Thursday, October 7, 2010

Istanbul Restaurant Recommendation

Monday we thought we'd finish off Istanbul by seeing the Mosque of Suleiman the Great and the Rustem Pasa Mosque. (We'll save the whirling dervishes for next time; or maybe the time after that). We knew that the Suleiman Mosque was closed for renovation in 2010, but due to re-open for Ramadan (last month). We decided to take our chances--really, everything in this town is worth looking at--rode the wobbly train from Cankurturan to Eminonu again and then walked, through ever more interesting markets and shop districts (including another stop at the Spice Market for those honey-soaked doughnut-holes and more coffee), up to the Suleiman. Indeed, it was still closed, and even the mausoleums were closed on Monday (despite what the guide book said). But we found and had our best restaurant experience yet in Turkey, at a place called...
Well, it's called Daruzziyafe...

Once the mosque's soup kitchen, it's a pretty neat
restaurant/cultural center now, approaching five centuries
later; its purpose, preserving Turkish/Ottoman culinary

In nice weather, you can eat on the courtyard

There's Vicki, on the left, under the ancient plane tree

Or in inclmement weather, inside; the place
was designed by Sinan the Architect, who
also did the mosque, and scores of other
incredible projects in the mid-16th century 

The plane tree we sat next to; completely
hollowed-out, yet still alive

Planted in 1550; we saw many more of these, this girth,
similarly hollow, at Topkapi

Okay, the meal: we shared a yogurt/carrot/cucumber salad,
the chef's plate, which included about every kind of lamb,
chicken and beef, and dolma, and rice, and their interesting
meatballs; and the plum drink; I am no judge of such things,
but it tasted great and, to my dull wit, had the ring of

They say you should always save something for "next
time"; for me, it will be the mosque of Suleiman the Great;
I wish it had been this time 

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