Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Off the Beaten Path: Ca'd'oro Restaurant & SALT Galata...

Happy happy New Year dear readers!

I would like to start off with the classic well wishes for the New Year to all of you and hope that 2012 brings you lots of joy, laugther, good health, prosperity, travel and a very very minimal amount of sorrow and ill will! We have to admit, where there is good, there is bad and vice versa - but always always - the good should outweigh the bad - so always having a positive attitude is my motto!

The month of December was a really crazy time for me and I just noticed that I haven't had a chance to write a new post since December 8th!

First, I had a major book project which I had to totally concentrate on to complete... I translated a romance novel from Turkish to English. I won't go into the details now, but will give you more information once I get word from the author that it is being published - so cross your fingers and toes!

Secondly, my darling little maltese terrier Luka got ill on December 13 - the evening after I went to C'a'd'oro and SALT Galata. Nothing major, but more of a nuisance for him. Shortly, he had to have stitches and wear a god awful bubble over his head for 10 days and go to the vet for 7 days for shots! That's why I haven't been able to write any new posts on his blog either, but will be catching up on that too as he's a little upset with me for falling behind. But, if you still haven't had a chance to read the articles already posted, visit - I'm sure you'll get a kick out of it!

I finally finished the book on December 26, but only sent it to the author yesterday because I wanted to do one final read through to make sure all the "t"s were crossed and the "i"s dotted!

New Year's eve was very nice - I cooked and had my immediate family (we were 6 people in all) over because, frankly, I hate going out on New Year's Eve! Every place is overcrowded, prices are sky high and food and drink are mediocre compared to other nights.

The New Year started with a bang and I have been busy for the last few days - but not with work. Instead, just running around town to do errands with my sis and also for my mom. After a rainy couple of days during and after the first of the year, we've had sunny sunny days in Istanbul - but alas, the rains will be back with us for at least 3 days starting on Friday!

If you are a follower of my blogs, you know I work as a freelancer and translate anything and everything (books, brochures, menus, websites, etc.) you can think of from Turkish to English. Currently, I have finished all the projects I had and am now giving myself some time off to just relax, catch up on my blogs and just enjoy life for a week or so before I start up again! I have sooo many articles to prepare for both of my blogs and will be bombarding you with stuff in the next couple of days!

After a very long intro - let's now get to the post at hand!

Istanbul is in full swing for the fall-winter season and many new restaurants, cafes, museums, galleries, hotels, etc. have opened or will be opening. I have fallen behind a little in visiting most of the new venues, but do plan on making up for it in the New Year.

However, on December 13 I had a chance to visit Ca'd'oro Restaurant and SALT Galata ...

SALT Galata

SALT Galata opened its doors to the public on November 22, 2011 and was founded by Garanti Bank. Located on Bankalar Caddesi (which translated means a street with banks) in Karaköy, previous to SALT Galata, it was home to the Ottoman Bank Museum. However, even before that... this landmark building was designed by Alexandre Vallaury, a French Levantine architect to house the Ottoman (Osmanlı) Bank which was inaugurated in 1892.

The Ottoman Bank closed once it was merged with Garanti Bank in the late 1990s and the building was converted and was home to the Ottoman Bank Museum which opened in 2002 and housed the bank's archives and was also used as a research center.

Several years ago, the museum closed its doors for renovations. The building's façade and interior - a mix of neoclassical and oriental styles was still pretty much maintained, but with some major new structural interventions were made indoors to bring it up to date and to conform to its new identity (and it looks great!).

Nihal, a good friend of mine, Nihal and I decided to meet for lunch as we hadn't seen each other in months! She was away most of the summer and then before you knew it, it was December when we had a chance to schedule a get together!

We decided that we wanted to try Ca'd'oro as it had just opened and we knew that it would be good because it is managed by the Istanbul Doors Group (Zuma, Anjelique, A'jia, Da Mario, Vogue, Kitchenette, Mama, Carotta), a group that includes some of the best restaurants and cafes in town!

Ca'd'oro is off the beaten path because it's not a place you will find as you're walking down the street or in a trendy part of town! You have to know where you are going to go there!

As it's name suggests, Bankalar Caddesi was once home to all the major banks in Turkey. Today, there are still some bank branches there, but the majority of the shops sell all sorts of lighting and lighting fixtures for the home or office.

The SALT Galata building is right next door to the Central Bank of Turkey and once again, there isn't a huge sign on the door that says SALT.

Since I live in Levent, I decided to take the metro to the area instead of taking a taxi to avoid sitting in traffic. Also, a taxi ride would have probably cost me over 20 TL anyway whereas a ticket for the metro is only 2 TL! I got on at the Levent station, got off at Taksim, the last stop and then transferred to the Şişhane train on the other side of the platform.

I exited the metro at the Şişhane/Kasımpaşa exit....

Şişhane/Kasımpaşa metro exit
and walked down one block in the opposite direction of the picture above to the beginning of Bankalar Caddesi in Şişhane. Hang a left on this street and after walking down about 5-6 city blocks, SALT is on the left hand side of the street.

I arrived at about noon and sat down to have a cup of coffee with Sima Benaroya, SALT's Director of Communications and Administration, who has been a long time friend (over 10 years and someone who I hadn't seen in a very very long time!) as I waited for Nihal to arrive.

We sat in the cafe section of Ca'd'oro which is very simply decorated with one wall lined with books and magazines and the other a floor to ceiling window which overlooks a lovely terrace. This floor of the restaurant also houses their open kitchen.

Ca'd'o'ro open kitchen
Ca'd'oro cafe
Sima started giving me info on the museum and restaurant. The restaurant is managed by the Istanbul Doors Group, but the space is owned by the SALTand they also named the restaurant. Ca'd'oro which means golden house is also called the Palazzo Santa Sofia and is the name of a palace in Venice, Italy. An appropos name for a restaurant in a museum I think!

The cafe section opens at 10:00am and the restaurant, one floor above, at noon.

Nihal arrived and we chatted with Sima some more before she had to run off to a meeting. We decided to eat first and then tour the museum, but I'm sorry to say, we never got a chance to do it! Sorry Sima - I promise I will the next time I come! As Nihal and I hadn't seen each other in a long time, we had so much to talk about that we didn't realize where the time went and we had to make a mad dash out of there as we had other appointments afterwards. However, at the end of this article, I will give you some more info on SALT.

The main restaurant section is very nicely decorated with white tablecloths and floor to ceiling windows with a lovely view of the old city. Unfortunately, some of the view is blocked by some of the older buildings nearby.

Ca'd'oro Restaurant

Ca'd'oro Bar

View from Ca'd'oro
I'm sure the view, lighting and decor is much more impressive in the evenings with the old city as a back drop!

The restaurant also has a lovely terrace which will open once the weather is more suitable, however, since it was such a wonderful sunny and mild day, as the day progressed, customers sat outdoors to have coffee or a meal (including us - we had our coffee and cigarettes on the terrace after our meal).

Ca'd'oro terrace
Also, besides the terrace adjacent to the restaurant, there is another one on top of the restaurant itself... this space will open in the summer - can you imagine the glorious view from there?

We sat at our table by the window and while we looked over the menu, we were served a bread basket with an assortment of yummy bread and a dish of olive oil with balsamic vinegar.

The menu is pretty straightforward and includes a short list of selections from International and Mediterranean cuisines. I didn't take notes so I can't give you some examples except for what we ordered - but I can say the prices are medium to high. There is a separate wine list with a selection of domestic and international wines. Personally, I found the prices high for by the bottle and especially for by the glass.

To sum up, the food was very very good, but the service was a little choppy. But, I guess that's because they were only open for a short few weeks. I'm sure the service is more efficient now - or at least I hope it is!

Nihal and I ordered one appetizer to share: artichoke hearts with haricort vert, watercress and red beet sauce! It was absolutely delicious! Who would have thought that a beet sauce could add such texture to this dish!

