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May 01
Since You Asked: Where to Pop the Question in Istanbul?

Dear Istanbul Eats,

Forget about Prince William and Kate – what about my own wedding? Can you please help my clueless boyfriend (along with millions of Turkish men) to find a nice and romantic place to propose! I am not necessarily asking for an expensive high-end restaurant, but a place with a nice view, maybe good music and of course good food. Thanks!

Ringless in Rumeli Hisar

Dear RRH,

Indeed, the setting is everything when it comes time to get your significant other to pop that big question. Lucky for you, Istanbul’s magical setting means the city has countless spots that can inspire true romance. We’ve seen many a love affair get its start on the steep steps in Cihangir that overlook the Bosphorus and Topkapı Palace, with little more to set the mood than the stunning view and a can of lukewarm Efes.

But clearly you’re for something a little more refined than that.

One good possibility is to go to a rooftop restaurant that takes you high above the city. X Restaurant, the stylish yet inviting restaurant at the top of the new headquarters of Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation (İKSV), has a great menu and wonderful views of the Golden Horn and would certainly strike the right kind of tone for the evening. Another good choice would be La Mouette, located on the terrace of Beyoğlu’s elegant Tom Tom Suites Hotel. The restaurant has a superb view of the Old City but, more importantly, it also has the cooking of two young chefs who are doing stellar work using locally sourced ingredients.

Coming back down to earth, nothing says romance more than a sunset cruise on the Bosphorus followed by dinner. İnciraltı, an easygoing meyhane in the charming Bosphorus-side village of Beylerbeyi, has a lovely and very romantic garden. İskele, the classic fish restaurant in Rumeli Hisarı, is another good choice, with its old-world décor and a location that makes you feel as if you are floating right on the Bosphorus.

But a big night like the one you are thinking about really needs a major “wow” factor, and for that we suggest again taking a sunset cruise, but this time one heading towards Burgazada, the quietest of the Princes’ Islands, and its Kalpazankaya Restaurant. Reached by a 30-minute walk along a leafy and flower-scented road, the restaurant sits on a high bluff overlooking the Marmara Sea, the flavor of its excellent food enhanced by the tranquil view and the cool breeze blowing in from the sea. When dinner is done, hop in one of the horse carriages that wait at the restaurant and take it back into town to catch the last ferry of the day.

We hope one of these suggestions does the trick. If they don’t, it may be time to look for a different boyfriend.


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