Drawing on the history of Levantine culture and cuisine, which goes back to the 15th century, this restaurant features dishes influenced by culinary traditions from Greater Syria to the Mediterranean shores of Venice. The location, down the hill from Valikonağı towards Fulya, isn’t exactly central, but after you chance upon it once, there’s no doubt you’ll take the trouble to go back again. The interior is decorated with the elegance characteristic of Nişantaşı, while the light and airy garden with its tangerine trees reflects the leisurely pace of the Turkish Mediterranean resort town of Bodrum.
While the term ‘Levantine’ may sound foreign these days, the food is actually rather familiar. Owner Aşkın Esmeray’s kitchen brings together the flavours of Ottoman, Italian and French cuisines, with kısır, abagannuş andhummus among the most popular dishes.
We recommend starting your meal with a yogurt soup and pepper bread. Though it is hard to resist ordering the leg of lamb and red wine featured on the cover of the diverse menu, the varied appetizers here do a better job of introducing the palate to Levantine tastes. The herbs and spices come from the Antakya region, so try the zahter (wild oregano) salad (10 TL) with a glass of rakı.
Tahini is also widely used in the Levantine kitchen; the tahini-yogurt garlic sauce or eggplant with tahini are both worth a try. Other appetizers of note are the butter hummus with pine nuts, the abagannuş (an eggplant dish akin to babaganoush), the stuffed eggplant and the Arab meatballs.
Among the main dishes, the Hatay sini kebab – which comes in serving sizes of two, four or six in an earthenware pot (güveç) (35-80 TL) – and the amply stuffed beyti kebab (25 TL) stand out.
The ambitious Levantine dessert menu features dried apricots stuffed with kaymak (clotted cream), preserved walnut in syrup and a crisp pumpkin sweet with tahini. Levant Nişantaşı also offers home-delivery service and will soon be expanding to other locations.
|Venue name:||Levant Nişantaşı|
Ferah Sokak 8B
|Opening hours:||Daily 10.00-01.00|