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In today's edition of Miss. Delicious, we'll be going back to the capital of the ancient Roman/Byzantine empire, then known as Constantinople, today known as Istanbul and dining at one of the most popular restaurants of the old city.
The old city, Sultanahmet, is the main hallmark of the many historically significant landmarks in Istanbul, for instance, the Blue Mosque and the Sophia Hagia. Many of these historical gems are located in or around the Sultanahmet Square which has become a very popular tourist spot to see the two famous mosques as well as other notable places such as the Basilica Cistern and Topkapı Palace, all walking distance from the square.
Of all the places that I could have chosen to stay at in Istanbul, Sultanahmet was my top choice. Living in the old city gives you an incredible sense of immersion in the Turkish culture, whether it's walking on the pebble stones along the square laid by the Ottomans from centuries ago, or hearing the piercing echos from the ezan summons for prayers at the mosques. It is an experience that wildly differs from any other city I have visited. So unique, and yet so authentic. The perfect place to observe, learn and absorb the multi-layered culture here.
It's not uncommon to come across hotels which aside from their residence are also well known for their food. Seven Hills Hotel & Restaurant is typical in that regard and yet what is atypical of Seven Hills compared to those other restaurants, is their roof top terrace restaurant sporting some of the very best views of both the Sultanahmet peninsula, as well as the city skyline across the Bosphorus Strait.
Arriving in the afternoon, we were pleasantly welcomed with a glass of çay (Turkish Tea) and was eager to go up to the terrace / rooftop for the view(s).
And here it is, the view across to Anatolia, the Asian side of Turkey. The Bosphorus strait is actually the world's narrowest strait used for international navigation. It's interesting seeing the sky scrapers and high rise buildings dominate the skyline. Though Istanbul has abundant history, the remnants of it's past can now only been found in patches throughout the modern metropolis. Mostly tucked away between the soaring high rise buildings.
I really like the open space of the lobby. The red carpet leads you to the reception, whilst the traditional table and chairs are placed beside very big and open windows with no frame. Presumably for maximum air flow.
Jewellery Store inside the lobby
The Lifts and stairs
I suspect to make as much space as possible, the size of the lift has been reduced. It's so small in fact, that probably only 3 people could fit in it. Take luggage with you and then it's only large enough for 2 people.
I was very pleased when I walked into my room, not only is it very spacious, it exudes so much Turkish character. From the bedding, to the chandelier, the paintings on the wall, to the wooden furniture. All make you feel like a Turkish Royal, living in a palace guest room!
The handmade rugs were a nice extra touch, there is a certain quality to them which you can only tell by touching them. They are thick, and yet soft to the touch. The patterning on them are also very detailed.
Turkish influenced design can be found everywhere. From the rugs, to the ceiling, from the paintings on the walls, to the bathroom tiles and toiletries. Here they are up close for your viewing pleasure!
Exterior of the Hotel
The hotel is very distinctive not only because it is a dark wooden colour, but also because of it's unique architectural style. On the upper levels, you can see cascading ledges surrounded by metal railings for people to walk around. At the very top, there is a 360 degree view of the Sultanahmet area, and this is principally the reason most people come to this restaurant.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Also known as the Blue Mosque. Together with the Hagia Sophia, it stands distinct in the background with it's minarets and multi-layered domes.
Because of it's vantage point, the restaurant is very popular amongst people looking for good photos of the area. As a result, the restaurant is probably more popular than the hotel itself.
The Restaurant and the Menu
The restaurant is split up into two floors, the rooftop is really where all the excitement is. As you can see, we are extremely close to the Blue Mosque, as well as the Hagia Sophia. At night time, they are illuminated with strategically placed lights to bring out the various shades of blue and red reflected off the mosques tiles.
This is a selection of the seafood catches of the day. I love how it's decorated with such vibrant colours, the green lettuce, orange lobsters, rainbow coloured kebabs.
The waiters were very dashing and friendly too.
The Hagia Sophia
The Blue Mosque
Turkish Mezes to start us off. This had a roasted taste to it which was unexpected but very welcomed. For those who haven't tried it before, it tastes a little "gooey".
From what I have observed, this seems to be the swiss army knife of dips. Made with garlic, mint and yogurt, it tastes a bit "tangy" but goes with basically everything.
Roasted tomato, lime and fish Kebab
So simple, and yet so delicious. The hint of seasoning goes a long way combined with the roasted taste of the fish. I loved how the outside texture was a bit crispy whilst the meat inside was tender, and soft.
Prawn Rocket Salad
Not sure what kind of fish it is, but if you plan on visiting this restaurant, you have the option of choosing the fish by pointing your fingers, and that's what I did! Presentation goes a long way when it comes to food, and I must say, I really appreciate the colourful arrangement of the platter, even if the fish is itself the main thing to eat.
Succulent fish with a tad of lemon, dipped in the sweet and sour sauces make it absolutely sublime.
At night time, the thousands of lights in the distance illuminate the city. It's the perfect place for night views of the city. Below, we have the Four Seasons Hotel. It's considered quite a posh hotel and is distinctive because of it's yellow colour theme.
The same picture during day time.
Please check out the video tour of Seven Hills!
The Seven Hills Hotel & Restaurant is a mid tier establishment which punches far above it's own weight. Most people forget that it serves terrific food, and some of the freshest seafood around, as well as providing lodging fit for Turkish royals. All because the restaurant views are spectacular. Of course, we cannot deny that seeing the historical landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque from such a height, is a good reason to visit, and so, you would be forgiven if a photo shooting session was your true desire. Just know, that the food is authentic, traditional, very reasonably priced, and very delicious.
All round, an excellent choice for food, and/or a place to stay.
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