Away from the commotion of Beyoğlu’s beloved backstreets, with a stunning view atop the Marmara Pera Hotel, Mikla extracts the extraordinary from the ordinary through fine dining. And, recently awarded a spot on the world’s 50 Best Restaurants list (and not without reason either), chef and owner Mehmet Gurs is heralding what he and likeminded chefs have dubbed the #NewAnatolianKitchen. For too long (most of the last two centuries), it was common practice for Turkish fine dining to look elsewhere (the likes France and Italy) for sophistication and good food and wine. Gürs took a different, more introverted approach to celebrate near-forgotten and rejected culinary traditions of Anatolia. And, in 2012 Mikla opened its doors.
Mikla offer an À la Carte menu, but if you’ll have to dive into the tasting menu (with a full wine pairing) for the complete experience. That said, the staff are professionals in every sense. The waiters are very knowledgeable and informed when it comes to their menus. Like the menu, the ingredients are seasonal responsibly sources, and lean toward humble. Because every dish has a story behind it or steeped within the Anatolian landscape, recognizable ingredients allow the guest to instantly read, understand, and identify the story being told.
Apart from the team working at the restaurant, Mikla also uses their own “research lab,” with full-time food anthropologist Tangör Tan at the helm. Both travel from village to village researching the edible cultural landscape. They learn from locals, remember forgotten recipes and recreating iconic customs.
There are two obvious benefits from this mission. While supporting small Anatolian farmers, producers, and mothers and aunts, the Mikla team is exploring and giving life to ancient techniques and tools. As for the food, Mikla covers all of Anatolia from start to dessert from the lettuce to the wine from the countryside to the most urban cockles of Istanbul.
Luckily, just like their menu, the wines are also sourced from regional producers throughout Turkey.
Mikla is the ultimate dinner experience in Istanbul. Contemporary Turkish food with fresh and local ingredients accompanied by local Turkish wine. Simple, elegant, and steeped in Anatolia.
Hint: Get there 30 minutes before the sunset and have a cocktail at the terrace and watch the sun go down in Istanbul.
Note: Reservations required.