İstiklal Caddesi in Beyoglu attracts more than its fare share of visitors. The masses of people that stroll down this popular pedestrian thoroughfare consists of a mix of occasional visitors to this area of the city as well as hardcore Istiklal regulars. Everyone has their own favourite place to meet up with friends for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. Safran near the Cicek Pasaji (Flower Arcade) used to be just such a watering hole. Journalists, and famous faces from stage and screen came here to enjoy its delicious fare and lively bar. The nearby neighbourhood of Karaköy is famous for the scenic Galata Wharf. Safran recently took over the management of Karaköy's historic Liman restaurant. Safran's consistent high quality service combined with Liman's stunning view promise to make this a popular venue. Liman boasts an unusual Bosphorus view taking in the Golden Horn, the historic peninsula and the Anatolian shore. Its unique setting provides the thrilling sense of hanging directly over the waters of Istanbul. This inspiring view is accompanied by a new menu that consists mainly of Turkish seafood and fish dishes. Nothing compares to the joy of fresh fish overlooking the blue waters of the Bosphorus.
Back when it opened in the 1940s, the Liman restaurant was originally meant to be a passenger lounge. It had its heyday during the 1950s when Karakoy was a bustling centre of business. The restaurant was a venue of choice to host receptions given in honour of visiting statesmen. Today, Liman Safran continues this tradition of elitism with a hidden door in its mirrored wall that leads to a secret VIP lounge. This spacious room can be reserved for special occasions. And now for the food... We began with a light and healthy starter: the spinach salad. This delicious starter provides the ideal blend of flavours to whet your appetite. The salad includes fresh sesame seeds, roasted pine nuts, dried apricots, raisins, fresh pears and oranges and is served with a pomegranate dressing. A feast of flavours and vitamins! Seafood lovers should try the smoked salmon crepe. If you prefer a hot appetiser, try the now classic Safran aubergine rice. This quintessential Turkish dish is also one of Safran's most delicious. Other appetisers include raw sea bass on a bed of rocket, steak carpaccio with Parmesan and rocket, stuffed chard, various 'borek' (filo pastries) and unusual varieties of 'mantı' (Turkish ravioli).
If you had something other than the spinach salad for your appetiser but would like to try a salad, then you have a choice between the warm octopus and rocket salad and the three grain chicken salad with Erzincan tulum cheese and dried tomatoes. We also tried the spaghetti vongole. The fresh Izmir mussels were served in their shells on a bed of spaghetti and pesto sauce with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Of course, no meal is complete without a beverage to accompany it. Liman Safran has an extensive selection of wines. The Doluca wines are recommended.
For the main course, we tried the beef tenderloin with whiskey sauce. It was a little undercooked for our taste, but melted like butter in our mouths. The tenderloin was served with a plate of fries. You can also try lamb 'tandir', grilled chicken breast with honey and mustard sauce, slightly spicy sautéed jumbo shrimp and spinach, backed sea bass with mussels and tomato sauce or Marrakech style lemon chicken.
For dessert, you must have the pumpkin and walnut dessert. Other options include warm white chocolate cake, halva balls with ice cream and chocolate soufflé. Liman Safran now also offers a lunch service from 12.00-15.00.
By The Gate Magazine
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On the wharf
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