Restaurants in Istanbul begin to change to their new menus as the new year approaches. Updated with flavors that suit the winter season, the menus are likely to treat your palate. This winter, homemade soups, vegetable dishes, spicy meats and the fish of the season will be waiting you at some of the most popular restaurants in Istanbul. Here are some tips.
The first venue I recommend is TOI Istanbul in Kuruceşme, managed by famous chef İsmet Saz. Thanks to its Bosporus view, round stylish tables and rich wine cellar, TOI is one of the most assertive restaurants in the city. The chef table experience as well as the food cooked right before your eyes are both delights. The venue has been designed for indulging food lovers with its renewed menu. The menu, which is prepared completely with the seasonal flavors, uses organic products in almost every dish and includes exceptional combinations like tagliatelle with seasonal mushrooms, in addition to the other eye-catching options, such as pumpkin soup and oxtails. But what I really recommend is the grilled bonito and the seared tuna, one of their more assertive dishes. I also recommend you visit the venue of İsmet Saz, one of the most internationally recognized chefs in Turkey, for his achievements in the U.S. and Canada, during the early winter months.
My next recommendation is Glens in the Nişantaşı district. Drawing the most attention for its parties on its terrace area in the summer, the venue is quite assertive with its venue menu featuring mostly Italian dishes. You should definitely have fish soup, and the ravioli served with butter and sage sauce is yet another notable dish. For a main course, their steak served with truffle-infused celery puree is quite outstanding. Also, the architecture of the venue is as interesting as its food. Though the terrace floor of Glens, located at the Nish Palace, is closed for the winter, the view is still spectacular. My favorite is the restaurant area at the ground floor of the building. High ceilings, a long bar area and modern furnishings have created a magnificent ambiance. Congrats to architect Arif Özden. By the way, the Nish Palace, where Glens is located, is a boutique hotel managed by the Hyatt hotel. A historical building adorned with pictures depicting the stories of ancient Nişantaşı, visiting the spot is like stepping back in time, with its combined classical lines and contemporary architecture. I would particularly recommend that you visit the spa of the hotel, which has 45 rooms. In fact, what better way to follow an excellent dinner at Glens then to stay at the Nish Palace by Hyatt Hotel for the night?
Another venue that changed to a new menu is Hudson in Arnavutköy. Opening its doors two years ago and acquiring its own regular clients quickly, the Hudson continues its journey of flavors with its new chef. The cuisine of the Hudson shines with the concept "Good Food, Good Music and Art" and is now consigned to chef Arda Onay. Working at the leading restaurants and hotels of the country after completing his education at Apicius, which is considered the best culinary school in Italy, Onay welcomes his guests at the Hudson with the creative and delicious menu he has prepared. We can call the new menu a journey of gastronomy stretching from Italy all the way to Arnavutköy.
The chef's signature dishes are aglio o elio spaghetti, his own specialty prepared with fish eggs; tikka masala dishes known as the most popular food of Indian cuisine; homemade special french fries and entrecote served with cheese fondue, to name a few. Besides, the breakfast menu he enriched with his own specific flavors include truffle oil, lentil sprouts, sour cherry syrup as well as some special flavors like a breakfast wrap prepared with scrambled eggs, cream cheese, beef bacon and egg bottarga served in village bread. The walls of the venue, which are covered with green tiles, the engraving work right next to the bar and its nostalgic ambiance alone make it definitely worth paying a visit. You'll feel like you are in a brasserie in New York. My congratulations to the owner of the venue, Uğur Karabayır.
If you fancy traditional zest, then you should visit Sur Balık, a nostalgic flavor awaiting you in Arnavutköy. The Bosporus view of the venue, situated in an old wooden residence, is as nice as its food. You can make a light start to dinner with the shared appetizers. Be sure to try the red mullet and mashed broad beans. Also, the fish varieties are pretty good. All fish come fresh daily. As a hot starter, I recommend shrimp casserole; covered in garlic and butter, it is absolutely fantastic. As for the main course, have a go at the swordfish, you won't regret it. Bon appetite!