Il Cortile, meaning “courtyard” in Italian, holds true to its name by welcoming guests to one of the best-hidden courtyards of Istanbul, in the historic Genoese neighborhood of Galata. Being part of the elegant Ecol St. Pierre Hotel, the restaurant is open for lunchtime as well, but we strongly advise you to book a table for dinner, way in advance, to end your day with Italian cocktails like Aperol Spritz, or Negroni. Although the courtyard feels more French than Italian with its architecture and French balconies, the menu has a deliberate Italian stamp, which pays tribute to the cosmopolitan past of the Galata neighborhood.
Expect to have a menu well-curated by chef Nihat Sancar with pizzas and homemade fresh pasta, as well as charming plates of seafood lasagne, risotto with asparagus and white truffle oil, ravioli with shrimps and sage. The real deal, though, is the Ligurian section of the menu, offering traditional dishes like the Genoese-style tripe stew with cherry tomatoes and parmesan, or salted sea-bass in casserole. Do not forget to end your feast with a classical Italian dessert and/or a digestive like grappa, or limoncello!
Go up the Galata Tower to get a 360 glimpse of the city, or better, sip your sundowner on one of the terraces surrounding the tower. Galata Mevlevi House is also one of the few places where you could watch an authentic Sufi ritual in a 15th-century lodge.
Do not forget to end your feast with a classical Italian dessert and/or a digestive like grappa, or limoncello!