Vibrant Flavours of Istanbul

As one of the world’s most captivating destinations, Istanbul has long been a hub for travellers seeking a mix of luxury, culture, and history.

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Nestled between Europe and Asia, this city boasts an eclectic fusion of traditions, architecture, and culinary delights. Offering a unique experience for even the most seasoned of travellers. The Peak discovers the Vibrant Flavours of Istanbul.

For those seeking a luxurious getaway, Istanbul is the perfect destination. The city boasts a wealth of high-end boutiques and designer stores. Making it an ideal place for fashion-forward travellers to indulge in a little retail therapy. From bespoke jewellery to luxury fashion, the city’s shopping scene is a feast for the senses.

Discover the Vibrant Flavours of Istanbul

However, beyond its shopping offerings, Istanbul’s culinary scene is another highlight of any visit. With a vibrant food culture that blends influences from both East and West. The city offers a tantalizing array of flavours and aromas. From street food to upscale dining experiences, Istanbul’s food scene is sure to impress even the most discerning of palates.

On our recent trip to Istanbul, we set our sights on a gastronomic expedition that promised to expand our palates, introduce us to novel flavours, and unlock the secrets of Turkish cuisine.

Afternoon Tea at Pera Palace Hotel


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Nestled in the heart of Istanbul, the Pera Palace Hotel offers a timeless elegance that transports guests back to the golden age of travel. Built-in 1892, this historic hotel has hosted numerous dignitaries, celebrities, and royalty throughout its history. One of the hotel’s most treasured traditions is its luxurious afternoon tea. Which has become an iconic experience for visitors to the city.

The hotel’s legendary afternoon tea takes place in the historic Kubbeli Salon, where guests are greeted by plush furnishings, sparkling chandeliers, and an atmosphere of refined luxury. The tea menu boasts a carefully curated selection of fine teas from around the world. Each brewed to perfection and served in elegant teapots with delicate cups and saucers.

Classic sandwiches with creative fillings such as cucumber and mint, smoked salmon, and cream cheese are a perfect accompaniment to the delicate pastries, including Turkish delights and traditional baklava. As you savour each bite, take in the stunning surroundings and imagine the historic figures who have sat in the same room over the decades.


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The hotel has played host to a number of notable guests throughout its history, including the world-renowned author, Agatha Christie. It was at the Pera Palace that Christie wrote one of her most famous works, “Murder on the Orient Express”. It is said that the hotel served as her inspiration for the novel, which features scenes set on the iconic train that travelled from Istanbul to Paris.

The hotel even boasts a “Agatha Christie Room”, which is a faithful recreation of the suite where the author stayed during her visits to the city. The room features an antique typewriter and other period decor that transport guests back to the early 20th century.

Kiva Restaurant, Galataport


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Located in Istanbul’s vibrant Galataport neighbourhood, the Kiva Restaurant overlooks the sea and is nestled between vibrant cafes and shops. A great place to take a break for lunch or dinner in between shopping.

The setting is romantic, and the best place to sit is at the first floor balcony overlooking breathtaking views of the Bosphorus Strait with busy boats crossing the ocean, seagulls flying over the sky, and a canvas of historical sites in the background. The view is one to behold and enjoy.


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The menu at Kiva Galataport is a celebration of Turkey’s rich culinary heritage, with a focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and traditional flavours. We started with an array of cold and hot mezze dishes. Turkish cuisine is all about sharing, and dinner or lunch can last up to 4 hours. So be prepared to indulge.

We were served an array of cold and hot mezze, Zikkim (spicy dried pepper paste), Yoghurt with cucumber and dill, charred eggplant with tahini, mashed lentils with crispy onions, and feta cheese to name a few. Not used to such a large selection for appetizers, we were full before the main course arrived. Turkish people are lavish and generous when it comes to hosting their guests for a meal. A unique traditional dish not to be missed is the butter-poached liver with caramelized onions and cumin. For the main course we had a traditional grilled beef kebab and ended with the semolina dessert served with Vanilla Ice-cream.

