Common wisdom is that old Istanbul is lacking in truly great restaurants and you should head to Beyoglu after your visit to the Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque. Nar Lokanta, however, which is just a short walk from the 18th-century Nuruosmaniye Mosque and the Grand Bazaar, will impress even the most discriminating gourmet. Here historic Turkish and Ottoman dishes are served in a contemporary setting, complete with a vertical garden, to the city’s fashionable set. From the mezze that cover the table at the beginning of the meal, including pide (Turkish pizza) and an assortment of seasonal vegetables and salads, to the honey and nut laden treats at the end (with baklava a specialty), eating here provides an opportunity to sample the best of traditional Turkish cuisine. If you are inspired to recreate some of the classic dishes at home, stop at the restaurant’s Nar Gourmet shop before you leave. While other stores may sell olive oil for less, few can compete with Nar Gourmet when it comes to the variety and quality of their selection.
Take flight on Turkish Airlines newest route, from Miami to Istanbul, beginning this month.