The solo venture of Changa's former head chef, Civan Er, is an exercise in understated elegance. Located at the top of steep Kumbaracı Yokuşu, which links Istiklal Caddesi to the rapidly gentrifying Karaköy, this is one of the best restaurants in central Istanbul. The menu changes seasonally but always offers a unique vision of Turkish food. Traditional recipes and ingredients are given a contemporary twist, breaking with that particularly Turkish tradition of not fiddling with tested recipes from grandmother. For example, mantı (Turkish dumplings), which are normally filled with ground lamb and served with garlic yogurt and chilli-infused butter, are filled with a dried eggplant mixture and served in a "burnt yogurt" and white wine sauce, and the traditional muhallebi milk pudding is coated in strands of pastry and deep fried before being served with buffalo-milk ice cream and honey.
The results are consistently delicious, particularly because of Er's commitment to scouring the country to find the best ingredients, whether it's spicy walnut sausage from Gaziantep or salted yoghurt from Antakya. The wood-fired oven (a remnant of its previous incarnation as an Italian restaurant) is used to create a pleasantly smoky butter that accompanies the homemade sourdough that is served before the starters. Along with a wine list that features some quality Turkish labels, the restaurant also serves an excellent range of cocktails at the bar, which make the perfect aperitif. To truly appreciate all that's on offer, try the tasting menu. This extremely popular destination be booked up weeks in advance, meaning you might be better trying your luck for a late lunch if you don't have a reservation.