Matbah Restaurant: Ottoman Cuisine

Located right across Hagia Sophia, this is a great place to stop by for lunch. The restaurant’s menu is a celebration of Royal Ottoman cuisine, with a focus on traditional flavours and locally-sourced ingredients. A unique detail is that each dish in the menu has a date, which indicates the century the dish was put together.

Our recommendations include Lentil Soup with noodles (13th century), Sailor’s roll patty with honey (15th century) made with seven different types of Turkish cheese, Arefe Kibbeh (18th century) Semolina balls stuffed with beef, onions and walnuts. For the main course, two standout dishes are the Goose Kebab (1539) pulled goose meat rolled and baked with rice in phyllo pastry and Lamb Shank (1764) with spinach, cinnamon and grain black pepper.

The flavours are complex and rich, with an emphasis on bold spices and herbs that are characteristic of Ottoman cooking. The setting at Matbah Restaurant is equally impressive, with an ambience that is both elegant and intimate. The dining room is adorned with traditional Turkish decor, including intricately detailed tile work and beautiful lighting fixtures that create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Morini Restaurant  


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Located in the heart of Istanbul’s Zorlu Center, Morini Restaurant offers a luxurious dining experience. The menu at Morini is a celebration of Italian cuisine. From the classic pasta dishes to the expertly prepared meats and seafood, every dish is a feast for the senses.

Top recommended dishes to try include the veal chop Milanese, the homemade tagliatelle with truffle butter, and the seared sea bass with artichokes and lemon.

Certainly, it’s not just the food that makes Morini so exceptional. The restaurant’s chic interior, with its sophisticated lighting and plush furnishings, creates an ambiance that is both warm and inviting.

Çiya Sofrası Restaurant: Authentic Flavours of Istanbul


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Çiya Sofrası Restaurant in Istanbul is a culinary gem that offers a taste of the rich and diverse flavours of Turkish cuisine.

The menu at Çiya Sofrası is a celebration of Turkish cuisine, with dishes that highlight the complex and flavourful spices and herbs that are central to the country’s culinary traditions. Top recommended dishes to try include the lamb stew with green almonds, the vegetable stuffed mussels, and the bulgur and herb salad.

Chef Musa Dagdeviren’s passion for Turkish cuisine has earned him worldwide recognition, including a feature on the popular Netflix series, Chef’s Table. His commitment to preserving traditional cooking methods and using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients is evident in every dish served at Çiya Sofrası.

For those seeking a truly authentic dining experience in Istanbul, Çiya Sofrası Restaurant is a must-visit destination.

The Vibrant Flavours of Istanbul at Divan Brasserie Fuaye

Divan Brasserie Fuaye is a destination for food lovers seeking a luxurious and fine-dining experience.Top recommended dishes to try at Divan Brasserie Fuaye include the grilled lamb chops, the lamb shank with chickpeas, and the Turkish mezze platter. The restaurant also features an extensive wine list, offering the perfect complement to your meal.

Guests can end their evening with a show at Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM), just a short walk away from the restaurant. The AKM features a wide range of cultural performances, from opera to ballet and music.

No visit to Istanbul would be complete without taking in some of the city’s breath-taking sights. From the iconic Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia to the vibrant Grand Bazaar and buzzing Taksim Square, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. Additionally, With so much to experience, a luxury trip to Istanbul is the perfect opportunity to indulge in the best the city has to offer. 

Disclaimer: Prior to the recent earthquake that struck Istanbul, The Peak had the opportunity to visit the city and immerse ourselves in its vibrant culture and rich heritage. Our hearts are heavy with grief for the victims and their families, and we extend our deepest sympathies to all those affected by this tragic event. Our thoughts are with the people of Istanbul during this difficult time.

For more articles on dining visit The Peak Gourmet.

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