Adventure in Istanbul – Birthday Dinner at Leb-i Derya

Night view from Galata Tower

Appetizer - Dinner at Leb-i Derya

This article is one of my Adventure in Istanbul series, which mostly records my food experience in Istanbul with my boyfriend during a ten-day vacation. Scouting out restaurants was mostly done by my boyfriend Thomas. He also did a great job navigating the often confusing streets and ordering the right foods when there was only Turkish on the menu.

We went to Leb-i Derya to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday. We had a great time at the restaurant, an evening to remember, so I decided to make it the final post about my food adventure in Istanbul.

The restaurant is located on a very busy street off Istiklal Caddesi, on the terrace floor of the Richmond Hotel. The restaurant serves Italian fusion food with Turkish elements, with a lovely night view. Food quality was very nice, but a bit pricy. Compared to other Turkish restaurants, you’ll see more familiar words on the menu here, but quite a lot of local ingredients are used in every dish, and this made the dining experience quite special.

We ordered two starters and two main dishes, with a bottle of Turkish Syrah. The second picture above is Bufala Ricotta, Fresh Thyme Scented Hummus, Tomato Salad, Citrus Oil. The ricotta was covered with a thin layer of crispy caramelized sugar. All three main ingredients were delicious, but tasted even better when combined together. The creamy hummus, smoky grilled tomato, and savory ricotta created a very new and exciting flavor for my palate.

Appetizer - Dinner at Leb-i Derya

Sea Bass Carpaccio, Truffle Scented Mushroom Tapenade, Fresh Basil: This one tasted wonderful, but I considered it cheating… Because the dish uses truffle oil, which kind of overpowers the mushroom and sea bass, and makes the whole dish very good in a much-too-obvious way. The sea bass was fresh and soft, with a very nice texture. I will keep this dish in mind, since I also like to use touch of truffle oil as a secret ingredient or to turn a plain dish fabulous.

Main - Dinner at Leb-i Derya

Lamb Shish Kabob With Plums, Pomegranate Molasses, Fresh Thyme, Spiced Risotto With Current & Pine Nuts: Even thinking about this dish gets me salivating. It was one of the best lamb dishes I ever had. The lamb was extremely fresh, juicy and soft, full of flavor but you could taste the original savory flavor of the lamb itself. The thin coating of sweet-sour pomegranate molasses and sour dried plums balanced the greasy lamb very well, and made the dish taste distinctly Turkish. Sorry, I have no comment on the risotto under it, because I was entirely focused on the lamb!

Main - Dinner at Leb-i Derya

Pistachio Crusted Salmon, Lavender-Dill Tabouleh, Mango Cream: This dish was quite light. The salmon was nicely cooked and tasted great with the mango cream. I used to bake salmon topped with nuts, but this one was better, because the pistachios were perfectly toasted. I can’t give a fair comment on this dish, because I was totally occupied with my lamb dish at the time!

The birthday dinner at Leb-i Derya was a wonderful experience. If you want a change from casual local food to something more familiar, yet still have a taste of Turkish cuisine, this restaurant is a good choice.


Information about  Leb-i Derya (Richmond)
Address: Istiklal caddesi No:227 Richmond Otel Kat:6l
Phone: +90 (0) 212 243 4375       +90 (0) 212 243 4376


For more dining experience and delicious food pictures, check out my Adventure in Istanbul series at:

Adventure in Istanbul – Colorful Street Food
Adventure in Istanbul – Dinner at Karaköy Lokantası
Adventure in Istanbul – Enjoy Turkish Meze
Adventure in Istanbul – Dinner at Meze by Lemon Tree
Adventure in Istanbul – Enjoy Turkish Coffee
Adventure in Istanbul – Lunch at Gram
Adventure in Istanbul – Turkish Food Experience
Breakfast Experience in Istanbul

For more beautiful travel photos, check out:

Adventure in Istanbul – Travel Photos and Shoot Locations
Adventure in Istanbul – Photos of Mosque and Palace


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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my New York kitchen.

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