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The Waterfront Cafe is located on the shores of the Bosphorus within the Sumahan Hotel, which is housed in a restored alcohol factory dating back to 1875.
The café, which has an indoor and an outdoor seating area, is both upscale and down-to-earth, offering top-notch service, excellent food, and a soothing view in a modern setting without being pretentious. The sounds of the waves and the sight of small boats, away from Istanbul’s humdrum feel like a haven in the middle of the city.
The menu includes specialties from Turkish, Mediterranean, and international cuisines, with a heavy focus on seafood, befitting the café’s waterside location. During summer, lighter dishes fill the menu, such as gazpacho and grilled shrimp. Local as well as international dishes make their mark, such as the delicate yoğurtlu beğendi kebap (grilled beef fillets and meatballs served on top of eggplant puree, topped with yogurt and tomato sauce) and herb-roasted chicken with corn puree. A small but ambitious dessert menu includes the remarkable Panna Cotta, made with mastic, and Sumahan’s version of baklava, which is similar to cinnamon roll and is served warm.
The café also offers sandwiches and salads for guests who stop by for a quick lunch but the venue does get filled up by locals who have come to appreciate this special location for an afternoon coffee break or a leisurely lunch.
Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus
Yoğurtlu Beğendi Kebap
Sumahan Mantı (Turkish-style dumplings)
Çengelköy’s Best Kept Secret: The Waterfront Café of Sumahan Hotel; by Talya Arditi