Michelin, a French tire manufacturer, published a guide with maps, along with a list of hotels and restaurants, for those traveling by car. The first edition of the guide was published as Michelin Guide in 1900, and the first Michelin Star ratings were given in 1926.
What is a Michelin star?
A Michelin star is awarded by evaluation of the performance of the restaurant according to certain criteria. Every year, the restaurants of the countries, which are deemed worthy of being included in the Michelin Guide, are listed in this guide. The Michelin star is awarded according to the quality of the ingredients used in the restaurant, the details of cooking techniques, the harmony of the dishes in the menu and the performance of the chefs. Michelin describes the high-star restaurants as places that are “worth the trip”.
1 Michelin star means that the restaurant uses top quality ingredients and that the dishes are prepared to a high standard.
2 Michelin stars are awarded to the restaurants where the talent and personality of the chef are evident in their dishes.
3 Michelin stars are awarded to the restaurants managed by chefs who are at the peak of their profession and whose cooking is elevated to an art form.
Michelin Stars in Turkish Restaurants
Michelin Guide, one of the most prestigious restaurant rating systems in the world, is now in Turkey in 2023. Michelin star has been awarded to 5 restaurants in Istanbul. Turk Fatih Tutak, Mikla, Nicole and Neolokal have been listed in the Michelin Guide with 2 Michelin stars, while Araka has been listed in the guide with 1 Michelin star.
Turk Fatih Tutak
Located in Sisli, Istanbul, Turk Fatih Tutak offers a modern menu by reinterpreting well-known Turkish dishes. Chief Fatih Tutak is a talented professional, who had the opportunity to work with top world cuisine chefs. Having ended his career abroad, he opened a restaurant in Turkiye, and his dishes with smoked and acidic flavors make him feel returning to his roots. In addition, manti, which the chef dedicated to his mother, has become an iconic dish of the restaurant.
Mikla, a 1 Michelin-starred restaurant, is located in Pera, Beyoglu. The restaurant offers a menu that reflects the history of Istanbul and is inspired not only by Turkish dishes, but also by Scandinavian dishes. In fact, Mikla, the name of the restaurant, means Istanbul in Viking. Refined dishes, prepared with ingredients supplied from different parts of Anatolia, are presented to the guests of the restaurant in a stylish manner.
Nicole is a 1 Michelin-starred restaurant that has been deemed worthy of being listed in the Michelin Guide. Nicole is located on the top floor of the Soeurs Garde-Malades Apartment, which means "Nurse Sisters”, in Tomtom, Beyoglu. The restaurant offers traditional Turkish dishes blended with Middle Eastern spices. Proffering local producers for the ingredients he uses in the kitchen, Chef Serkan Aksoy fascinates his guests with the soft lamb meat he serves with grape juice and smoked yogurt.
Neolokal, a 1 Michelin-starred restaurant, is located in Salt Galata and serves high-quality dishes from Anatolian cuisine. Reinterpreting traditional Anatolian foods with a modern touch, Chief Maksut Askar uses bold techniques in his dishes. Presenting traditional dishes to the new generation in his restaurant, the chef offers an experience combining traditionalism and modernism.
Neolokal is also a restaurant being awarded a green star, a new award by Michelin that was first revealed in 2020. Green star is awarded by Michelin Guide to the restaurants, which are leading the way in sustainable gastronomy. Neolokal has been deemed worthy of this prestigious award for its determination to maintain and publicize important Turkish dishes, which are about to sink into oblivion, and for being environmentally friendly.
Araka is located in a quiet place, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, in Yenikoy. Zeynep Pinar Tasdemir, the chef of the restaurant, includes mainly healing herbs and seasonal vegetables in the menu. The chef ensures a great balance with the combination of vegetables marinated with spicy, sour and hot flavors.