You may know Carluccio’s from London or Dubai, but it’s worth noting the basics for those who perhaps don’t. Established by Chef Antonio Carluccio, this restaurant chain is known for purebred Italian cooking, achieved by importing the ingredients straight from the motherland or, in cases when that’s not possible, sourcing them directly from Italian families. Add to that the Italian chef who’s taken up residence in the Istanbul branch, and you can imagine our anticipation.
It’s evident, even at first glance, that this ground-floor mall eatery is anything but. We make our way past the display of Italian and Turkish wines and Antonio Carluccio books offered for sale to settle in our seats and begin our lunch with a simple serving of mozzarella and olives, the former being simply the best we’ve tasted in Istanbul. Then comes the well-portioned ravioli with ricotta cheese and spinach, the faint scent of eggs and olive oil signaling its freshness before we even take a bite.
The classic lasagne is another to-be-favourite, its blend of veal and lamb perfectly balanced with the tomato sauce. For the more adventurous, our pasta recommendation is definitely the Penne Alla Luganica, which is delicious (and filling) thanks to a healthy serving of fresh veal sausage and spice.
When we learn that Carluccio’s opens its doors early each morning, we can’t help but envy those Kanyon employees who start the day with a cup of coffee and a sandwich from here. For the less lucky among us, however, some consolation is to be had in knowing that the eatery also boasts a gourmet shop where the cheeses, sauces and ingredients are sold.