Upscale Turkish Food at the Cirigan Palace

Water gate for Tugra restaurant at Cirigan Palace Hotel

For our final evening in Istanbul, we splurged at Tugra, the restaurant at the Cirigan Palace hotel. We’d had Ottoman style Turkish and we’d had authentic quick lunch style Turkish, now we wanted to try upscale Turkish. While the food was good, it was the setting – and the presentation – that really made the dinner. It’s all over the top, but so easy to get used to …

We’d gotten spoiled by the Bosphorus views, but what was really unique about Tugra was the entrance from the water. It reminded me of Venice – or maybe Traitor’s Gate at the Tower in London. Just imagine heading out to dinner by boat and arriving at this gorgeous gate …

The meal started with amuse bouche, featuring a Turkish white cheese that went wonderfully with the bread and the spicy red pepper spread that seems unique to the Middle East and North Africa …

Then we moved to the sampler of mezze. As our server explained, you can get mezze anywhere in Istanbul, but here you get the best of traditional favorites.

Mezze sampler a la Tugra

The coup of the evening, though, had to be the serving of the main courses, with this elaborate lid hiding a serving of lamb stew.

What lies underneath? Why dinner, of course!

While the main courses were good, how could they possible exceed the presentation?

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