I’d never had it in mind to write restaurant reviews in Istanbul so I hadn’t really paid attention to or taken photos of the restaurants I had tried here. Another reason I don’t have photos of restaurants and cafes here is that in Turkey, the food served in restaurants is almost identical so I didn’t feel it necessary to make a record of the places I visited.
After some time in Istanbul, I started yearning for different flavours and dining experiences, oh, come on, even if dolma, mezze and kofte are nice, you get tired of the same food and want something new, don’t you? As I was realizing that the chance of stumbling upon places that serve Turkish food in more interesting styles mixed with world cuisine by chance, let alone international cuisine restaurants, is almost zero, I had to search for them myself.
And during the research, I realised that such places are not cheap. Well…excited and disappointed all at once.
Anyway, now I’ve worked out my own way to indulge my culinary senses, which is to get together with people and experiment with different recipes. Which is what I’ve been doing for a few months and it seems to be going well so far.
Anyway, my first encounter with modern Turkish cuisine, besides the well-known high-end restaurant 360, was at Lokanta Maya, which I found through a thorough research. I went there with 3 others and we ordered various starters for a test because I had to take advantage of the occasion in case I won’t come back again and I was also very curious about their take on modern recipes for various ingredients.
The first impression of the place and ambience were pretty good, especially the lighting and the wall decorations with walnut shells, etc.
We started with zucchini fritters, which many reviewers rave about. Well, they were quite greasy and burnt, as you can see in the photo above. So…don’t order them. I will get to eat better ones in other places.
Salmon caviar butter.…well…Mr.O insisted ordering despite my warning, well…he didn’t like it. It wasn’t for my taste, either, to be honest. There seems to be something missing in the favour. Ok, let’s move on.
At the back is Potato pastirma croquette, which was my least favourite because of its overpowering pastirma taste.
Grilled Calamari….yeah, this was good. Very well cooked with the right balance of flavours.
Prawns…well…my friend’s a prawn obsessor so it was unavoidable. Once again, quite well cooked and nice presentation.
Spiced grilled chicken with roasted bulgur. The chicken marinade was good – reminded me of Tandoori chicken a bit because of the colour – and interesting way to serve bulgur, quite crunchy.
Grilled Palamut(Bonito) with spinach was good.
Caramelised Levrek(seabass) with swiss chard and fig was also good, though two of the fish dishes are done in pretty much the same manner. Require a bit more creativity? or even some sort of puree or sauce? Well, it’s just my preference.
We also had desserts, Chocolate Mastic Ice cream with Bergamot and Custard with cherry sauce. Not very spectacular. It tasted good, though, but I want more imagination that will make me go ‘wow!” especially when it comes to dessert.
The wine we drank was good. I can’t remember what it was. Ah, pinot noir I think. Well…I will take a better note of wines from next time.
It is a shame that we didn’t get to taste their meat dishes such as slow-cooked lamb and veal pasta. Well, still I enjoyed their tasty little entrees. However, I dare say that their mains are overpriced for the serving size.
You can find the menu and other info here, if my post made you want to try it out yourself.
Kemankeş caddesi no: 35 A
Pazartesi: 12 00- 17 00
Salı- Cumartesi: 12 00- 23