In the Turkish capital’s profusion of kebab stalls and shops selling powdery, pistachio-strewn Turkish delights, tourists may develop the impression that Turkish cuisine is dominated by hulks of meat and the sweet. This metropolis, however, is a center of haute cuisine — which is not only proof of Turkey’s cultural dominence in the region, but Istanbul’s firm identity as an sophisticated international city.
Off Taksim Square in central Istanbul, near the gay club Tek Yon, Changa has remained at the forefront of the city’s culinary scene since its 1999 opening. The couple behind it, Tarik Bayazit and Sava Ertunc, took a bold step in redeveloping a four-storey Art Nouveau building to house their concept: a restaurant serving modern, inventive fusion food developed in partnership with celebrated Kiwi chef Peter Gordon.
The late ’90s were a time when Istanbul’s restaurants were largely traditional and uninventive but the men’s risk paid off – shortly afterwards it was voted one of the 50 best restaurants in the world. Today it’s still a fixture on any in-the-know local’s list of restaurant recommendations.