Having opened its doors in December 2011, APERAtivo is situated in one of the hotel- and residence-dense areas of Beyoğlu. Indeed, its location beneath Pera City Suites could easily have you writing this lounge off as another hotel eatery – yet like with most things, it’s what inside that counts.
The high ceilings will be the first thing you notice as you enter APERAtivo. They serve to give the bar an airy atmosphere despite its small size. The top floor, a part of the establishment upstairs, is set off by dark blue curtains. Elsewhere, wood beams run across the ceiling. The whole decor is unvarnished and minimally designed, all of it meant to reinforce the idea that this is a watering hole, not a full-on dining establishment (in case the name didn’t clue you in). There are tall bar chairs placed around several wooden tables, most of them seating up to four people, with only one long table set aside for larger groups. The small size of the place, meanwhile, helps keep it quiet as an ideal option for a working lunch or casual business meeting.
Without a doubt, the centerpiece of the venue is the tall mirror that runs behind the bar all the way up to the top of the second floor. Belvedere vodka signage beckons from this backbone, which gleams all the more for APERAtivo’s dim lighting. The selection stocked is by no means all-comprehensive, but you’ve still got the usual suspects of a cocktail-friendly place. Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine people mingling here with one of the venue’s signature concoctions in hand as the DJ spins in the booth across the door a couple of nights a week.
The brilliance of the bar might have you wondering about the food – after all, a menu of bar food and starters doesn’t necessarily translate into ambitious new recipes. Still, the small plates of world fare on offer at APERAtivo have one thing working in their favour: reasonable prices, given the area.
First we try the fried onion rings served on a metal rod, perfect for sharing. The wholly-fried (but surprisingly light) bites blend well with the yogurt-based dipping sauce – all in all, these are your regular onion rings, only with less grease and a bit more flavour. Next up are the portioned meat patties served in a small enamel plate. The draw here is the diced tomatoes in olive oil that top the meat, their tang lending the dish a refreshing bite. Yet the flavour to beat at APERAtivo is definitely the breaded fried shrimp crusted in kadayıf (oven-baked shredded pastry). Just a squeeze of lime and a dip into the sweet and sour sauce, and this fresh, light dish becomes a clear favourite.
If you’re in the mood for dessert, the rose water and lavender crème brûlée is a good option. This classic dessert has a very slight rose water flavour and just a hint of lavender. It’s light enough to eat on your own, but since it comes in two small bowls, sharing only seems right.
The day we visited, the month’s top cultural event – Istanbul Fashion Week – was going on just a stone’s throw away, and the weather outside was nearly unbearable. Yet inside, the light lounge music playing in the background, the snack food from the kitchen and the warmth of the venue all came together to make APERAtivo akin to a good book on a rainy day.
From the menu
Crispy shrimp 15 TL
Mini meat patties 14 TL
Fried onion 9 TL
Rose water and lavender crème brûlée 12 TL
Belvedere Gelincik 32 TL
Orhan Adli Apaydın Sokak 17/A
|Opening hours:||10:00 - 02:00|