The iconic Pandeli restaurant, named after its Greek founder Pandelis Cobanoglu, was founded in Istanbul in 1901. The restaurant near Sultanahmet was a favorite haunt of many celebrities and politicians, however, changing times that have seen a drop in tourism to Turkey resulted in a negative climate for the restaurant that has shut down. The latest closure is a domino effect with more than 300 shops having also shut down in the region.
Located at the second floor of the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, the unassuming door led to a paradise for taste buds. The restaurant was very popular when still under Greek ownership. One of Turkish statesmen, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s favorite haunts, the restaurant’s exceptional cuisine ensured a regular line-up of powerful clientele. Famous guests included Queen Elizabeth II of England, Spanish King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia and actors such as Robert De Niro, Tony Curtis and Audrey Hepburn. In its heyday, it was visited by the likes of Aristotle Onassis, Maria Callas, Jackie Kennedy, French President Francois Mitterand and an endless list of who’s who.
On a happier note, the same restaurant had opened up in Kifissia in 2013, bringing the same recipes with it, marking the start of a new era in Greece.