FERIYE: an Eclectic Space in the Heart of Istanbul

Lokanta Feriye

Dinner under the iconic Bosphorus Bridge, facing Ortakoy Mosque: why you mustn’t visit Istanbul without dining at Lokanta Feriye. Feriye’s grounds, including Lokanta Feriye, lie within the former complex of the neoclassic Ottoman Feriye Palace (‘Feriye Sarayı’), built along the European shoreline of the Bosporus strait.
You can dine at the heart of the city, with a backdrop of one of the city’s iconic views, whilst tasting Istanbul’s finest cocktails and dishes, prepared with delicacy and an exceptional attention to detail by a team led by loyal executive chef Birkan Erkoylu – who has held his position as head chef for 26 years.


As Mr Erkoylu tells us, Lokanta Feriye’s menu relies on locally sourced ingredients, with each dish presenting delicacies specific to a region with Turkey and the wider Anatolia. Mr Erkoylu is keen to stress the point that his is a ‘Zero-Waste restaurant’: Lokanta Feriye serves small-to-medium portions that use sustainably sourced seasonal ingredients, and menus vary according to time of year. Excess ingredients in the kitchen are re-used in inventive ways to divert disposable waste, and together these ensure minimal waste production

Birkan Erköylü presenting the Grilled Swordfish, placed over a bed of Zucchini couscous.

Seasonal menus are accompanied by occasional pop-up menus specific to a chosen region of Turkey, which serve an educational purpose in introducing guests to the country’s diverse geography, culture and cuisines. This constantly updated menu means Lokanta Feriye is dynamic, full of surprises, and truly offers an immersive dining experience.  Let’s start straight with the food, as there is plenty to discuss. (As aforementioned, the menu at Lokanta Feriye is seasonal, so I can’t guarantee that you will find the exact dishes discussed below).

An Evening at Feriye

As the waves lap against the shore and we hear the distant cries of seagulls and the familiar foghorns of Istanbul’s ferries, the waiter brings our first appetizers to the table, and I struggle to decide which to start with. He points to each one, introducing the dishes and identifying the ingredients which are poured into each. He proudly proclaims that each dish is made up of locally produced ingredients; the ‘Gumusdere tomato salad’ for instance, contains pungently sweet tomatoes from a village in Sariyer, Istanbul. The salad, a personal favorite, also contains purple onion, fennel, arugula, and Ezine cheese cream (a type of cheese produced only in Ezine, a district of Canakkale Province in the Marmara region of Turkey). The Gumusdere salad appetizer is accompanied by ‘Crispy Calamari’, served with hummus and homemade aioli chili sauce, and thirdly, ‘Puff pastry’, which is filled with Roasted Aubergine, Pastrami, and ‘‘Tulum’’ Cheese from the city of Mersin in southern Turkey. When served with our mains, we almost don’t notice, as we are still so engrossed in savoring the appetizers. We share Meatballs with Pita, served with Yogurt, Roasted Pepper, Chili Butter, as well as a second main, the Grilled Swordfish – served with Zucchini Couscous, and Tomatoes with Fresh Basil. One particular strength of Lokanta Feriye’s dishes is the attention to detail: the delicate touches, carefully considered and squeezed into the corners. Slices of dried strawberries floating on the surface of the Strawberry Spritz, the Zucchini Couscous unassumingly lying underneath the Grilled Swordfish, the delicately placed peach slices accompanying the Garden Herbs Salad – it is the little details which make the experience so unforgettable.  Last but not least, for dessert, staff recommend the Black Mulberry Profiteroles with White Chocolate Pastry Cream and Mulberry Sauce. By this time, the sun has set and the Bosporus bridge is illuminated in red, with the lights from the boats and ferries glowing against the night sky, as we sip our lattes and scoop up the last of the sauce.


We can’t not give the signature cocktails a mention: for those who prefer a fruity taste, go for the ‘Strawberry Spritz’ – containing Gin, Strawberry & Black Pepper Sauce, Prosecco, and Lime Foam. For those who prefer more of a sour cocktail, the ‘Spicy Sour Berry’, made with Tequila, Grapefruit & Hibiscus Sauce, Blackberry, Sumac, and Isot Pepper is a strong choice. To accurately describe this whole experience, let me share with you a comment we overheard from an observer on the opposite table: ‘Before I ate at Feriye, I thought I was eating. It wasn’t until I dined here that I actually ate’. We would advise you to take her word for it.

Feriye: A Collection of Brands

Feriye is not just a restaurant, but rather, a ‘lifestyle’ – Lokanta Feriye is accompanied by a group of carefully selected brands: Voi coffee, Kult, and Seasalt (a coffee shop, cocktail bar and a seafood restaurant respectively), which are situated in a sort of large, sweeping courtyard surrounding The Kabatas Foundation building. Lokanta Feriye included, these all come under the Umbrella Brand, ‘Feriye’. The Feriye experience therefore is split into different sections: Feriye foyer, Feriye Bosphorus, Feriye Gallery, Feriye Kitchen, Feriye Quayside, Feriye Park, cinema and the high-capacity halls.

Fine Dining, Film Nights, Art Spaces and More

Thus, Feriye goes beyond a collection of just these brands: its grounds offer space for activities such as open air movie nights – where generally cult films are shown – theater shows, yoga, sporting activities, arts workshops, live music, a venue for academic conferences and their meals, as well as a space for galleries and exhibitions. In fact, since spring, Feriye has held two NFT exhibitions, the latest in collaboration with a brand called MetaCollective, one of the first of its kind in Turkey.

Baharın NFT Hali, Feriye

  Feriye is also used for larger events such as conferences, corporate meetings, galas, as well as baby showers, birthdays, concerts and festivals in the outside spaces. Views of the garden and Bosporus from the Feriye Foyer mean that it is also a dreamy study space for students in the area, and the large, multi-purpose hall inside means space for launches, theater shows and workshops.
Feriye Theater
In fact, a whole day can be spent at Feriye: you can start your day with a sip of coffee at Voi, study/work on your laptop with a breathtaking view, grab a few bites to eat in the afternoon from one of the restaurants, followed by a stroll around an exhibition in the gallery area, then finish the day off with a cocktail and an open-air movie, or if it’s winter, enjoy a film in the indoor movie theater inside Feriye foyer. And what could be better, than doing all this with a historic palace as a backdrop? Think of it like this – a curation of the best Istanbul has to offer, in one space. Tip: Booking for any of the restaurants, venues or events, can be done by emailing Feriye at this address: Feriye Lokanta is usually open from around lunchtime until midnight, with the same menu operating, regardless of time of day. If you enjoy reading our travel articles and experiences please check-out our magazine for more, Artleove Mag.
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