Foundation Date: 1901
Founder: Pandeli Çobanoğlu
History: Pandeli Çobanoğlu was a Turkish citizen of Greek origin, who was born in Niğde. He came to Çukurhan to work with his father when he was a child, starts as a dish washer and then moved on to serve meatballs and piyaz in a rundown place converted to a small restaurant. The turning point in his career was opening another restaurant in Çömlekçiler district by turning the candle warehouse into a restaurant.
He became the chief rival of the most famous chef of the period, Yorgo. Pandeli didn’t even dream about becoming an important representative of the Turkish cuisine, when he was working here with soft and white hair, and his pretty smile.
All through his life, he always woke up before the sunrise and picked up his vegetables and ingredients one by one with his own hands, to cook them shortly afterwards. In a short time he gained reputation and his restaurant attracted visitors from the bureaucrats, famous writers, ambassadors and artists. Then one day, Mustafa Kemal visited this place, too and they became friends.
Unfortunately the Balkan War broke out and Pandeli couldn’t cope with the wartime difficulties and decided to move back to Niğde. After the war, he moved to İstanbul and opened a restaurant near Yağcılar port, today next to İstanbul Commerce University. His dishes became more and more delicious every day, since he made experiments and discoveries with the food all the time.
Then came the Second World War and together with it scarceness, famine, rationing, pressures from various sources and the court cases…
When he was about to reach a state of stability after the war, the incidents of 6-7 September break out and unfortunately Pandeli’s place was also vandalized. After all these, Pandeli felt weary of life and steps aside for a while.
Later on, Pandeli reopened his restaurant with his son Hristo Çobanoğlu in its current place in Spice Bazaar with a view of the Golden Horn, Bosphorus and Galata Bridge after the insistence and persuasion of the President Celal Bayar and Prime Minister Adnan Menderes.
From that day on, the Turkish public has acknowledged that Pandeli Restaurant is a school of gastronomy and reflects the highest level of taste.
Let’s finish with the words of Pandeli: “I didn’t learn cooking from anyone. If someone wants to learn something, he really needs to be curious about it. Everything starts with curiosity. I used to stand in front of the display cases of famous restaurants for hours and look at the food, dishes and talk to them in order to discover how they ended up like that. Then I tried to have the same result myself. When I didn’t achieve, which happened often, I didn’t fall into despair and I looked for the causes of my failure and tried again and again. Until I thought I had the flawless result.”
Famous for: Salads, meat dishes and grills, rice, marine food, desserts.
Mısır Çarşısı No:1 Eminönü-İstanbul
(0212) 527 39 09