Zazie, crowned Time Out Food and Drink Award’s Best New Restaurant 2008, is one of those places that, the minute the doors swish shut and you enter the intimately lit bar, transports you to Any European Cosmopolitan City.
Was it packed out on a Monday night because it had just won when I visited or did it owe its award to having already gained that level of popularity in the short months it’d been open? The rare call of the lesser spotted Cocktail Shaker and a sighting of a Mojito with actual limes, were the first signs it might be the latter.
The mainly Italian and French inspired menu posed a more challenging decision than some Istanbul restaurants of this level. A wide choice of salads with genuine originality, like orange and grapefruit segments with goat’s cheese, endive and rocket, dueled for my attention with two pages of Zazie’s speciality, thin crust Italian style pizzas, and a pasta dish that used Amaretti in the sauce.
The cream of tomato soup was so tomato-ey the smell wafted all the way across the table and tasted better than any fresh tomatoes I’ve ever had. My Auckland pizza (pesto, mushrooms, mozzarella, rosemary and garlic potatoes with sour cream and caramelized onions) was as impressive as it sounded and, once again, its arrival was heralded by a swoon making aroma. Salmon teriyaki with zucchini mash and the ginger, soy and garlic beef with rice, as the token Asian options were less interesting and, ultimately, not really necessary as Zazie’s European dishes are the real draw.
Desserts proved equally tempting but more rewarding. Two pizzas in one meal might have been a bit excessive,so a chocolate calzone pizza seemed a task to be saved for another visit. The lighter sounding apple, almond and biscuit crumble was perfectly sized to satisfy a sweet tooth and the waistline that goes with it.
Service, whilst friendly, was a little reminiscent of students on their Saturday job. Three waiters/greeters cluttering up the doorway as I arrived neither waited on me nor greeted me, leaving me standing for the first few minutes. My non drinking prompted the waiter to interrogate my friends as to why not, and he was also concerned the dessert we chose wouldn’t be large enough for us. Whether this implied we were big lard asses or skinnies that wanted fattening up, I wasn’t sure.
However, I intended to be back to find out.
Atiye Sokak Ak Apartmanı No:7/2 Teşvikiye
0212 231 6922.
Open everyday, except Sunday, from 11:00 a.m. to midnight.