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Rich Ottoman recipes grace Istanbul tables

A restaurant in Istanbul's historical district of Fatih has revived 500-year-old Ottoman recipes, including a special goose dish that help develop lasting relationships with regional farmers.

Istanbul has long ignited the imagination of travelers, writers and historians. Minarets pierce the skyline, the call to prayer echoes off the clouds and the tantalising smell of food dances on the waves of the Bosporus. With a culinary tradition going back hundreds of years, visitors aren’t short of choice — from street food to restaurants at the high end. For those who want to dine like a sultan, a restaurant right next to an old Byzantine church brings old Ottoman recipes to the table.

Located near the Chora Church in Istanbul’s historical Fatih district, Asitane is the brainchild of the industrialist father of Batur Durmay, the present owner. Whenever he wanted to treat his foreign guests to a good Turkish meal, he would ask his wife to cook up a feast at home. After many years of cooking business dinners almost weekly, she eventually said enough was enough and urged her husband to open a restaurant. When the complex of buildings surrounding Chora Museum came on the market, the family bought it to house a new restaurant.

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