The night I was fortunate enough to stumble across Sarnic (http://www.sarnicrestaurant.com/en/index.jsp) is one I will never forget. Buried in the bustling cacophony that is modern day Istanbul, lies an ancient cistern that was abandoned for centuries, and eventually found a new life as a subterranean restaurant. Almost beneath one of the walls of Topkapi Palace, it's only blocks from the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and a plethora of other Sultanahmet gems. The essence of ancient civilization has been well-preserved here, with the gentle candle-lit glow bouncing off the soaring columns that hold the city at bay above. Descending into this magical place, it's hard to believe you're in Istanbul and not Constantinople.
I honestly can't remember what the food was like, and it really doesn't matter. You're there to marvel at the ingenuity of an extinct civilization, as you take in the haunting notes that fill the room from a live piano and violin. A meal, a history lesson and a double dose of serenity all at once.
Make a reservation a day or two in advance, as this one is not to be missed!