also on my list: the bosphorus adjacent istanbul modern. the only turkish private museum for contemporary art, this 7-year old institution in beyoglu houses an impressive, turkish-heavy main collection as well as an ever-changing series of temporary shows.  also, the museum serves many other purposes such as cinema hall, concert venue (marianne faithfull was there on may the 20th and patrick wolf will be there on july the 14th), workshop venue, etc.

almost equally interesting was the nearby less fancy but better stocked exhibition where an all-turkish group of artists were showing their work. i was impressed: we need such an exhibition place in bucharest!

another highlight of the museum was the amazing istanbul modern restaurant. we went there for a late brunch on our first day and came back the last day for dinner. the place is elegant and modern, with unintrusive decor and helpful staff. the terrace offers post card views of the bosphorus and last, but certainly not least, the turkish-inspired fusion cusine they serve was totally satisfying.  for a sample menu, click here!

first, we had the brunch option and it was more than enough for 2: a selection of cheeses and cold meats, olives, several kinds of bread, chocolate cream, butter, sour cherry jam, kaymak in honey, the whole nine yards. it was a nice start to the mini-vacation, having lazy brunch on a terrace looking to the bosphorus, the topkapi palace in sight, along with a swarm of boats of all shapes and sizes.

as for the dinner, we had grilled meat balls “akçaabat” style served with home-made potatoes, white bean salad, grilled tomato, pepper and chili pepper sauce and grilled lamb on skewer; with “firik” pilaf, arugula and wild thyme salad and we shared an amazing dessert of creamy 2-tone chocolate mousse and a tangy raspberry sorbet. perfect!

the terrace was fully booked when we arrived, we thought the waiter was joking given the fact that less than a quarter of the seats were taken, but, after being seated, we witnessed the smart people who made reservation in advance take their prized tables.

in case you need a quiet place for an interesting meal or for a business meeting, choose the intriguing menu and wonderful views of the istanbul modern restaurant (open 10-24 daily). it’s best to call ahead and reserve one of those tables by the water!

photo credits: and my bf