Causing controversy with their poaching of rival restaurant Çiya’s top chef, Kiva has set out to do the same kind of traditional Anatolian food served with flair and imagination. Though not a winner at first, Kiva has come to hold its own, and has the added benefit of a superb location right under the iconic Galata Tower. This might seem like the prime location for a tourist trap, but Kiva is valued by locals as much as by international visitors.
The food is very traditional, excellently presented, and particularly strong on items such as dolma (stuffed vine leaves), with the prune-filled variety standing out from the other varieties (chestnut, meat, fava bean, and mixed - all delicious too). The restaurant's breakfast also comes highly recommended, as it uses high-quality ingredients prepared in classic Turkish style, ensuring a lazy morning meal of multiple plates. If drinks are more the order of the evening, then the sublime view of Galata Tower is also a great draw while sipping on a cold beer or two.
There are many fresh salads and meat dishes to tempt you, of which the slow-cooked lamb cooked in a clay dish with rice deserves special mention. There are also a few shelves in the entrance with pots of jam, pekmez ( mulberry molasses) and other treats for sale. Note that the restaurant is especially inviting on Saturday nights with live music.
Subura (cracked wheat served with yogurt and garlic)
Madımak Salatası (salad made from madımak herb which tastes like purslane)
Erikli Sarma (grape leaves stuffed with wheat and plum, slightly spicy)
Pehli (lamb served with buttered pilav and chickpeas)
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