The recently opened Aila at Fairmont Quasar Istanbul proves that there is plenty of room for surprise as far as hotel restaurants are concerned. The new Turkish cuisine-oriented venue is one to look up to with regards to decor, menu and the wine list, and is well on its way to become one of Istanbul’s new favorites.
The restaurant has a separate entrance that doesn’t require unnecessary wander around the lobby, and all the details hidden behind the blue doors offer one astonishment after another. The modern, spacious venue is divided into multiple dining rooms, the main one facing an open kitchen, creating a space that is commodious yet cosy and intimate. ‘Spice Library’ is another distinctive decoration detail that adds a touch of elegant authenticity, often sought after by international visitors.
Aila’s selection of mezze is a creative masterpiece by chef Umut Karakuş, previously of Duble Meze Bar in Beyoğlu. Menu design makes it easy to navigate among a plethora of options, with separate sections dedicated to vegan mezze, the classics, seafood-based and hot dishes. With Turkey’s finest ingredients used to execute the recipes, the chef draws the country’s culinary map, ensuring the diners have enough information to make a knowledgeable choice. We wouldn’t have chose better ourselves, knowing that the chickpea used to make hummus comes from Çorum, prawns from Iskenderun, and the lamb is from Thrace.
Ocakbaşı section of the restaurant offers some of the finest meat cuts cooked up to your liking, however if you’re not a keen meat-eater, the selection of veggie dishes will not disappoint: traditional soups and salads, vegetable casserole and pide, or ottoman-style piruhi are all there to save the day. Parallel to the culinary map of Turkey, one of the Turkish wines is presented (listed according to regions of origin) with local highlights such as emir, narince, yapıncak or acıkara. A full bar serves classic cocktails with its own elegant, yet nostalgic twist—you will definitely want to try the raki-based new Istanbul Sour, the hotel’s signature.
In the summer, Aila has nostalgic Turkish film screenings in the garden. On those selected movie nights fix menu is available.
- Meyhane (Turkish Tavern)
- Cash and credit card
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