This was my Christmas splurge and I was not disappointed. Wanting a special dining experience for the holiday, I asked my friends who live and work in Izmir, what the best restaurant in the area was and unanimously the answer was Equinox at the Swissotel.
The hotel is well appointed and was all dressed up for the holiday season including a real life size gingerbread house in the lobby and Elvis singing 'Blue Christmas' on the sound system. The gingerbread smell was heartwarming.
The top floor of the hotel includes a first rate bar with live jazz and spectacular views of the Bay of Izmir. Continuing on to the restaurant, I was greeted by a very sleek hostess and lead to a comfortable table with a lit black candle and a white rose in a crystal vase. From the moment I sat, attentive waiters brought water, wine, a complimentary amuse-bouche of veal stuffed manti with a tart berry sauce and a variety of wonderful warm rolls. As for dinner, I couldn't have asked for anything better. The house specialty of Crispy Duck is divine. The lamb shank, cooked Ottoman Style, is falling off the bone tender and absolutely delicious with hints of cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and plum. This is a very pricey place, e.g. a bottle of sparkling water is over $10 USD, however, the food is first rate and well worth the indulgence. Enjoy!
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