Lokanta Maya will definitely be the best surprise of your stay in Istanbul. Such a good surprise that we went there twice, and it did not disappoint us in any way.
This trendy restaurant is located in Beyoglu, only a few steps away from the Galata bridge. The room was almost decked in wood from floor to ceiling, giving a modern and refined twist to our meal.
The menu is rather clear-cut at Lokanta Maya, nothing intricate, no insane prices, our only regret was probably the lack of a lunch prix-fixe menu.
What a better way to start off than trying the meze trio: small portions which perfectly highlighted well-cooked traditional Turkish products. I had a crush for the Turkish yogurt and spinach combo.
Then, we had the mücver, these delicious Turkish version of zucchini fritters should not be missed (8 €), the dough was not too greasy and the inside was to die for. They are so popular that Didem Şenol, Lokanta Maya’s young chef has written the recipe on one of the huge mirrors on the wall. Too bad we’re not proficient in Turkish yet, we’d loved to bring it back home.
Finally, we had delicious puff pastries filled with chicken and lam. It’s pure stodge but let’s face it, it was really tasty.
Lamb meatballs with grilled vegetables were mind blowing, the meat was flavorful, lightly spiced up and the vegetables give a refreshing touch to the whole.
The grilled bar salad was also a very solid dish (€9). The fish was very fresh, but the seasoning of the salad was slightly bland to our taste.
We also gave a try to the grilled chicken, but the poor beast must have stayed a few minutes too long on the grill and it was slightly burnt to our taste.
We were not disappointed by the desserts, especially the banana brulee (€ 6) which was a real hit. It’s cooked with its skin, cut in two and covered by a thin layer of crisp caramel. A scoop of vanilla ice-cream was on top of that, and the whole thing got us to the wonderland of regressive desserts.
Going to Istanbul without trying a mastic-flavored dessert is a crime. Mastic is a typical Turkish flavor, originally a resin obtained from the mastic tree. We had the mastic creme brulee whose texture was actually very similar to a panna cotta. The flavor was very flowerish, it’s quite surprising but definitely refreshing.
Lokanta Maya should not be missed if you’re passing by Istanbul and looking for a modern touch of Turkish cuisine, the chef is extremely talented, and the relaxing decor helps. It also makes for a perfect halt between Beyoglu and the historical center of the city. It was of the best culinary experiences in the city, one of those who made us believe in Turkish cuisine’s momentum.
For more information on the menu, hours and prices at Lokanta Maya, click here.
Kemankeş Caddesi No.35/A
+90 212 252 6884