Istanbul’s Finest Views 2: Banyan Restaurant at Ortaköy – Istanbul, Turkey

After a delightful brunch at The House Cafe and a tour of the beautiful Dolmabahçe Palace, we spent some time relaxing at the hotel pool in the evening. We were so enthused by the Ortaköy neighborhood, that we decided to return there for a dinner, to enjoy the lit up view of the Bosphorus bridge! Only this time we didn’t know which restaurant we were going to. After circling Ortaköy lanes for 30 odd minutes, we couldn’t find a place which would offer both a river view and an inspiring menu.

We were almost about go back to The House Café for Spaghetti, when we noticed a small sign reading ‘Banyan’ next to it. On taking a peep, the place looked deserted with dusty stairs running up. Much to our delight, we decided to go up 2 floors on those steps, which opened up to an amazing candle lit open terrace restaurant with an upscale setting. It felt like we accidently discovered the treasure island 🙂 ! The restaurant was full with well dressed clientele, enjoying soft voiced conversations over wine, and we were lucky to find a table for two without a reservation. The dimly lit terrace, with bonsai trees ornamenting the tables, made perfect foreground for the magnificent view of the Bosphorus bridge changing colors in the background.

Banyan serves modern Asian cuisine. Although the menu had only a couple of vegetarian dishes, we found what we had been craving for – a spicy Thai green curry with steamed rice and potato-lentil samosas. The service was a bit slow and inattentive, but the fresh breads with olive oil dip and the great food made with fresh organic ingredients, more than made up for it. Unfortunately we were not carrying our camera as we didn’t expect such a discovery, and Prateek could manage only a half decent shot of the dimly lit place with his phone camera!