Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sarnic cistern restaurant...

We got back to Prague a few hours ago after a successful vacation in Istanbul. Where to begin? I've already downloaded the 148 photos from our digital camera and they cover a whole lot of ground.

I'm going to go with something out of the ordinary for my first post-Istanbul post. With Noah staying with our Turkish friends for a couple of nights we got to have a couple of great dinners alone. The best was at a place called Sarnic, which is in a 1,500 year old cistern located just behind the Aya Sofia.

The ceiling is about 30 feet high, and the room has six marble pillars supporting it. Until recently it was used as a car repair shop and had a second floor added. Renovation, though, meant the loss of the additional floor and back to all brick. The restaurant has tons of candles and lots of wrought iron.

Here I am - with the fireplace in the background. Obviously, this was a feature added later.
















This gives some idea of the ceiling height as well as the wrought iron gates.























Here is a photo from the web with better lighting than I am capable of.



















I found a Frommer's review on-line:
The setting for this restaurant, an old Roman cistern tucked away behind the Ayasofya, is nothing less than dramatic. The flickering light of 500 candles bounces off the iron grillwork, the lofty brick domes, and the stone pillars, while the crackling of the fire in the massive stone chimney (an inauthentic but effective addition) supplies more romance than a girl can handle. It's hard to believe that only a few years ago, before the Turkish Touring and Automobile Association bought and restored it, the cistern served as a greasy old auto repair shop.

I found a few food reviews for Sarnic on the web and they say the food is so-so. Actually, we found the food and service to be quite good and reasonably priced. The wine, while good, was quite expensive and next time we would probably pass on the wine.

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