The restaurant lies in the shadow of the mighty Chora Church which is famous for its mosaics and is one of the most important and well kept buildings of the Byzantine era. Located high up in the foot hills overlooking the Golden Horn, Asitane opened its doors in 1991, together with the Kariye Hotel, now a restored 19th century traditional Ottoman mansion.
The restaurant, whose dishes reflect the eclectic nature of the Turco-Ottoman neighbourhood, was named Asitane which not only means "Head Gate" in Farsi but was also one of the many names given to Istanbul throughout the reign of the Ottoman Empire. Thus it was decided that the restaurant should specialize in fine Ottoman court cuisine.
Extensive research was undertaken six months prior to the opening of the restaurant as kitchen registries deep from the archives of Topkapi and Dolmabahçe Palaces were scoured for recipes, and relevant documentation was found in Istanbul's Beyazit and Millet libraries. Additional important sources of information for the duration of the preparation period were dug up using old Ottoman dictionaries, the written historic accounts of various statesmen, medical practitioners and soldiers.
In the thirteen years that it has been open Asitane Restaurant is now able to boast an impressive archive comprised of over 200 forgotten sweet and savory recipes, which are prepared in keeping with the cooking methods of 500 years ago.
Nearly one hundred recipes had to be discarded or modified in order to either suit today's modern palate, or simply because the ingredients no longer exist in this day and age.
The menu now features dishes originally prepared for the sumptuous celebration feast given for Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent's two sons, Bayezid II and Sah Cihangir, at Edirne Palace in November 1539.
The restaurant periodically has themed weeks such as "The Age of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror", "Ottoman Aphrodisiacs", "Fish and Seafood Ottoman Style"as part of its mission to introduce the tastes of a bygone era to all.
Asitane Restaurant is open everyday from 11:00-24:00. Additionally the restaurant caters for weddings, organizations and other special events.
Phone:+90 (212) 635 7997
Mobile: +90(532) 755 9544
Fax: +90(212) 521 6631
Address: Kariye Camii Sokak No: 6 34240 Edirnekapi/Istanbul