In the early 1990s, a Greek family refurbished a charming Ottoman home and opened Albura on the cobbled streets of Akbıyık Caddesi. The quality of the cuisine had locals and travelers flocking, making Albura one of the most popular restaurants in Sultanahmet. In 2009, Kathisma, a streetside terrace restaurant next-door, was added.
Today, the Greek family has sold up, but new owners Abuzer and Alp guarantee guests attentive service accompanied by a generous menu overflowing with succulent regional cuisine and tried-and-tested Ottoman favorites. Try the Chef’s specials, the jumbo shrimp in the wok, or the walnut kuzu (lamb with walnuts). For dessert, the traditional Turkish pudding is recommended.
You can choose to dine inside the cozy Ottoman abode or in the elegant streetside terrace, open-air in summer and enclosed in winter. When the belly is full and the plates are cleared, wander to the back of the terrace and find the entrance to one of Istanbul’s best-kept secrets—the well-preserved Byzantine ruins of Magnaura Palace. Take your time to explore this 4th-century basilica-like structure that inspired the design of the Kremlin Palace and San Marco Basilica in Venice.
Back in its heyday, the Palace was decorated in gold and silver, providing a grand setting for Byzantine emperors to welcome dignitaries to Constantinople. Today, it's yours to freely explore and marvel at Istanbul's past.