Drinking with a View in Istanbul
It may be the ex-ex-pat in me (can you be an ex-ex-pat?), but I get excited when I hear about Asian restaurants in Istanbul. I was so hungry for some variety (not to mention ginger, soy sauce and chili oil) back then that I wish Banyan, an upscale Thai fusion restaurant in the Ortakoy neighborhood had been around. This is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Istanbul. The Ortakoy mosque, less dramatic in size and age than many of Istanbul’s famous mosques, makes up for drama with the cracks and curves of its ornate windows and arches, and with its location — it sits on the bosphorus and the bridge between Europe and Asia stands tall in the background, close enough to watch the cars pass from one continet to the next, far enough to escape their noise. Around it is a small plaza filled with cute restaurants and cafes, and on Sunday an Artist’s Market fills the neighborhood’s small alleyways. Banyan has one of the most spectacular views in the neighborhood, overlooking the water, the plaza and the mosque, and not to mention a sleek bar.