Asitane Restaurant is located in Edirnekapı, considered by many to be one of the most important areas of historical Istanbul. The neighborhood is a typical quiet Turkish “mahalle” within a short walking distance to important Byzantian monuments. The restaurant itself lies in the shadow of the mighty Chora Church, which is famous for its mosaics and is one of the most important and well kept buildings of the Byzantine era. Located high up in the foot hills overlooking the Golden Horn, Asitane opened its doors in 1991, together with the Kariye Hotel, a restored 19th century traditional Ottoman mansion.
The restaurant, whose dishes reflect the eclectic nature of the Turco-Ottoman neighbourhood, was named Asitane, one of the many names given to Istanbul throughout the reign of the Ottoman Empire. Extensive research was undertaken six months prior to the opening of the restaurant as kitchen registries deep from the archives of Topkapı and Dolmabahçe Palaces were scoured for recipes, and relevant documentation was found in Istanbul’s Beyazıt and Millet libraries. Additional important sources of information for the duration of the preparation period were dug up using old Ottoman dictionaries, the written historic accounts of various statesmen, medical practitioners and soldiers. After 20 years in hospitality, Asitane now boasts an impressive archive comprised of over 450 forgotten sweet and savory recipes, which are prepared in keeping with the cooking methods of 500 years ago. Asitane has a capacity of serving 120 guests indoors during winters, 180 guests at its beatiful garden in summers. Additionally the restaurant caters to special events and functions.
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