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Formerly in Zeyrek, now closed.

All change in Zeyrek. The Divan’s excellent Zeyrekhane sadly closed its doors on 12 June, 2015. This was a place where traditional food was given a modern twist in a beautiful setting with fine views of the Süleymaniye and Valens Aqueduct. Next door was the fantastic Byzantine Church of the Pantokrator, which, after ten years of sensitve restoration work, was suddenly handed over to friends of the ruling party and stripped of most of its historical value. For what it might have been see Divine Restoration (Cornucopia 36).

Zeyrekhane was a reliably smart place to lunch or dine. There are not many alterntives in this part of town. Pandeli, down in the Egyptian Spice Bazaar is covered in scaffolding. The closest are Asithane, next to the Kariye Camii, on the city walls, and the Halat Restaurant at the Rahmi M Koç Museum. But if you need an energy shot, walk up to the aqueduct, cross the highway, and look out the adorable Vefa Bozacı, and drink a glass of the winter drink Boza, piled high with freshly roasted chickpeas (leblebi) from across theroad. One of Istanbul’s survivors. Long may they do so.

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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