Olive Restaurant

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Olive Restaurant

The decor’s kept simple with brown tablecloths and beige leather chairs. Yet what sets Olive Restaurant apart is the spectacular view of Galata Tower and the Golden Horn. That is, until you taste the food... The Ottoman-Turkish cuisine served here is what keeps locals and visitors alike coming to Olive Restaurant.

 

We start off light with the restaurant’s namesake plate of olives. These olives come from Mudanya, stuffed with spices, walnuts or even almonds and sautéed with just the right amount of garlic to open up our appetite. We then move on to the Istanbul meze plate, which comes with beets, a spicy tomato paste and çerkez tavuğu (literally, Circassian chicken), made with bread, pounded walnuts, red pepper sauce and garlic. Yet the best part of the Istanbul meze plate, hands down, is haydari, a garlicky yogurt spread made with dill and mint. What makes haydari here so special is the strained yogurt, tangy and creamy at once. Next, we give the börek (pastry) plate a try. Mini paçanga börek, made with pastrami and kaşar cheese, is flaky and has a surprisingly peppery touch. Just as we think nothing can top this treat, we try the mushroom börek and are floored. What we love the most, however, is that the börek plate comes with apricots and prunes on the side. This is how pastry were served during Ottoman times – with fruits – in order to aid digestion, as we learn from the chef. We linger on the Aegean salad of mesculin greens and tomatoes, topped with crispy, breaded cheese for a flavour that oozes in your mouth. I say ‘linger’ because to not make room for the restaurant’s signature dish of hünkar beğendi would be a gastronomical crime. Sure, you’ll find hünkar beğendi in just about any restaurant serving Ottoman-Turkish cuisine around the city. But at Olive Restaurant, they have perfected this dish: the lamb’s meat is seasoned just right to give it that succulent flavour, while the eggplant puree is creamy and rich without the grease, and it doesn’t need a single sprinkling of salt added to it.

 

For dessert, we order what seems the lightest item on the menu, helatiye. This Ottoman dessert is essentially made of milk pudding served with tiny bits of fruit and hazelnuts in rose water. Like hünkar beğendi, helatiye is also offered in many a restaurant around town – but not like this.Here, helatiye is the dessert to beat, with everything about it ‘just right’. Neither the cinnamon flavour nor the rose water – something that, let’s be honest, not everyone loves – overpower the dish; instead, they complement one another.

 

By the time the main course is over, we’re ready to leave, happy and well fed, yet the chef’s got one more thing for us in store: dessert! And who can pass up dessert, really? So we stay and order what seems the lightest item on the menu, helatiye. This Ottoman dessert is essentially made of milk pudding served with tiny bits of fruit and hazelnuts in rose water. Like hünkar beğendi, helatiye is also offered in many a restaurant around town – but not like this.Here, helatiye is the dessert to beat, with everything about it ‘just right’. Neither the cinnamon flavour nor the rose water – something that, let’s be honest, not everyone loves – overpower the dish; instead, they complement one another. As we thank the chef and make our way to the door, we notice that the restaurant, nearly empty when we first walked in, is completely full, humming with the sound of people chatting over dinner. The glittering lights outside are proof that the weather’s grown dark during our stay here. And this is perhaps the best indicator of a quality eatery – to lose track of time, immersed in flavour.

 

From the menu

Istanbul meze plate 12 TL

Hünkar beğendi 30 TL

Topkapı chicken 28 TL

Helatiye 14 TL

Turkish wine (glass) 12 TL

Posted:

Venue name: Olive Restaurant
Contact:
Address: Ebusuud Caddesi 18
İstanbul

Opening hours: Daily 07.00-23.00.