Nestled in the tourism precinct of Sultanahmet, Rumeli Cafe is an ideal location for dining while people watching the nations of the world from the restaurant’s streetside terrace. Summertime sees the opening of the rooftop dining area, where guests can gaze at the stars and glimpse at the minarets of the Blue Mosque. When the weather chills in winter, the allure of the restaurant moves inside—where the gentle crackling of open fireplaces invite guests to stay a while to appreciate a glass of mulled wine paired with a rich Ottoman dish.
Set in a former Ottoman print house, the restaurant has become one of Sultanahmet’s most loved restaurants since the building’s renovation in 1994. Now it’s famous for its friendly service and intimate dining areas with dark wood floors, wrought iron fixtures, and exposed red brick walls—an atmosphere reminiscent of dining in a foregone Byzantine palace.
Personal favorites on the menu are the grilled marinated calamari, the Ottoman style Marmara A’la Rosto (roast beef with rice and vegetables), and the seafood linguini. Also on the menu are international favorites; regional specialities such as Ali Nazik (minced lamb and beef on a bed of pureed eggplant, yogurt, garlic and tomatoes); Byzantine dishes like Papaz Yahisi (stewed lamb and vegetable served with cumin and garlic in a terracotta pot); and fresh seafood including seabass, sea bream, and jumbo shrimp. Vegetarian options are also available.