Menu without numbers

Among the many “must-do” recommendations we received for our trip to Turkey, one was a restaurant in Istanbul, right on the Bosphorus serving phenomenal seafood.  The restaurant is Korfez and my friend isn’t the only person who thinks highly of it; there has been coverage in the NY Times and other travel publications as well.

View from the private boat as we crossed the Bosphorus

I was able to make the reservation easily enough and we left the hotel an hour before our scheduled trip on their private ferry across the straits, thinking that we had plenty of time.  How wrong we were.  The traffic in Istanbul is miserable.  Still, following a rather stressful taksi ride to the ferry slip we made it onto the boat and out into the Bosphorus.  I knew that the restaurant was supposed to have pretty good views, but I wasn’t really quite ready for just how amazing it was.  It is situated right on the water.  The boat actually lets you of directly into the outdoor dining room area on the water.  Sitting in the shadow of a bridge across the strait and watching the boat traffic flow by we settled in for what would be a delicious meal.

The food was absolutely amazing.  Nothing all that crazy on the ingredients list or the preparation methods.  Actually, everything was rather simple.  But it was done absolutely to perfection.  The Dolmas with a mixture of fish were divine, both for the fish and the perfectly prepared grape leaves.  The house special for fish is a sea bass backed in sea salt, but my favorite restaurant in NYC does the same thing so we went for something different (though 4 of the other 6 tables did have the specialty).  Ours was a bass baked with spinach, tomatoes and caramelized onions.  Very simple but unbelievably delicious.  The fish was perfectly prepared (and swimming in butter, which certainly doesn’t hurt), the spinach appeared to have been prepared with a bit of cream, but not so much as to be steakhouse-style creamed spinach and everything just fit together perfectly. 

But the only part of the menu with numbers on it was the drinks list.  Everything else was just the food descriptions without prices.  There was a note indicating that the fish was priced by weight so it would necessarily vary, but no indication of what the per 100 gram price was for the various options.  It led to a very entertaining game of “guess the bill amount” at the end of the night, and we were both pretty close to getting it right.  I think that we got off quite nicely on the total bill considering how nice the place was and how good the food was. If you ever happen to be in Istanbul and are looking for dinner plans, set aside the time to make it happen.  It was absolutely worth the schlep and the price.

And a special thanks to Mike for the recommendation.  I hope I can repay the favor in the future.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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