Ms Eveline Zoutendijk of Istanbul, who offers half-day Turkish cooking classes, also serves lunch and dinnerby reservation every day except Sunday in her restaurant on Akbiyik Caddesi in Sultanahmet‘s hotel district (map).
“We serve Turkish cuisine in European style,” she says. “The menu is table d’hôte, a four-course set menu with a set price, wine included, cooked and served personally by our chef.”
Traditionally, Turkish dinners are enjoyed by a large group of friends instead of in couples and foursomes. Eight, ten, a dozen people or more dine at the same table, starting with dozens of plates of meze, followed by cold and hot main courses.
The bill at the end of the meal is as long as an encyclopedia, scrawled in a foreign language, often quite undecipherable, and more than occasionally incorrect.
But what if you aren’t in a large group? What if you don’t want to order so much food? What if you want to know the complete price in advance? What if you want to dine easily in a relaxed atmosphere among travelers like yourself, with no unpleasant surprises?
Alaturka is the answer: traditional Turkish cuisine, cooked fresh just for your dinner and served by Chef Feyzi himself, European-style, in four courses, with wine. Set price. No surprises.
The price is eminently reasonable, especially compared to nearby restaurants, and you receive greater value for your money.
Alaturka has the atmosphere of a private dining roomwith your own chef, but you’re likely to meet several other travelers like yourself with whom you can compare travel notes and comments on the cuisine.
If you come for lunch, your dining companions will be attending the daily Turkish cooking class. If you come for dinner in the evening, your companions will be coming for the same reason you are.
Have a seat, accept a glass of wine, chat with others, wander to the kitchen to watch the chef at work, and finally sit down to an excellent evening meal only a few minutes’ walk from your hotel.
It’s best to make your reservation a day in advance if you can, but if you can’t—say, you’ve just arrived and are jet-lagged and you just want a good, relaxing introduction to Turkish cuisine—contact Ms Zoutendijk and see if there are places available. There often are.