roast rack of lamb with morel mushroom sauce. Graceful service and presentation evoke a suitably palatial atmosphere.

Karakol Restaurant, Topkapı Sarayı, Sultanahmet, +90 (0)212 514 9494

With a menu comprising uniquely prepared Mediterranean and Turkish specialties, Ca’d’Oro is one of the biggest draws at SALT Galata, Istanbul’s newest museum and cultural centre. Pumpkin risotto, sea bass cooked in salt and quince tarte tatin are among the more uncommon dishes offered. The two-level venue encompasses a chic restaurant with panoramic views of the Golden Horn and a more casual cafe area below.

Ca’d’Oro, Bankalar Caddesi 11, Karaköy, +90 (0)212 243 8292

Asitane Restaurant
Just steps from the Kariye Museum, Asitane is one of the best places in Istanbul to sample authentic Ottoman palace cuisine. Centuries-old dishes including almond soup, stuffed grape leaves with sour cherries, and stewed chicken with dried fruits and nuts, have been carefully recreated to please the modern palate. The leafy courtyard and white-tablecloth setting provide a pleasant break from a busy day of sightseeing.

Asitane Restaurant, Kariye Camii Sokak 6, Edirnekapı, +90 (0)212 635 7997



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