Chef Arzu Gurdamar runs her kitchen like she runs her life—with whimsy, flair, and a dollop of determination. She is a thoroughly modern Istanbullu, a woman who goes her own way—and rides a Harley Davidson in her (virtually non-existent) spare time.
More to the point, Arzu runs a small restaurant a few minutes off the crowded and touristy Istiklal Caddesi, a little oasis of fun and freshness. After spending days in Istanbul sampling the delicious foods the city had to offer, I was ready for something a bit different: Turkish fusion. Not fusion with other national foods like Chinese or Indian, mind you, but with other regions. Turkish regional food is so diverse you can eat different dishes every day and never run across the same one twice.
Arzu's restaurant serves up Turkish food with a twist: the steak has a sweetish sauce; the dolma are smothered in tomato sauce; the hummus is warm. And so it goes. You'll recognize the food—you just might not recognized the way it's done!