Iconic restaurant in Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar set to be closed amid huge loss in tourists
ISTANBULAn iconic restaurant founded in 1901 in the historic Spice Bazaar and popular spot among international celebrities is set to close due to a dramatic plunge in the number of foreign tourists visiting Istanbul and ongoing restoration works in the bazaar, daily Habertürk reported on Oct. 22.
Pandeli Restaurant, named after its founder Pandeli Çobanoğlu, was one of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s favorite restaurants.
The restaurant hosted many international celebrities in the past, like Queen Elizabeth II of England, Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia and many actors and actresses, including Robert De Niro, Tony Curtis and Audrey Hepburn.
“Due to recent developments, tourists do not visit us anymore. Our business has already slowed down in the past months due to ongoing restoration works in the Spice Bazaar. Our restaurant has been shut for the last three months. If we are not offered any help, we will need to leave our place permanently,” said the restaurant’s chef, Özay Çınar, who has been there for 22 years.
Çınar said the owners of the restaurant were not able to look after Pandeli because they were getting older.
Saffet Emre Tonguç, a veteran tourist guide and travel writer, said more than 300 shops were closed down in the bazaar.
“This figure is likely to double by early 2017. We need to protect and embrace Pandeli. Many leading spots in the bazaar have already been shut down, including Cambaz and Abdullah, as well as many shops on the historic Nuruosmaniye Street. These are all big losses for our history. We need to protect them,” he said.