Five-star hotels have opened their doors for the holy month of Ramadan with special iftar (fast-breaking meal) menus that often consist of sultan dishes -- special dishes from the Ottoman court kitchen -- with the aim of building bridges between the past and the present and bringing the Ramadan traditions of Anatolia to İstanbul.

The ingredients in the dishes are generally the same, but the chefs' performance and presentation differ, which affects the prices. One who wishes to break his fast at a five-star hotel this Ramadan will spend between TL 55 and TL 125. Here are a few of the five-star hotels in İstanbul that appeal not only to the taste buds of their customers but also to their eyes. Some of these hotels prepare their menus under the guidance of a dietician; some bring dates from Medina and Zamzam water from Mecca. Some serve iftar with Ottoman music playing in the background, and some bring the traditional shadow puppet Karagöz to their restaurants. In brief, hotel owners do whatever they can to turn their places into cozy and attractive locations radiating the joy of the month.
Çırağan Palace Kempinski in İstanbul offers its customers this Ramadan the concept of “Tuğra,” the Ottoman sultan's signature. The hotel offers its customers two menus consisting of special dishes from the Ottoman court kitchen during Ramadan: one open buffet and the other a la carte. The price is TL 98 for the open buffet, and TL 125 for a la carte.
İstanbul's Ritz Carlton Hotel offers delicious dishes along with an indescribable view of the İstanbul night from the Golden Horn to the Bosporus. Among the favorite dishes of the hotel are spring chicken and beef and various vegetable dishes. The Ritz Carlton will carry such Ottoman drinks as boza, a fermented bulgur wheat drink, and salep, a warm drink made from the tubers of wild orchids. The price for the meal is around TL 99.
Conrad İstanbul offers its customers the joy of tasting dishes from various world cuisines, including India, Malaysia, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Delicious dishes are accompanied by charming background music, which helps visitors feel as though they were in the country whose flavors they are enjoying. Conrad İstanbul also hosts customers for sahoor. Prices are around TL 80. Meals for children under the age of 6 will be free of charge. Children over 6 get a 50 percent discount.
Another İstanbul hotel, Polat Renaissance, hosts its customers with compositions and songs from traditional Turkish fasıl (a series of songs in the same genre played one after another in a combined fashion without breaks). The price is TL 55. Mövenpick Hotel in İstanbul offers different menus to its customers. It also offers Turkish tea and coffee after iftar. The price of an iftar meal at the hotel is TL 79.

22 August 2009, Saturday