We’re in Istanbul, we’re surrounded by the sea; we’re at Leb-i Derya. There’s blue all around us. The hallmark of this ancient city, the sea is here; with stones built one thousand seven hundred years ago, the city’s heart is this historic peninsula; there are the modern skyscrapers glowing with light; we have abandoned buildings right beside us. Istanbul is good, bad, pretty and ugly; it’s before our very eyes with all of its faces; because Leb-i Derya is an Istanbul restaurant. In this city that constantly renews itself, we’ve managed to stay alive and keep up, embracing all that Istanbul has to offer, loving it from the bottom of our hearts. When Istiklal Street was going through a radical change, when Karaköy right below was transforming into something else and when Tophane was being rediscovered… Leb-i Derya has always been here. Quietly perched on the hill, it watched the city’s movements and adapted to this transformation without losing its identity.
Leb-i Derya combines all that this vast metropolis keeps inside:
The Captain’s Quarters on top is unconformable, refined and small but bears a strong personality.
The dining hall right below is characteristic, the venue where Istanbul makes its magnificent appearance, generously exposing its beauty.
The pocket meyhane below invites you to steep yourself in nostalgia over an evening of drinks.
These three separate worlds with three different stories come together in one common ground: a gastronomical experience that can be both strong and elegant at the same time.
Leb-i Derya’s kitchen inherits Anatolian and Rumelian palates, gently adapts them to our day, prepares everything with the same meticulousness each day as if it were the first, and serves it every night with the same excitement. What makes a restaurant respected, as we all know, is that it shows respect to what comes out of its kitchen: Leb-i Derya’s team is also aware of this, so they prepare the fresh mezes and delicious dishes with an almost reverential respect. The grace with which the dishes are prepared spreads from the kitchen to service and to customers. Of course they also don’t forget the starters, fresh fish and meat dishes.
In the background we hear some familiar tunes that have certainly touched all of us at some point of our lives. Our cheeks are flushed thanks to the rich selection of drinks. Our mouths are in joyful celebration. There are people from all around the world at the tables; wherever we look there’s Istanbul. It’s both a familiar environment, we’re comfortable, it’s our place; but also as soon as we look away from the people accompanying us, the view reminds us of where we are, and we’re stunned again.
Leb-i Derya is shedding its skin. It picks up the fifteen-year-long experience, embraces its past and now looks to the future.
At the start of the next fifteen years, it keeps its good-humored service, raises the gastronomical bar higher, creates new spaces for the full enjoyment of the view which has come to be its hallmark, and goes through an exciting change.
Just like the poet Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı says: “the sky is Istanbul’s neighborhood.” Leb-i Derya, once again, is waiting for those of you who want to salute the city with its surrounding sea, the sky canopying from above and with a glass of wine in your hand.