Pipa derives its name from ‘pizza & pasta’, and it’s been the hottest restaurant in town since its opening. In fact, we think it’s the reason behind why Süleyman Nazif Sokak (which veers left as you approach Harbiye from Taksim) is more crowded than ever these days. If you set out to make reservations, the earliest date you’ll be able to find a seat for dinner is in a couple of weeks, though I still recommend you try your luck. So what’s the secret here? Well, there isn’t just one. The great efforts made by the energetic crew to keep customers happy; the authentic, unadulterated, partially-organic ingredients used in the truly talian menu overseen by award-winning chef Enzo Carbone; the eatery’s headliner, a traditional stone oven (which can heat up to 600 degrees and bake a pizza, crispy crust, juicy toppings and all, in only 57 seconds); the friendly island bar; the imported Italian flavours like olive oils, buffalo mozzarella and Martelli pasta – each detail plays a part in Pipa’s success.
Another one of Pipa’s strengths is Chef Marco Russo, the 24-year-old son of a Turkish mother and Italian father who’s accomplished beyond his years. Following four years of culinary training at Arturo Prever, Russo held posts in a Torino restaurant with two Michelin stars to its name as well as Istanbul Mezzaluna and Four Seasons Hotel. Now, he’s sharing his talent with Pipa visitors. I find myself entranced by the seafood risotto served in a copper plate, with clams, sea bass and calamari legs peeking at us among the grains of rice. The appearance and smell are so divine that it would be a sin not to enjoy this dish while it’s piping hot. The Valtellina pizza is another great option, topped with buffalo mozzarella, veal bresaola, rocket and Parmesan cheese. This colourful pizza is crispy and fresh, and before I know it, I’ve finished the whole plate. Thankfully, I’ve made room for the Nutella pizza I’ve heard so much about. It arrives with a large slice of tiramisu and a shot glass of clove vodka alongside it. Suddenly, I hear clapping coming from the kitchen and wonder if it’s for the dessert. Turns out Pipa employees have made a game out of clapping each time something falls on the ground at either the bar or the kitchen to have a little fun. It really won’t matter where you sit as you’re enjoying your food, but it’s still a good idea to position yourself at the bar so you can take in the rhythmic energy emanating from Pipa’s open kitchen.
FROM THE MENU
Grilled Asparagus 23TL
Sea Food Soup 23TL
Fried Calamari and Tempura Shrimp for Two 42TL
Süleyman Nazif Sokak, 7/B
|Opening hours:||12.00 - 01.00 daily|