Located in the blingy W Hotel, Okka restaurant is slightly more tuned down venue, although it still has enough flash to impress guests. Okka derives its name from an Ottoman unit of measurement used primarily for food and recipes, and is the brainchild of owner-chef Tolga Atalay. However, the food here is not Ottoman, but rather classic Turkish kebab cuisine, but in an upscale and polished environment with professional service.
This is just the type of place where you could easily take visiting guests for a kebab experience that will impress. Indeed, Okka has the menu of a traditional kebab house but with a stylish and sleek décor that is not usually associated with such venues. They even have a resident belly dancer, but Okka’s version is in fact a 3D hologram image reflected in the center of the room, while the marble bar and turquoise tiled walls add to the swank décor.
When it comes to the menu, there is a relatively small meze selection, but they were all very tasty and well done. There are also a couple of different items for those who want to try something unique, like the black eyed peas served with a tahini and mustard sauce, or the julienned celery root served with yogurt sauce. These are all served with delicious freshly baked puffy pide bread.
The menu also offers a number of warm appetizers including grilled Halloumi cheese, steamed pastırma served in parchment paper and mini lahmacun (Turkish flat bread topped with mince, tomato sauce and spices). However, if you would prefer to not fill up before the grilled meat dishes, there are number of excellent salads such as the “Toros” salad of various chopped greens and herbs served with a pomegranate dressing, and çölelekand roka salad in which roka and farmer’s cheese is served on a bed of ribbon thin zucchinis.
Of course the headline attractions are the kebabs, with a wide variety on offer. Along with many classics such as Adana and Urfa kepap, there is also the house specialty of friend semolina stuffed with minced lamb. There are also several chicken options, such as the tavuk şiş (grilled chicken) in which the chicken is marinated, resulting in a juicy and tender kebab served with paper think lavaş bread and grilled tomato and green pepper.
To accompany your meal you can chose from the wine list which is exclusively Turkish, dominated by major local producers, or you can opt to try one of the many rakıs on offer. In fact, Okka offers the unique Self Pour Rakı service which allows you to sample from a range of rakıs without committing to buying the whole bottle, for you only pay for how many servings you consume.
For dessert, the carrot and pistachio baklava comes recommended, as does the rose flavored crème brûlée. For those who want a slightly lighter finish to their meal, the dessert menu also includes date ice cream, Malatya apricot sorbet and tahini helva ice cream, which was divine. More like a full desert, with chunks of helva and a perfect flavor that was not too sweet, this ice cream alone is reason enough for repeat visits. W Hotel Istanbul Süleyman Seba Caddesi 22, Akaretler Beşiktaş; P: (0212) 381 21 89