Living up to its name (münferit translates as 'individual'), neo-meyhane Münferit truly is one of a kind. This dimly-lit, delicious Beyoğlu crowd-puller boasts a dual reputation as a daytime foodie magnet and an after-hours “it” spot for Istanbul’s young, beautiful, transnational crowd. Located on a downward sloping street behind the opulent Galatasaray High School, Münferit rises out of the uneven cobblestones with gray, art-deco severity and is reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. A low-lit, wood paneled interior is all faux antiquity without the accompanying pretension, with flickering candles illuminating a small and cozy bar on the top floor and a romantically narrow bottom floor with white table cloths and floor to ceiling glass cabinets displaying bottles of Beylerbeyi Rakı.
The menu features a delicious offering of meze and warm starters, from which the seafood aficionado should sample their steaming Calamari on a Bed of Black Pearl Couscous and seasoned with Squid Ink. The main dishes include several hearty meat options and we would definitely recommend the Slow Braised Lamb Shank with Eggplant Rice. The meat is beautifully tender and combines perfectly with the subtle eggplant flavors in the rice. For an after-dinner sweet, indulge in the çikolatalı lokma, (Turkish-style donut) which has melted dark chocolate hidden in the soft exterior that simply melts in your mouth.
At Münefit the alcohol flows easy, but none so easily as the traditional Turkish seafood accompaniment rakı and Münefit doesn't complicate matters with different brands, only stocking the best in their view, Beylerbeyi Rakı. A selection of red and white wines also offers a heady alternative to the classic meyhane drink and a heavy red is recommended to accompany the hearty meat dishes. An excellent cocktail menu also keeps the after-hours party set well watered.
Closed on Sundays, the restaurant’s kitchen is open until 11:30pm, at which point the entire space turns into a bar that is open until 2:00am. The venue is great for dinner (with outdoor as well as indoor seating) and the sound of the subtle lounge and chill out music from dinner time increases in volume and tempo as the nightlife takes over and the bar fills up with the stylish crowd enjoying cocktails and the dance floor. With an outstanding kitchen and hopping bar, Münferit is the dining destination for refined palettes and the late night party set, but make sure you reserve your table well in advance as bookings can fill up several weeks beforehand.
Calamari with squid ink couscous
Lamb shank accompanied by eggplant rice
Çikolatalı Lokma (Turkish style doughnut with chocolate)