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After over 80 years of operation, Rejans closed its doors in 2011, but soon reopened under the modified name 1924 Istanbul (presumably for trademark reasons, although it is still only known as Rejans). It is now as popular as ever, under the polished management of the snazzy 360 Restaurant across Istiklal Caddesi. (Rejans was actually founded in 1932. 1924 was actually the year when its predecessor, Turkuaz, apparently opened.)
Hidden up a flight of steps in an alley off Istiklâl Caddesi, little has changed at Rejans since then, when it was set up by White Russian ballerinas. The borscht, piroschki, stroganoff, kievski, duck and lemon vodka are as much a part of Istanbul as the Turkish bath. Sadly closed at lunchtime, when it was the perfect place to linger through the afternoon, it’s overflowing by 8pm, with an accordian almost drowned by raucous imbibers. Booking highly recommended.
From Memories are Made of This, by Andrew Finkel, Cornucopia 54:
Hearing that Rejans was risen from the grave, or at least reopening under new ownership, was an irresistible summons. I felt like a child listening to the Pied Piper as I traced my way up an alleyway off Galatasaray, and then through a narrow doorway and up a flight of stairs. The first glimpse of the revamped interior was genuinely exciting – familiar, but glitzier than in memory, with the shimmer of chandeliers and huge mirrors giving it the feeling of a dream. A fine collection of early Soviet paintings hung on the walls…
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