Sultanahmet eateries might not make it to these pages as often as you would expect, but now there’s a brand new reason to return to the tourist haven.
Deraliye, meaning “holy door,” is one of Istanbul’s former names. Owner Necati Yılmaz is a veteran in the Ottoman cuisine scene having put in time at various Ottoman-themed restaurants for 15 year. He finally opened up his own eatery on Ticarethane Sokak, right next to Sura Hotel.
The décor is more elegant than kitsch: and aside from the miniature paintings, patterns and tile works typical of Ottoman grandeur, there isn’t much to suggest that it is an Ottoman restaurant. The presentation of the food and the ingredients used are also quite modern. While you might be served rice with red meat in most restaurants, at Deraliye you’ll get a healthier serving of veggies.
These days, the restaurant serves the Kanuni Sultan Süleyman menu, which brings together recipes from different sources (mainly from Marianna Yerasimos’ book '500 Years of Ottoman Cuisine') to recreate the dishes served at the circumcision feast of Suleyman the Magnificent’s sons. A team of young chefs, most of them graduates of Doors Academy, adapt these recipes to the present day under the supervision of Chef Habib Aktan.
Our first recommendation at Deraliye is the tarhana soup with chestnuts (12 TL). You’ll find a wide array of warm appetizers, our favorite being the filling ciğer köfte (22 TL) made with zırh-cleaved lamb and beef liver served with caramelized onions. For our main course, we sampled the Ottoman classic, kuzu kaburga (lamb ribs, 62 TL), which comes with a barbecue sauce and bulgur rice with chestnuts. Yet the star of the menu remains the sultan sarma bonfile (58 TL), served with Swiss chards and pastrami in yogurt. Tenderized cuts of steak are first grilled, then transferred to the oven to finish cooking before they’re served with thinly sliced pastrami. The grand finale of our meal is a selection of Ottoman desserts, like the sweet made with grated quince and apple (18 TL). Another must-try dish is the incredibly light helatiye (16 TL), or diced rice pudding with mastic in a sherbet of lemon juice and rose water, with almonds, raisins and seasonal fruits.
The Kanuni Sultan Süleyman menu will be offered until May, after which the restaurant will start to serve its summer menu. Deraliye has other summer plans as well: we hear a mini garden is in the works.
Deraliye Divanyolu Caddesi, Ticarethane Sokak 10, Sultanahmet./ deraliyerestaurant.com.
|Opening hours:||Daily 12.00-23.30.|