Italy's summer cities, architecture and extraordinary dishes are admired around the world. The combination of the Mediterranean's leisurely climate, historical cities and wonderful dishes has inspired a passionate following of Italian cuisine. Luckily, there are many wonderful venues where you can find Italian cuisine in Istanbul. Located in choice spots around the city, tiny inlets of Italian culture are just waiting to be discovered. Here are some suggestions:
World Italian Cuisine Week, organized by the Italian Consulate General and the Italian Commercial Center, is one event that showcases this delicious cuisine. The Italian Consulate General in Istanbul has organized a three-day professional culinary course in collaboration with the International Italian Culinary School of the Istanbul Culinary Arts Academy. This course, dedicated to the Italian diet's health and nutritional benefits, will be given by world-renowned chef Giovanni Ciresa.
Parallel to the three-day course, the Italian Cultural Center has also scheduled two book presentations. Additional events also include a screening of Ermanno Olmi's documentary "Wine Cliffs," about Valtellina's vineyards, and a concert by the Nino Rota Ensemble. Five conferences and five workshops will be held in the Italian High School.
Likewise, Eataly Istanbul is celebrating Italian Cuisine Week with a special menu. The special menu will feature and promote Italian-based products. In this respect, a workshop on the Mediterranean diet will offer the opportunity to meet producers who are working very hard to protect the products' unique origins. Eataly is an excellent place for you to find the ingredients needed to create Italian cuisine at home and offers one of the most diverse selections of Italian pastas, sauces and fresh Italian cheeses in Istanbul.
While we are on the subject of Italian food, we must also mention Serafina, one of the best representatives of Mediterranean culture in Istanbul with its two branches in Akmerkez Shopping Mall in Etiler and in Vadi Istanbul Shopping Mall in Ayazağa. Both locations have a chic atmosphere full of Italian warmth. The bright blue and yellow colors combined with cool white tablecloths scream quality. Both locations have brick ovens, so be sure to order one of their specialty pizzas, which are expertly prepared right in front of you.
The Serafina in Vadi Istanbul Shopping Mall is my favorite. It is quite different with its high ceilings, large bare section, colorful walls with porter drawings and its stage. The ivy on the ceilings and walls, stage decorations and brown tones are very attractive. Chef Dilaver Göktaş's dishes are quite inspired. I recommend the lobster spaghetti with mango sauce. For pizza, the truffle mushroom is quite delicious, with a generous serving and thin crunchy crust.
To start, Crostini di Sofia, melted buffalo mozzarella on crispy bread, would be an excellent choice. For fish lovers, the sea bass sauteed with white wine is excellent. If you love desserts, you must try the homemade tiramisu. It is just like what you find in Italy. If you like light desserts, the pumpkin with caramel and walnuts would be perfect for you. I highly recommend a visit to Serafina the next time you are craving high quality Italian cuisine.
My last suggestion, Spring Street Pizza, is where Italian flavors meet American culture. The place, named after the famous Spring Street in New York City, is in the Water Garden Mall in Ataşehir. I liked its decor, especially the graffiti of famous NYC landmarks on the walls. You can enjoy Italian flavors while watching the wonderful water dance. What really sets Spring Street apart is its sweet pizzas. Sweet pizzas, topped with choices like chocolate, peanuts, jam and tahini, are all part of the unique experience. The next time you find yourself on the Asian side be sure to give Spring Street Pizza a try.