Mikla Restaurant is consider by many as Istanbul’s top restaurant and it has landed on the controversial San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.
Mikla Restaurant is probably one of the few Turkish, if not only, restaurants awarded a place on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list in consecutive years. We’re still waiting for the Michelin Guide to expand its reach. Chef Mehmet Gürs is the mastermind behind of the new contemporary Turkish culinary revolution in a city stuck between holding old Muslim traditions and adopting new Western cultures. It’s a delicate balance seen in Chef Mehmet Gürs’ cuisine as he tries to respect the old traditional and noble Turkish products while he uses modern-day cooking techniques.
After a harassing TSA check at Ben Gurion International, I boarded my non-stop flight to Istanbul from Tel Aviv for an extended two day layover in the city known as the Gateway to the East — Istanbul. I couldn’t help my excitement and the flight couldn’t seem longer because Istanbul was the last city of my Middle East tour. My dream trip finally came to fruition and coming to an end after years of romancing and watching Middle East documentaries. Istanbul with its rich culture and history only to be match by its Turkish hospitality.
After a few hours of sightseeing in Fatih, I arrived at Mikla Restaurant and, as requested, they seated me at a window table. The restaurant was virtually empty on a Monday night with only a handful of tables taken and a few patrons at the bar. The contemporary restaurant’s premeditated grey, white, and black color usage provided an upscale dining atmosphere with a view of Istanbul at every window. Mikla Restaurant wood floor provided warmth and its spotless white table cloths brought an aura of class. The bar terrace had a panoramic view of Fatih and the Blue Mosque. It’s a beautiful view of a city that’s battling political turmoil.
The service was signature Turkish hospitality. It’s only second to the Japanese. The waiters spoke perfect English while they explained the details of the dish in a concise manner. My drinks were barely empty and the dish progression moved along with the perfect time intervals. There wasn’t a lukewarm dish presented in front of me.
Now, the cuisine. Mikla Restaurant provides an à la carte or a tasting menu option. I went with the tasting menu because I wanted to see if Turkish cuisine matched its hospitality. Here were the memorable dishes from the eleven course tasting menu:
- Dried Tenderloin – The tenderloin seasoned with harrdafiye — Trakya drink. It was accompanied by Maikara Green Lentil and Eggplant. The dish had a very earthy flavor to it brought out by the Lentil and Eggplant. The dish had a very colorful presentation to showcase its ingredients from the different regions of Turkey.
- Monkfish – The seafood dish laid in a broth showered with “Karni Kirmizi” bean, clam, and camel sucuk. It arrived with a side of Herb Cornbread. The flaky yet comforting cornbread offset the tangy flavors of the broth and the monkfish’s light textures. The camel sucuk gave the dish a salty flavor.
- Braised Lamb – Lamb is very probably protein in the Muslim world and pork is non-existent. The braised lamb land next to wild cabbage, giresun walnut, salted yoghurt, potato, Bergama Tulum cheese, cumin, and plum pestil. The last savory course was an oasis of different textures and flavors. The lamb was tender with a meaty flavor; the soft potato brought ease to the cabbage as it laid next to the salted yoghurt.
When I finished my meal, I decided to take a break and enjoy the view from the bar’s terrace. The wind caught me off guard like the vibrant lights of Istanbul. Mikla Restaurant bright and colorful dishes matched its host city’s skyline. There was a lot to uncover and appreciate. However, Mikla Restuarant didn’t provide me with the same excitement as walking the narrow lane ways of Istanbul.
Check out our other Istanbul articles here.Mikla Restaurant Istanbul
- Service - 8/108/10
- Presentation - 6/106/10
- Flavors - 6.5/106.5/10
- Decor - 7/107/10
- Ambiance - 8/108/10
Mikla is consider by many as Istanbul’s top restaurant and it has landed on the controversial San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. Mikla’s bright and colorful dishes matched its host city’s skyline. There was a lot to uncover and appreciate. However, Mikla didn’t provide me with the same excitement as walking the narrow lane ways of Istanbul.