Located at the Fairmont Quasar Hotel in Istanbul, we visited Aila Restaurant multiple evenings for dinner. The restaurant is named and inspired by Turkish sensation and singer, Safiye Ayla, but apparently the name is written as Aila, for ease of pronunciation for foreigners.
The best amuse-bouche a chef can ever prepare, Muhammara with parsley infused olive oil and poppy seeds
If you’re looking for Turkish cuisine made with top notch spices and ingredients in a chic ambiance, look no more. Bonus: we took our three year old toddler to dinner twice, and the staff were beyond attentive, friendly, and even let her into the private dining rooms, and made sure to serve her the best Pizza ever “if you’re wondering ask for the Vegetarian Pide”.
Our favorite which made it to our table every night was their home made Humus which is served with fresh mushrooms, alongside the ‘Nazuktan’ which is eggplant with clotted cream. If you are a beetroot lover you can’t go wrong by trying the ‘Kisir’ either, it’s made of thin bulgur, orange, sumac, hazelnut, and beets.
Seafood lovers, don’t shy away from trying the Sea Bass, served chilled with a lemon zest and Tahini, and a must try and a person favorite is the Shrimp served over eggplant salad. Two salads are available on their menu, a ‘Gavurdagi’ and a ‘Demet’ – you cannot go wrong by choosing either.
For the main course, the Kebab is a good start, but what comes highly recommended is the ‘Payyar’ which is tenderloin with beetroot couscous on the side, DELICOUS! You may also ask for the Lamb ‘Kusleme’ with carrot purée and shallots, or go for the Griddler Chicken which is served on a bed of safaron mashed potatoes.
Leaving the best for last, do not leave without trying dessert. Personally I was in love with the Semolina and ordered it three nights in a row, it’s made of cheese, and served with hibiscus sorbet. Another must try Is the Pumpkin made with clotted cream, tahini, sumac molasses, grated walnut and orange dust, a culinary genius if you ask me.
Simply said, there is no shortage of options to choose from and the attentive team is sure to deliver and cater to your dietary needs or palette preferences. Rest assured during your visit, the level of service and the quality of the food will meet your expectations.
Semolina: Unsalted cheese, hibiscus sorbet, vanilla, and butter. MY FAVORITE!
The restaurant is located at Buyukdere Caddesi No 76,, Mecidiyekoy, 34393 ISTANBUL, Turkey, and opens from 7 PM to 11 PM.