Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

Pandeli Locandasi: A Culinary Beacon Above Istanbul’s Vibrant Spice Bazaar

Published: May 1, 2024
Nestled above the main entrance of Istanbul’s renowned Egyptian (Misir) Carsisi (Bazaar), Pandeli Locandasi shines as a celebrated culinary landmark. (Image: Manos Angelakis/LuxuryWeb Magazine)

Published with permission from LuxuryWeb Magazine

Nestled above the main entrance of Istanbul’s renowned Egyptian (Misir) Carsisi (Bazaar), Pandeli Locandasi shines as a celebrated culinary landmark. This exceptional restaurant is perched in a hub known for its global spices, Black Sea caviar, local confections, and premium products from across Turkey.

Pandeli Locandasi has earned its reputation as a staple of the city’s dining scene and a favored spot for business lunches. Mentioned in every travel guide, this storied establishment embodies a rich tapestry of flavors and history.

Pandelis Çobanoğlu, originally from Eastern Anatolia, started his culinary journey selling piyaz — a hearty salad of boiled cannellini beans, fresh tomatoes, parsley, and sweet onions drizzled with olive oil — from a street cart in the vicinity of his future restaurant.

RELATED: Moroccan Charm: A Timeless Journey Through Marrakech’s Ancient Medinas

At the time, he expanded his venture with a köfte shop in Çukurhan by offering locals the classic Ottoman pairing of köfte and piyaz. Çobanoğlu could scarcely imagine that one day, royalty like Queen Elizabeth II would savor these simple dishes in his upscale restaurant, where even the young Mustafa Kemal (later Atatürk) had an open tab during his military days.

Cultural rendezvous

Through the 1930s and 1940s, Pandeli attracted a diverse clientele, from affluent Greeks to Istanbul’s intellectuals and Westerners arriving via the Orient Express. It became a vibrant cultural rendezvous.

(Image: Manos Angelakis/LuxuryWeb Magazine)

The current restaurant was established after the previous one was tragically looted and destroyed during the 1955 pogrom. By state decree, Pandelis and his family were granted this prime location above the Spice Bazaar entrance. His son, Hristos, a medical graduate, sacrificed further studies to uphold Pandeli’s legacy, transforming it into a must-visit spot that deliciously blends Eastern and Western culinary traditions.

Today, Pandeli offers a nostalgic journey with its Ottoman turquoise tiles, historic views, and a bustling bazaar atmosphere. Despite hardships and a temporary closure in 2016 due to economic challenges, the restaurant, rejuvenated in 2018 by the Çobanoğlu family and new investors, continues to enchant diners.

Chef Abdullah Sevim, with 20 years at Pandeli, expertly curates dishes like lakerda and sea bass en papillote. The standout hünkar Beğendi — slow-cooked lamb on eggplant purée — is a testament to the restaurant’s enduring appeal. The meal concludes spectacularly with oven-baked quince and kaymak, defining an exquisite culinary experience.

Currently, Pandeli serves lunch exclusively, but Istanbul’s vibrant dining scene offers plentiful options for other meals, especially along the Bosporus and near Bebek harbor.

Bon appetit… Afiyet olsun!

Pandeli Locandasi
Misir Çarşisi No: 1, 34110 Fatih, Turkey
Tel: +90 212 527 39 09

Visit LuxuryWeb Magazine to see the original article and more.