It was a long time since I enjoyed a fantastic meal at a gourmet restaurant where every seat was taken. I don’t think it has been since I enjoyed “Blackbird” in Chicago about 11 years ago. But in Istanbul at “Milka” every seat was taken and some seats even got a second bum.
The Marmara Pera
Meşrutiyet Cd No:15
phone; 0212 293 5656
New Anatolian Kitchen; €€€-€€€€
Excutive Chef and owner; Mehmet Gürs
This restaurant has been high up on my bucket list for Istanbul, but there hasn’t been the right time for it. It’s not only the interior, food and service that is outstanding at Milka it’s also the view. There is many restaurants in Istanbul with stunning view, but Milka has nearly 360 degree and also a terrace, that even if the evening was a little bit chilly the terrace was full and some tables had a late re-seat. With being on the top roof level for the The Marmara Pera Hotel, if I don’t remember wrongly 14th floor, the view is for free. Mikla opened in October 2005. Executive Chef Mehmet Gürs has a Turkish-Scandinavian background and he are also the Chef-Owner, who pioneered the contemporary restaurant scene in Istanbul when he moved to Istanbul in 1996. Mehmet is born in Finland, his mother is Swedish and father of Turkish origin. He has been working in Italy, France, Germany, Australia and Turkey – born 1969. I’m sure that the dishes Mehmet and his team creates has influence from all the different countries he worked in. He is also seen as one of the most invented chefs in the world and has really made a name of himself in the top level of our culinary world. “Milka” and Mehmet has got fantastic write ups is many of the biggest food and travel magazines all over the world. My evening at Milka was on fire … and the sky was orange in the sunset, but my table was in the other side of the restaurant … and also it looked like that part of the terrace a bit over crowed (because of the sunset – so I stayed put), but I think my images give some idea how amazing evening we had. My waiter Mert, a very nice and good looking man … kind and relaxed .. funny and attentive, without being too much – he had many guests to attend to, but I he didn’t forget about the lonely diner (me). I really delighted myself sitting at my table with my Absolute & tonic and looking at the sunset and all the action going on around me …. action on a very relaxed level. And I love their beautiful napkins in thick cotton, only had napkins like this once before and that was in Barcelona 10 years ago. The menu has 2 options, 3 courses “Prix Fixe à la carte” with a wide choice of dishes or a tasting menu. I went for the “Prix Fixe à la carte” and my choices became.
Balık Ekmek Crispy Sardines, Olive Oil Bread, Lemon
Trakya Kıvırcık Lamb Chop, Smoked “Firik” Bulghur Pilaf, Eggplant “Beğendi”, Mushroom, Plum Molasses
Sütlaç Rice Pudding With Mastic, Roasted Hazelnut, Black Mulberry Crisp, Red Berry Compot
For my starter did I enjoy my favorite Turkish wine, Isaby Sauvignon Blanc and for Lamb Chops I went to for Turkish Merlot that I never tried before, Sarafin. A excellent wine, very smooth and full of aroma without being to heavy. Like me it had a full body.
The starter really took me with surprise; I was expecting grilled sardines. Got the most amazing presentation with the sardines in a crispy thin flans which was put displayed into stones and they just melted away on my tongue.
The lamb chops was cooked to perfection and so tender and the plum “sauce” in combination with slightly smoked Bulghur Pilaf- really tickled my taste buds.
Rice pudding is dessert that I think we can find on menus all over the world, but in Sweden is it only during the Christmas period. One of my favorites … and Milka’s didn’t change that. A smooth pudding and with a precise mix of sweet and acid ; a perfect finish on a very delicate meal.
Every dish just perfect in portion sizes too.
Between main and dessert did I take Oscar with out on the terrace, next to my table – beautiful evening with full moon and stars, and the view was breathtaking even if the evening was a bit chilly, every table on the terrace was taken.
With my dessert I got a great cappuccino as always … and the bill came to 269TRY, but service charge wasn’t included. So I paid 320TRY/$188/£75/€105/965SEK in total with my tip. A very reasonable damage for the quality of food and service.
Now to another side of my evening: because what had happen to my friends a months before in Istanbul, they got robbed by their taxi driver, I was a bit unsettled with taking a taxi from the street. I told my hotel about my concerns and they told they had a very reliable taxi company, so they would arrange taxi for me going to the restaurant.
I always check on a website – Taxi Fare Finder (it calculate taxi fares all over the world) – what a taxi will roughly cost me – and it said 15TRY in heavy traffic and the traffic was going to be quite heavy – so I counted on 20TRY with good tip.
But arriving to the hotel the taximeter showed 22TRY. I was a bit surprised, but …
For me going back to my hotel the bell boy arranged a taxi for me and that journey only came to 11TRY – and he took the same route as the taxi that took me to the restaurant.
Taxi drivers is Istanbul … you can never win with them. I told the hotel and they was going to talk to the taxi company. I suppose the unpredictable taxi drivers and fares is a part of Istanbul’s charm and it keeps you on your toes.
That is why I always have booked transports from and to the airports in Istanbul.
“The worst kind of rejection is getting rejected by a taxi driver.” Unknown
Professional restaurant images is provided by and thanks – to Milka’s website.