Turkey - