The title of my post is not my slogan but rather belongs to Eataly!
According to my Foursquare check-ins, I have been to Eataly Istanbul, located at Zorlu Center in Zincirlikuyu 20 times since its opening on December 16, 2013... I personally think the number is higher and that I forgot to check-in a few times!
Why so many times you say? Well... Zorlu Center, one of the newest shopping malls on the European side in Istanbul, opened in mid-October 2013 and is about a 5 minute walk from my apartment! As a result, it's very convenient, and it is a partially "open-air" mall and besides a number of wonderful eateries (Tom's Kitchen, Morini, Jamie's Italian, Parle, etc. and the soon to open Cantinery), some of my favorite shops are there too (Louis Vuitton, Beymen, Michael Kors, Apple, etc.) According to my Foursquare check-ins, I've been to Zorlu Center 40 times and its become a running joke among my friends that it's my "home away from home"! I know I haven't written a general post on Zorlu Center, but I hope to get around to it at some point.
Eataly was established in Torino, Italy in January 2007 and now has a total of 24 branches in Italy, Japan, NYC, Chicago, Dubai and now Istanbul and more are on the way in different cities around the world.
Before Eataly opened in Istanbul, I had an opportunity to visit their headquarters in Torino during my trip to the Piemonte region in October 2013 and was impressed with the concept and couldn't wait for the Istanbul branch to open... We also had a chance to have lunch at their fine dining restaurant Guido Per Eataly, which was excellent!
The 2-story Eataly Istanbul is 8,000 square meters (the second largest branch after Rome) and has 7 restaurants (some with outdoor seating), a very spacious market, and an outdoor cafe on the first floor.
Although I have been to Eataly Istanbul at least 20 times, I haven't had a chance to test all the eateries, but I have eaten at what I call the "Top 3": Meat, Fish and Pizza/Pasta.
My first restaurant experience was at La Carne, located on the 2nd floor with an outdoor terrace...
|Eataly Istanbul/Vitello Tonnato (left); Roasted Beef Polpettone (right)|
If I had to critique the dishes we tried... I personally think the roasted dishes need some more work... the taste is "okay", but it's missing something...
My favorite among the three restaurants I visited is Il Fritto e Il Pesce, or Seafood Restaurant...
|Eataly Istanbul/Grilled Red Sea Bream|
|Eataly Istanbul/Grilled Shrimp|
The last in my threesome is the very popular La Pasta e la Pizza Restaurant, allocated the most area with spacious indoor and outdoor seating areas.
|Eataly Istanbul/Margherita Pizza & Homemade Pasta Display|
|Eataly Istanbul/Tomato & Mozzarella & Lasagna|
|Eataly Istanbul/Beef Carpaccio|
Final note on all restaurants: you can't make reservations for any of the restaurants, so be prepared to wait, especially on the weekends and during the evenings. Also... there is no coffee/tea service at any restaurant and there are a variety of small "cafes" on both levels as well as Caffe Illy, their main cafe on the 1st floor.
|Eataly Istanbul/Caffe Illy|
Well... I'm done! I hope I have been able to give you a well-rounded feel for Eataly's concept and why I do so enjoy going there... I can buy top quality fruits and vegetables (Kolaylar Manav, a well-known green grocer is their supplier), meat, fish, wine, cheese, bread... you name it to take home; have a meal at one of the 7 restaurants; have a glass of wine, a frothy cup of Turkish coffee or a macchiato at the Cafe during the day or night. Check their website for opening/closing hours as it varies and I hope you enjoy your visit to Eataly Istanbul. (www.eataly.com.tr)
Coming soon! Just like at the Eataly in Torino, by the end of May, a fine dining restaurant will be opening at Eataly Istanbul! 3-Michelin Star Chef Massimo Bottura, owner of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy (ranked in 3rd place at "The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2014") is opening "Ristorante Italia", his first restaurant outside of Italy in Istanbul at Eataly! Can't wait to try it out!
|3 Michelin Star Chef Massimo Bottura|