Miss. Delicious #74 : The 360Istanbul dining experience!
Dear Steemit friends:
Despite being the historical and cultural centre of Turkey, Istanbul has a very diverse cityscape. Originally known as Constantinople, it is a city which serves as the bridge between the European and Asian continents, consequently the culture includes many aspects of European and Asian elements.
One example of it's diversity is it's popular food establishments. In our last Miss. Delicious post, we visited a traditional Turkish restaurant which has stayed true to it's cultural heritage, Gulhane Sark delighted us with it's unique Turkish Pottery kebabs, fresh Turkish Mezze starters and delicious Baklava desserts.
They say, if New York is a city that never sleeps, then Istanbul is a city that is always eating.
Today, we'll be venturing into the Beyoglu district and visiting a restaurant that has been making a strong name for itself since it first opened in 2005. Located a little more than half way along the infamous İstiklal Avenue, 360Istanbul takes traditional Turkish Mezze, and combines the tastes of Turkey with an international palette.
The İstiklal Avenue is one of the most famous streets in Istanbul. It is visited by up to 3 million people each day and remains busy till the early hours of the morning. Here you can expect to find restaurants, cafes, clubs, and many other shops. It even has theatres and cinemas. Most of the buildings here are from the late Ottoman era, and are designed in classical, gothic, and renaissance styles.
Just outside the ground level of the restaurant building, there is a wall dedicated to some very tasteful graffiti. Rihanna seems to be very popular here as this is not the first time I've seen her portrait graffiti'ed on the wall in Istanbul.
Her popularity was helped by her role in the movie "Valerian" which I had the pleasure of watching whilst in Istanbul!
360Istanbul is set in a 19th century apartment building. Offering full 360 degree panoramic views of the city, it's penthouse has been redesigned to be a very modern and chic place to not only eat, but also drink and even party. On the weekends, the restaurant has DJ's, singers, and even dancers performing in the bar and dance area.
From the ground entrance, it is almost impossible to know that the restaurant is located but take the lift up to the 6th floor, and you arrive at a new landing area which is guarded by an airport like security scan gate and beyond that, a dark but ambient staircase reminding me very much of the red light district. For a moment, I thought I was about to enter into a naughty club and be welcomed by some scantily clad girls.
Because the staircase winds to the right as you walk up, you don't get to see what the restaurant is really like until you reach the very top. All the way, I was feeling like I might have walked into the wrong establishment and was ready to turn around if it didn't look like a restaurant by the time I reach the top.
And.. Voila! After a little bit of hesitation, I landed on the dining level with a pleasant smile. I didn't go to the wrong place and was pleasantly surprised to find what looked like a modern and chic restaurant with some beautiful lighting fixtures and interesting choices of plant decoration.
The entire bar area seemed to be quite empty, but with the amount of space it has allocated to this area, I imagine it is usually a lot more full on the weekends when people come to enjoy the music and performances.
In the distance, you can see the outside dining area where most of the guests are currently sitting.
The choice of decor almost serves like works of art, the chandelier if it can even be called that, is like an armadillo with hard armoured scales. In every angle, you can see real bansai tree's that have been carefully trimmed to keep them petite and yet beautiful in form.
Even though there was no need to wait, I really liked the decorations and atmosphere of the waiting area, so I sat down to have a picture taken!
In the background, you can already see the vast city transitioning from evening to night time as the lights in the buildings all started to turn on.
This is one of the DJ areas which is like a dig out in the wall.
Apparently the owner of the restaurant likes bonsai trees and that is why they are placed absolutely everywhere. Anyone who has a bonsai tree of their own will know that they must be looked after very well. Regular trimmings as well as good amounts of nutrients are required to keep these trees alive and always growing vibrant tiny green leaves.
The main DJ table has a projected video behind it on the wall. It add's to the young buzzing culture here which I imagine shows a completely different character at the weekend.
Next up, let's take a look at the night time city skyline. By the time I was seated, the night was in full swing and the sky was pretty much all black. The only light source came from the lights of the buildings around us. In the distance, you can see the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque which are both illuminated very well, even with few kilometres of distance separating them from us.
Up close, you can see the Church of St. Antoine, the largest Roman Catholic Church in Istanbul.
The restaurant is called 360Istanbul because the rooftop penthouse allows you to walk fully around it and see Istanbul from angles all around the top. However, only the "front" section offering views of the mosques and churches are used as dining areas. Everywhere else is used as a casual outside lounge area for enjoying the view over some drinks.
Istanbul has skyscrapers too which you can see in the distance. It's a classic example of a historical city which has a mix of ancient buildings intertwined with the new. In the bottom right corner, you can see part of the İstiklal Avenue which remains well illuminated. Even at this time, the street is full of people.
