If you don’t work in one of its towering urban bee hives, you might not find many reasons to get off the metro at Gayrettepe. But all those executives have to eat somewhere, so there are some surprisingly good quality restaurants, and Caretta is my favourite.
Based around a Mediterranean menu, but featuring some more Turkish items, Caretta offers salads, pasta and risottos as sections in their own right rather than one off alternatives to meat based dishes. Daily specials add to an already impressive menu, of which the seasonal grilled vegetable salad with tomato sauce is perfectly presented, and almost as perfectly grilled apart from the onion; the vegetable risotto has bite although needs a bit more salt; thel crab and shrimp spring rolls with pear and ginger compote are daringly successful; seabass wrapped in a kind of rosti and fried is a novel take on fish and chips, if only they knew it .
Carretta’s shiny, shiny star is its desserts. The crisp, ice cream filled profiteroles with plate lickingly good chocolate sauce make İnci’s even more criminal. Only after four visits, did I manage to break the enchantment of its chocolatey witchcraft for the soufflé, also excessively good
Catering to an international and, probably, very picky customer, Caretta knows that class is in the details. The three sectioned walnut, olive and sesame bread roll that appears as you are ordering is as tempting an entrée as anything on the menu. Waiters manage to be unobtrusively ever present, fortunately, as, packed during the lunchtime trade but almost empty outside of office hours, it could be a little unnerving when you’re the only diner.
Keskin Kalem Sokak, No: 47, Esentepe