Atika

4 ****

The terrace of this Atika ( Şimşirci Sok. No: 6 D:1, Cihangir)  is its main selling point. Which sounds like damning with faint praise, but it’s such a feature of the place that it should be on the menu. A refurbished ex-consulate, the perfect location hiding at the back of the street facing building is a sophisticatedly opulent setting to the most gorgeous backdrop in Cihangir.

While looking at the view, scan the salads, pasta, steak and chicken dishes. Nothing will jump out as blazing new culinary trails in the Istanbul café scene; a nod to the east with a salmon sashimi starter and a vegetable noodle…..the lights on the Asian shore will steal your attention again. Who cares what you order? The head chef is Turkish champion and world number three International Chef Federation winner. Even the staff are confident enough not to feel they need to recommend one dish over another.

Bosphorus starry eyed, we tried a selection of the Zeytinyağlı (olive oil cold dishes) which were firmer and crisper than can sometimes lurk under meze counters. Homemade pasta with salmon and carrot and zucchini ribbons, cooked al dente and given bite and flavor from the vegetables was twice the size I could finish but good enough to go several mouthfuls beyond fullness. Veal fillet mignon, with basil sauce and parmesan was typically served well done with no questions asked.

The dessert menu was much shorter and, although İrmik tatlısı, an orange and semolina Turkish dessert, is their most popular dish, we went for a very caramelly crème caramel with a fresh, silky texture and an average hot chocolate cake made fresh to order with a bitter chocolate taste. At the time of writing (in 2008) a liquor license was in process so, assuming whatsisname President didn’t overturn it, you can sit on the terrace, sip wine and drink the six star view.

To read the story behind this review, go here.

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