My husband and I enjoyed the best meal of our stay in Istanbul at Neolokal. The food was exceptional. We did not do the tasting menu because we don't eat meat, so we ordered a la carte. We had two starters: the humus and the mixed vegetables, which turned out to be a dozen or so different vegetable purees. This sounds pretty underwhelming, but it was delicious and different. The presentation was gorgeous. Accompanying the starters was a perfectly baked roll with a crisp, sturdy crust and soft middle, fresh out of the oven. As a main, we both opted for the sea bass, perfectly cooked along with seafood sausage and a delicious sauce. Desserts were rice pudding and a wonderful moist cake with ice cream. My description doesn't do it justice -- the food was not complicated but every dish was perfectly executed, with attentive service that was not ostentatious in the slightest. We loved the crisp white Turkish white wine that the server recommended. Another nice touch: the restaurant provided a small pamphlet describing the turkish culinary inspiration for each dish.
We also ate at Nicole while in Istanbul, and while we enjoyed our meal there very much, there's no question which restaurant we preferred. Neolokal will be our first stop in any future visit to the city.
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