One day I went a-wandering. I set out for an entire day of tourism, hitting some of Istanbul’s must see hot-spots. I had planned a whole day devoted to Istanbul Modern, Galata Tower, and Sur Ocakbası. But, as they say, “the best laid plans of mice and men . . . ” While wandering along a road in Karakoy, after exiting the port terminal, while searching for Istanbul Modern with one of my dearest friends, I happened upon a gem in the Karakoy area. It was love at first sight. Perched in the shadow of Istanbul Modern, ColoNie is a trailblazer in Istanbul’s culinary revolution. The open design of the restaurant is a thing of simple beauty. Garage doors provide an amazing view of barbed wire and industrial fencing. Lovely? Right? Karakoy is in transition and ColoNie is one of the first intrepid businesses to open in the new and improved (?) area. I am not familiar with old Karakoy myself, but many have suggested the influx of money and industry has taken a bit of charm from the area. It is easy to imagine the view of the Bosphorus after development has been completed. But I digress, back to ColoNie.
Upon stumbling on ColoNie, I was immediately struck by the imaginative design of the restaurant. Industrial lighting was used generously, a bookcase was recessed into one corner, and a Vespa (pale blue to match the interior) was parked in another corner. When I say that ColoNie has an opened designed, I do mean that it is truly opened. The servers station sits immaculately in the middle of the restaurant. And in the best tradition of modern restaurants, ColoNie has an opened kitchen. The chef’s smile and wave as they create what can only be described as magic. Amazing amounts of detail went into the space that ColoNie occupies.
The menu reads like a foodies’ fantasy, offering delectable dishes such as octopus carppaccio and tuna tartar. Once I entered ColoNie, there was no turning back. I had to try SOMETHING! I decided on the octopus carppaccio, the seared tuna with truffle and ginger, and the spaghetti carbonara. Other visits (yes, I have already been more than once) have included fresh lemonade (tasty, but at 15TL / glass, please skip it), seafood spring rolls, seafood lasagna, and tuna tartar.
To suggest that everything that I had at ColoNie was the absolute best, would be to defy reality and suspend belief. What I will say is that the ColoNie’s take on carbonara is creamy and flavorful in all the right places, though a traditional bacon is not used in the recipe. I actually ordered this dish on both occasions and was not disappointed either time.
The Octopus carppaccio was another winner. Octopus is easy to over-cook, making it tough. It was prepared so perfectly that it nearly melted in our mouths. Every bite was a bit of magic for our taste-buds.
The seared ginger salmon with truffle oil was beauty made culinary art. I was disappointed in neither the appearance of the dish or the affect the flavor profile had on my taste buds.
The seafood lasagna is not particularly memorable other than the picture I took of it. The tuna tartar was flavorful and tasty, including gratuitous amounts of avocado. While the tuna tartar was not bad, anyone who has had the dish before will probably be both impressed and disappointed at the same time: impressed that they found tuna tartar, disappointed that the dish wasn’t prepared in the manner they were used to. Tuna tartar should melt. While the ColoNie take on the dish did melt, I might suggest that it did not melt fast enough and that the precision with which the fish is cut makes a HUGE difference in how enjoyable the dish ultimately is.
Taking daring leaps in their offerings and flavor profiles, ColoNie tantalizes its guests. It’s easy to see that ColoNie will be an easy draw once the area has fully transition.