Artichoke hearts with haricot vert, watercress & red beet sauce
For our main course, we ordered the same thing: Grilled salmon with a side of potato graten. This dish was absolutely heavenly - especially the thinly sliced potatoes!

Grilled salmon with potato graten
The salmon was cooked to perfection and very moist. Instead of salad greens, they only served parsley which was an excellent idea and the lemony sauce delicious!

We didn't have room for dessert and like I mentioned earlier, we moved to the sunny terrace and had coffee, but we did hear that the desserts are also very good - next time!

We had a lovely lunch at Ca'd'oro and I'm sure you will too! Whether you go for lunch or dinner, I highly recommend that you make reservations, because although they are off the beaten path, they already have a following!

Additionally, Ca'd'oro has an a la carte brunch menu on Sunday available until 4:00pm. The list includes the classics: pancakes, French toast, toast sandwiches, Turkish cheeses, omelets, poached eggs, jams, freshly squeezed juices, etc and prices range from 5 TL to 19 TL.

Ca'd'oro cafe is open Tuesday - Sunday fron 10:00am to 2:00am and the restaurant from noon to 2:00am. Don't forget, museums are closed on Mondays!
(Bankalar Caddesi No. 11, Karaköy; Tel: (0212) 243 82 92)


Additional info on SALT (; Tel: (0212) 334 22 00)
(photos supplied by SALT Galata)

1) SALT means absolute or sole in English.

2) The aim of SALT is to (and I quote from their pamphlet): "SALT explores critical and timely issues in visual and material culture and cultivates innovative programs for research and experimental thinking. Assuming an open attitude and establishing itself as a site of learning and debate, SALT aims to challenge, excite and provoke its visitors by encouraging them to offer critique and response".

2) The mult-level SALT Galata houses a Research Center, Open Archive, Temporary Exhibition area, Ottoman Bank Museum, a 219 person auditorium, bookstore and cafe and restaurant. Additionally, workshops are held from time to time and organized by SALT on the first floor. The 4th floor of SALT has been allocated for special event organizations.

3) An exhibit titled "Modern Essays 3/Modernity Unveiled/Interweaving Histories" is currently on display at SALT until January 22 and includes Ms. Gülsün Karamustafa's installation which pivots upon the grade school designs of Schütte-Lihotzky for the Village Institute in Anatolia. For more detailed information, you can visit SALT's website.  
Gülsün Karamustafa installation

One final note - you know you are in a "special" space like SALT when you visit their bathrooms! It's the extra touches that makes some places more unique than others!

I don't know who designed this area, but just take a look at the washbasin!

The water automatically cascades down from the metal tubes and swirls around the labyrinth and the soap dispenser are the handles on the labryinth which you would think are the handles to turn on the water - really cool! I don't know if they have the same set up in the men's room!

Happy reading!!!!



  1. The new places as a restaurant, cafe or museum are always interesting for me. I like to go and try them. So, I like to follow your blog. Thanks

  2. Thank you for your lovely comment Mujde and keep on following me :))) I will continue to write about new places in Istanbul as well as many other - hopefully - interesting articles! Also, please feel free to share my blog address with all your friends - the more people that find out about my blog - the happier and motivated I will be!

  3. Merhaba! Just enjoyed a nice late lunch at Ca'd'Oro this past weekend. Delicious pastas and some of the best non-Turkish desserts I've ever eaten in Istanbul. Food was good, but we also had spotty service. Do you know any info about the pastry chef? I looked online, but couldn't find anything.

  4. Hi Joy,
    Glad you enjoyed your meal at Ca'd'oro. Sorry to hear about the service but lots of places have the same problem from time to time... so many places open up and getting good help is a problem, but with the proper training and more people joing the service sector, it is and will continue to get better. Got in touch with the owner of the place and found out that the chef's name is Beril Şanal... apparently she also does the pastries! You can google her and get more info. Hope that helps!