Are you a lover of exceptional cooking? The Michelin Guide has landed in Istanbul and promises not to leave anyone indifferent. The first restaurants to join the list were announced on October 11, thus making the Turkish city the 38th gastronomic destination in the prestigious guide. Ahead of Istanbul are Dubai and Estonia, which entered the catalog last March and April, respectively. Now, with 53 highly recognized gastronomic proposals, Istanbul opens up to the world as a ‘gastrocity’.
What does it mean to have a Michelin star?
Michelin stars are awarded to those restaurants that demonstrate that their cuisine meets culinary excellence. As the Michelin Guide itself explains on its website, to give these distinctions, they take into account five criteria:
The quality of the ingredients.
The harmony of flavors.
Mastery of the technique.
The chef's personality is embodied in his kitchen.
The regularity of the proposal.
Those who meet these standards can receive up to three stars. The experts who evaluate these restaurants award Michelin stars every year and constantly re-evaluate those that have already been given, to certify that the place guarantees clients the same quality standards as before.
Who grants Michelin Guide recognition?
Those responsible for deciding whether a restaurant is worthy of a Michelin star or not are the guide's own anonymous inspectors, who are former professionals from the sector. To make their decisions, they visit each restaurant as many times as necessary and they try as many dishes as possible since they need to have the widest possible vision of the chef's proposals.
Overview of the Michelin stars of Istanbul
Of the 53 Istanbul restaurants added to the Michelin Guide, there is one with two stars, four with one star, and another one with a green star —this last one is awarded to those places whose practices favor the environment. There are also 10 Bib Gourmand proposals, for restaurants serving quality cuisine at affordable prices, and 38 general recommendations.
Below, you will find the five restaurants in Istanbul who got Michelin stars:
1. Turk Fatih Tutak
If you want to taste traditional Turkish food with modern air, Turk Fatih Tutak is your place. With two Michelin stars, this restaurant is located in Bomonti, Sisli, one of the most popular neighborhoods in Istanbul, full of life, cultural offers and pleasant cafeterias.
2. Araka Restaurant
The Michelin Guide describes Araka Restaurant as a “rural-style restaurant” with a “romantic interior” and “individual style”. This spot, located in Sariyer, has gotten a Michelin star, and it's not surprising, because his chef, Zeynep Pınar Taşdemir, loves to express his personality and creativity through vegetables and herbs.
3. Mikla Restaurant
This is a site for lovers of contemporary cuisine. Mikla Restaurant is a spot located on top of The Marmara Pera hotel, in Beyoglu. Not only does it have one of the most popular rooftops in Istanbul, but it now also has a Michelin star. Its chef, Mehmet Gürs, always combines Turkish and Scandinavian cuisine with a surprising balance.
“We are a bridge between the old and the new”, is how the Neolokal team describes themselves. In addition to a Michelin star, this restaurant has also got a green star. This latest award has been possible thanks to his vision, which consists of combining modern techniques with innovative perspectives.
5. Nicole Restaurant
Last but not least, Nicole Restaurant has also obtained one of the Micheline starts in Istanbul. This restaurant located in Beyoglu offers a refined cuisine with a unique contemporary interpretation, with the aim of providing guests “unforgettable culinary experiences”.
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