Istanbul, Turkey – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
Recognized as the ultimate Ottoman dining experience in Istanbul, Tuğra Restaurant and Lounge at the Çırağan Palace Kempinski is now focusing its menu on classic Ottoman dishes, in line with the palace’s long-standing tradition of creating authentic experiences. The restaurant is dedicated to consistently offering true Ottoman cuisine, already a rare element throughout Istanbul’s well-known dining venues.
For over two decades, Tuğra Restaurant has received considerable local acclaim and international awards, which emphasize the restaurant’s outstanding gourmet creations enjoyed by both local and foreign guests. The popularity of the dishes has encouraged the Çırağan Palace Kempinski to dedicate its entire menu to Ottoman food choices, underlining the historical roots of the palace. The Ottoman influence is a prevalent theme throughout the property, from the historical Çırağan Palace structure to the design of the hotel rooms and the traditional Hamam.
At Tuğra Restaurant, the opulence of the Ottoman legacy is vividly portrayed in the menu choices. Aside from the classical Ottoman mezes, guests can savor the Oğmaç lamb broth, which includes mini dumplings, shredded lamb neck, chickpea, dill and parsley. Notable dolma dishes are made up of trout stuffed with dill, pine nuts, currants and curd cheese, or fig and zucchini flowers stuffed with rice, onion, currants and pine nuts. For hot starters, Tuğra features the Kalbuni Ottoman Pilaf, served with long grain rice, chickpeas, lamb stew, almonds, black raisins, mastic, saffron, spices and fresh herbs. A main course that is a must-try is the grilled sea bass in vine leaf, a mix of onion, tomato, dill, lemon, grilled corn bread and eggplant filled with onion, served in its own juice.
This outstanding menu is prepared with fresh, seasonal and mostly organic local products. The ingredients are well known as some of the most popular products of Anatolia and Thrace, such as wild herbs and spices of the Aegean mountains, black cabbage and corn flour of the Black Sea, sucking lamb of Thrace, dried beans of middle Anatolia, delicious meat of the free range cattle of east Anatolia and freshly caught fish from the Bosphorus.
The legendary restaurant now operates under the helm of acclaimed Turkish chef Ahmet Kara, who joined the Çırağan Palace culinary team in 1993 as commis de cuisine. Since Kara’s appointment, the restaurant’s menu has been enhanced by the addition of many exciting and traditional dishes that offer guests the most authentic Ottoman dining experience.
The award-winning restaurant has received many accolades and recognitions, its most recent being the Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor this June.