Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's "UP" in Istanbul/2... an ongoing series

Dear readers,

A while back I had started a new series of posts titled What's "UP" in Istanbul and this is the 2nd post in the series.

There is sooooo much going on Istanbul and if I wrote about everything that was going on, I would be on my PC 24/7. But, since this is not possible as I also have to work, I once again tried to prepare a potpourri of events/news that can be of interest to tourists as well as residents of the magical and mystical Istanbul!!

So... here goes!


An exhibit titled “Beyond the Apparent: A Selection from the Art Collection of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey is now on display at the Suna & Inan Kıraç Foundation Pera Museum until December 31, 2011.

The Central Bank of Turkey was established on October 3, 1931 and the bank's collection on display includes contemporary works of art (paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and installations) by Turkish artists born between 1882 and 1960 – some of the works dating back to 1908.

For more detailed information on the exhibit, visit the museum’s website: www.peramuzesi.org.tr
Contemporary Istanbul, Turkey's first and only comprehensive contemporary art event is celebrating its 6th anniversary this year (www.contemporaryistanbul.com).

The event will take place at the Lütfi Kırdar International Convention & Exhibition Center (www.icec.org) between November 24 and November 27, 2011 and includes paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs, installations and limited editions from local and international art galleries.

Specifically, the art event includes approximately 3,000 contemporary works of art of over 526 local and international artists gathered from 90 contemporary art galleries from 20 countries worldwide.

Jan Fabre, Austria

Serkan Demir, Turkey
Furthermore, for the first time, Contemporary Istanbul will be hosting galleries from the Gulf Region in the "New Horizons" section of the event.

Katayoun Karami, (photograph) - Gallery Kuwait
Contemporary Istanbul is open to the general public from 11:00am to 9:00pm on November 24 and from 11:00am to 8:00pm on November 25-27. The entrance fee is 20 TL for adults and 10 TL for students, teachers and senior citizens over 65.

I had a chance to visit the art event last year and it was an experience I hope to repeat this year too! I highly recommend it to all art lovers!

Who doesn't like Italian food? Raise your hand... Of course, I am not surprised to see that no hands are raised!
Besides visiting one of the many excellent Italian restaurants around town, now you can enjoy these delectable morsels at Aqua Restaurant located on Bosphorus waterfront at the posh, yet comfy and friendly Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul on the Bosphorus in Beşiktaş.

Aqua Restaurant - Antipasti Lunch Buffet

Aqua's Executive Sous Chef Luca De Astis and his team have prepared a special Italian Antipasti Buffet which is available during lunch throughout the fall/winter season.

Aqua Restaurant Lunch Antipasti Buffet
You can either opt to just makes selections from the antipasti buffet which is 50 TL/person or you can choose from one of the following options (prices include VAT):
      • Antipasti buffet + pasta or risotto 70 TL
      • Antipasti buffet + dessert 70 TL
      • Antipasti buffet + main course 89 TL (meat or seafood)
      • Antipasti buffet + main course + dessert 100 TL
Buono Appetito!! For reservations, call Tel: (0212) 381 40 59

How would you like a "quick" trip to the Swiss Alps for a traditional Swiss meal without leaving Istanbul?
Yup... this is possible... all you have to do is head to the Chalet Restaurant at ... of course... the Swissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbul Hotel in Maçka!
Chalet Restaurant (Swissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbul Hotel)

Located in the plush gardens of the hotel, the restaurant is decorated to resemble a typical chalet in Switzerland!

Chalet Restaurant interior
The atmosphere at Chalet is warm, inviting and romantic, but more importantly, the cuisine is authentic!

Chalet Restaurant
The menu includes a variety of fondue and raclette dishes along with other local Swiss favorites. The Chalet Restaurant is open Wednesday-Monday (closed on Tuesdays) from 7:00pm to 11:30pm. Reservations are recommended.
(Tel: (0212) 326 11 00; Ext. 3305)

Just when you thought what else can the Swissôtel offer its guest besides its wonderful restaurants to also include Gaja (International), Miyako (Japanese) and Cafe Swiss (all day dining), bars and other amenities... will hold onto your hats... they now come to us with WINTER WONDERLAND!!
Swissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbul "Winter Wonderland"
Opening on December 1 and located in the gardens of the Chalet Restaurant, Winter Wonderland offers lots of activities and goodies for kids and adults alike!
For the kids... there is a large ice skating rink, hot chocolate cascading tower, swiss "delights" (crepes, ginger bread cookies, etc.) and a variety of activities surrounded with log cabins and pine trees.
For the adults, winter parties will be organized, hot wine will be served, there will be DJ performances and a special breakfast will be served on Sundays.
Winter Wonderland will be open from 4:00pm to 9:00pm from Wednesday to Friday and from 10:00am to 9:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Skates can be rented at the ice skating rink and the cost to skate is 15 TL for 30 minutes. There are no age limitations and ice skating classes will not be available.
Wine lovers are well aware that at this time of the year, wine producers around the world introduce their "nouveau" wines! This is always done on the 3rd Thursday in November or in this case November 17th!
In Turkey, Kavaklıdere (www.kavaklidere.com) introduced Kavaklıdere Primeur to wine lovers in Turkey.
Kavaklıdere Primeur Wine
Kavaklıdere Primeur White 2011 is produced with Sultaniye and Sauvignon Blanc (10%) grapes and the color is bright and a light yellow. It has intense white flowers, citrus and fresh tropic fruits and the palate is crispy, well-balanced, round and persistent.
Kavaklıdere Primeur Red
Kavaklıdere Primeur Red is produced with Öküzgözü grapes and the color is bright and a lively fuchsia. It has pronounced red fruits, raspberry, blackberry and cherry. The palate is well balanced with rich fruit flavors and soft tannins and it is crispy and round.
When I saw the TV commercial for this new product - to be quite frank - I was totally surprised!
Yes... ladies and gentlemen... the classic and traditional tastes of Turkish coffee are now available in single serving packages. All you have to do is heat water and stir! You can buy it with a little sugar (az), medium sugar (orta) or lots of sugar (çok şekerli)!
Personally, I prefer to make it the "old fashioned" way with freshly ground Turkish coffee beans and prepared in a cezve...
Cezve used to make Turıkish coffee
but, for the purposes of this post, after taking a picture of the instant Turkish coffee package... I prepared it... and... I was pleasantly surprised that it's tastes good and not very far from the authentic version! The only mistake I made is that I purchased the "orta" (medium) sugar version and I take my coffee black!
These little packages are sold at all supermarkets. So, if you don't want to fuss and make Turkish coffee the old fashioned way, this is a good substitution and great little gift ideas to take back home if visiting Turkey for a vacation! I forgot to jot down the price, but if I remember correctly, it is around 1 TL/package.


  1. Well, as usual I fully enjoyed your blog once again..... I love the section on the Swiss Chalet...it got me ready for the festive season...great pictures as well....Thanks for the info on the ice rink, Arman will love it... :))

  2. Thank you for your comment reader! I would love to hear from more readers - the more interaction the better!