Istanbul is a city full of cultural flavors where Turkey's best sushi restaurant as well as Istanbul's best kebab restaurant can be found on the same street. In this ancient city, you can find a hamburger place sitting on one corner and a fine dining restaurant on the other. In addition to delicious variations of traditional Anatolian cuisine, Istanbul also offers unique examples of world cuisines year-round. This week, we will take a closer look at the best selections from Istanbul's most valuable eateries.
Our first stop is Spago in the St. Regis Hotel in Nişantaşı. The brand Spago continues to impress everyone and this year, it is celebrating its 35th international anniversary with its renewed menu, high-quality service and creative atmosphere with unique art pieces. Last week, the creator of Spago, Wolfgang Puck, visited Istanbul in honor of the brand's 35th anniversary, coming to Turkey to celebrate the brand's birthday after visiting Los Angeles, London, Doha and Bahrain. Wolfgang Puck, who has organized the official parties of the Oscar award ceremonies for 22 years and earned two Michelin stars, is a real success story. Every recipe created by the Austrian chef is like a unique formula and the world-traveled chef is a friend of Turkey. The famous chef says that he is never afraid to visit the country regardless of the global terrorism threat, and asserts that he is especially in love with Istanbul.
This year, in honor of Spago's 35th anniversary, Puck has created a menu titled, "Journey."
The menu, which starts with his signature Amuse Bouche, also includes the hot tuna fish tartar which was famously served at the Oscar ceremonies. This unique flavor, served in sesame cones, is definitely my favorite. Next on the menu is a flavor from Italy, served with handmade Agnolotti with chestnuts. Also, the chef brings the mystical atmosphere of the Far East to the menu with his steam-cooked, Hong Kong-inspired seabass. For the grand finale, on the other hand, the dulce de leche is sure to leave an unforgettable taste on your tongue, as well as the chocolate cremeux. In line with the theme of "Journey," the dishes on the menu take you on a journey through a world of flavors. I suggest you try this menu, which will be available to Spago lovers for one year under the management of chef Cihan Kıpçak, the first chance you get. I would like to congratulate Deniz Zengin, the venue's manager, as well as St. Regis Hotel's marketing manager, Feyza Yozgat.
Another restaurant to try this week is Hudson, located in Arnavutköy. The restaurant, operated by Uğur Karabayır, is sure to make you feel like you're in Europe. With its perfect bistro atmosphere inspired by New York's Soho and its green ceramic coverings and chic chairs, the restaurant does not disappoint. The bar area, located on the entrance floor, and the tables available on the top floor are great. The thing I love most about this venue are the outdoor tables from where you can watch pedestrians walking by on the street while tasting the gourmet flavors of Hudson. Keep in mind that you could come across famous artists here, as well.
Hudson will welcome you this week with a pleasant surprise. Being that we are in mushroom season, the famous venue has prepared a mouthwatering menu full of dishes featuring mushrooms. Particularly, the soup with fresh porcini mushrooms is the first flavor that is guaranteed to catch your eye on the menu. I especially enjoyed the serving ware, as the soup is served in a retro-style bowl, giving it a nostalgic aura. On the other hand, the mushroom carpaccio and porcini salad are some of the light flavors offered on the menu. The flavor I loved most was the mushroom risotto which is dry but features lots of mushrooms. Another inspiring flavor is the tagliolini with fresh truffle. This handmade pasta is rolled fresh and also produced daily. For meat lovers, on the other hand, there is veal steak with mushrooms. You're going the love its sauce! By the way, I want to mention right now that Hudson is a restaurant which also supports the arts. It is hosting a group photograph exhibition titled, "The Moment," until Nov. 30. The theme of the exhibition which features the works of Mert Acar, Can Akgümüş, Seçkin Uysal and Bekir Kıraç is "the moment." This exhibition is a must-see. Stop by Hudson this weekend and immerse yourself in delicious flavors and art.
My last suggestion this week is the Indian Food Festival which will start on Nov. 16 at the Shangri-La Bosporus Hotel in Beşiktaş. Last year's festival was very interesting, and I participated in an activity in the pleasant atmosphere of the festival which included decorative products of Indian culture and Bollywood movie soundtracks that played in the background.
Indian dishes will be waiting at the festival, which will continue this year until Dec. 2. The special menu for the event, prepared by chef Laxmi Kant Sharma, will be served at the Ist Too restaurant located on the entrance floor of the Shangri-La Bosporus Hotel. Although I haven't tasted the festival menu yet, I have already examined the menu, which includes Indian-style ribs, burrah, cooked in a clay oven and creamy lentil dal Mmakhani, cooked meticulously overnight. These are the flavors that will first catch your attention and I am anxious to taste them. Every season, Shangri-La Bosporus organizes food festivals placing the spotlight on different cultures. I would like to congratulate Shangri-La Bosporus hotel management for adding this variety to Istanbul's gastronomy culture.
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