There are a few main components to a good incentive trip: accommodation and venues for meetings, entertainment, shared experiences and – dining! An incentive trip that doesn’t please the palate is a partial experience. After all, a great deal of a culture is revealed through its eating customs, its meals, how food is prepared and what spices are used.
Besides, food and beverage will probably be the second largest part of your incentive trip’s budget. A good Istanbul incentive must necessarily include a variety of dining experiences that highlight Turkish cuisine and reveal its great palette of tastes, scents and colors. Here are some restaurants you should consider when organizing your next Istanbul incentive and a few tips to keep in mind.
Restaurants for Your Istanbul Incentive
Consider the following list of restaurants where you could host one or many dining events for the participants in your Istanbul incentive trip. We have selected both traditional and modern venues, in order to provide a fully diverse experience.
Yesil Ev Restaurant
Yesil Ev, which means “Green House” was built towards the end of the 19th century, is a traditional Ottoman-style mansion located in one of the former most prestigious and central neighborhoods in Istanbul — Sarayburnu, right in the center of the Old City or Sultanahmet neighborhood. After the mansion ceased being used by its original owners, it reopened as a restaurant and hotel in the late ’70s.
Yesil Ev has a lobby restaurant, an orangerie restaurant and a garden restaurant for open air dining al fresco in a beautiful courtyard. The garden can host up to 300 people, while the orangerie and lobby have a capacity of up to 80. Furthermore, Yesil Ev Restaurant is experienced in hosting big groups for incentive events and so the website features a sample menu for groups. You can easily contact them to make arrangements.
Latest Update: The Yesil Ev property and Hagia Sofia Mansions on the neighboring street are no longer run by the Turkish Touring Association. Both are since under new management and with a new refurbishment as part of the Curio Collection by Hilton Hotel.
Inspired by Ottoman Turkish art but with a modern look and feel, Beyti Restaurant is located in Florya, close to Atatürk International Airport. Beyti has been around since the ’50s and is most well-known for its exquisite meat dishes — from the sourcing of only the best meats to the great care with which they are prepared.
This is a foodie institution and well-loved among fine-dining locals. A foreign visitor will often find themselves treated to night out at this establishment by their local hosts.
So if you’d like to offer the participants in your program an exclusive ‘Turkish meat experience’, Beyti is the right place to visit. With its eleven dining rooms and terrace, it offers plenty of space for groups of varying sizes.
Sait Halim Pasa Yalisi
A waterfront restaurant experience is a must during your Incentive trip. As the lifeblood of Istanbul, the Bosphorus shore has long been the location for some of the most exquisite architectural masterpieces of Turkey’s capital. The 19th century Sait Halim Pasa Yalisi makes no exception. Formerly belonging to famous statesman and politician Sait Halim Pasa, it has been functioning as a casino, restaurant, summer residence and even partly a museum ever since the late ’60s.
Due to its great location as well as large capacity (up to 500 people), the mansion often hosts weddings, conferences, meetings and other events. It is ideal for a luxurious Istanbul incentive dinner, and can easily accommodate all the additional demands that come with incentive groups. Have a look at their website to see the beautiful gallery and take a virtual tour of the mansion!
For a more modern Istanbulite Turkish experience you should take guests to 360istanbul. 360’s original location is in Beyoğlu in a penthouse on top of a 19th century apartment building with views overlooking the Old City and Bosphorus. What distinguishes this as well as the other two 360istanbul venues is the amazing, literally 360° landscape view that they offer.
The menu at 360istanbul is a fusion between Turkish and international cuisine, alongside a wine selection of only the finest wines. Additionally, the restaurant turns into Club360 on weekends. Other 360 locations are 360East in Kadıköy and at one time 360SuadaClub on Galatasaray Island (unfortunately the island is currently closed) in the middle of the Bosphorus. Just like the original venue, these also command a 360° view of their surroundings.
Mavi Balik Restaurant
Finally, go to Mavi Balik in Beşiktaş for an authentic seafood and fish experience. It would be a shame to be in Istanbul and not try out the local cuisine which, at Mavi Balik Restaurant, is of the finest quality.
Also located on the Bosphorus, the restaurant has quite a big capacity both in summer and in winter. And if you’d like to have a special place for a bigger group, you could make a reservation for the 360° terrace, which can accommodate up to 120 persons.
All of the above restaurants are well-known for their service and often host groups for incentive events or meetings. But with Istanbul having now been called the world’s best travel destination for 2016, it will become both more desired as well as harder to visit, unless you plan well in advance.
Most of these venues also allow for customized menus for your group. If you have any special requests, you can usually speak directly to the chef to include these in the menu for your group. Also consider how a meal fits alongside other daily activities. A heavy breakfast might not be the best thing to have prior to a long day of walking around Istanbul.
Finally, if you like, you can further request different forms of entertainment as part of your dining experience. Some of these restaurants offer live music on a regular basis, so it should be easy to include it in the offer.
In addition to dining in one of these great restaurants, you should set aside one lunch or dinner for a Bosphorus cruise dining experience. Taking a cruise on the Bosphorus is one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences during an incentive trip, as so many of our clients have shown us to date.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions whatsoever or would like to get a custom quote for your exquisite on-the-water dining experience.