The night time sky is perfectly clear, in-fact, this was the case for almost all the nights I spent in Turkey. This made the moon stand out in the night sky. It wasn't a full moon but it was certainly shining very brightly, helping to add to the city's night skyline.
The restaurant has a very complete menu with a large number of wines to choose from.
It was also interesting to see the restaurant offering a complete Sushi menu.
There are many Mezze's to choose from, in-fact they are divided by hot and cold on the menu.
All around the edge of the rooftop is a protective glass "wall" and these tall thin triangular pyramid spikes.
Time to eat!
A strawberry virgin cocktail to start things off.
Instead of giving us many different kinds of bread to choose from, they made this one piece of bread with four different kinds of flavours.
It's always tempting to eat a lot of the complimentary bread so I believe the restaurant has given us little bitesize chunks of each to make sure we don't get too full before the rest of the food arrives.
In China, we like to begin the meal with a soup.
First, we have the Zen Beef Noodle Soup which was surprisingly not very beefy in flavour at all. It actually tasted more like a vegetable soup. The string beef added an extra bit of substance but didn't overwhelm the soup base which was tasted primarily of vegetables.
This is the Asparagus & Spinach mezze which is actually a cold dish. It's served with cheese and mushrooms. Definitely tasted like it was created for someone very health conscious. Quite plain in taste but rich in fibre.
Shellfish Ramen soup. This was actually a complete contrast to the other soup because the meats which consisted of prawn, squid and salmon were very strongly featured in the taste of the soup base. Unlike the Thai style coconut milk soup bases, the Turkish style only had a slight hint of coconut taste.
This is the Prawn Ceviche Salad which is served with a mix of avocado, lime and purslane. I almost couldn't taste the prawns because of how rich the taste of avocado and lime were. But, without the prawns to balance out the strong zesty taste of the green vegetables and lime, it would be difficult to eat it alone.
This is the Iskender Stylized Beef Fillet Escalopes. Firstly, I must say this dish has a very interesting presentation, I almost thought it was a work of art when it was served. The pepper was not the spicy kind, and I appreciated the light tempura batter. As for the beef, the fillet slices were very thin making it very accessible for people without strong teeth or week jaws that usually wouldn't be able to have the beef steaks.
This is perhaps one of the most interesting dishes I have ever come across featuring Prawns. It's called Potato Wrapped Prawn and as the name would suggest, has grilled prawns wrapped with very thin potato strips and then served on a bed of couscous, sour plum, pine nuts and bell pepper.
I've never eaten Prawns with Potato before because it doesn't seem like an obvious combination that would work. However, this dish made me question that because I found them to be perfectly complimentary of each other, where before I would be focusing on the freshness of the prawns alone, the fried potato allowed me to forget about that, and focus more of the taste of them together. It was like eating prawn tempura except with the batter tasting more like fries!
The dessert was a lovely mixture of Tiramisu, Caramel cake, and a warm berry sauce with Chocolate cake.
Out of the three, I liked the chocolate the most. The picture made it look like a burger, but I assure you it was most definitely chocolate!
After dinner, I thought i'd go take some more pictures of the restaurant.
This is the very large bar which becomes the focal point of business during the weekend.
The toilets are very clean and I love the little lights on and above the mirror.
Below, are the various awards given to this restaurant for being distinguished in the very crowded list of top restaurants in Istanbul.
Many people would assume that the 360 panoramic views are the main draw of the restaurant, but from the awards, you can see it has quite the reputation for it's food.
I certainly think this restaurant deserves top marks for it's food because they're presented extremely well, and are very well balanced.
Those looking for a mixture of cuisines will be spoilt for choice, and that is something I like very much.
Finally, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the restaurant owner completely by accident.
Sashah kindly greeted me as I was on my way out, and was curious to know how I found the restaurant. Of course, I was extremely happy to report it was a delectable experience and one that I would be recommending to all my friends and followers.
Hearing this, Sashah was very happy and told me that he was actually one of the owners of the restaurant.
We talked for a while about how he got into the restaurant business, and even his early roots being born in London and growing up in Kensington.
It was so lovely to meet him because you could tell that he has put a lot of effort into making this restaurant a wonderful place to dine at and also a fun place to congregate and enjoy a beautiful view of the city over a drink!
I told him about Steemit and said that I would send him a link to my review of his restaurant when I post it.
I hope he finds it in good faith and enjoys the review!
And that concludes the Miss. Delicious visit to the 360Istanbul restaurant in Istanbul.
According to their website, they pride themselves for their Cuisine, Entertainment, Vibe and Ambience - truly a winning combination for connoisseurs and travellers alike.
I hope you enjoyed my post. If you did, please don't hesitate and upvote it, follow if you haven't already, and leave a comment to let me know what you think!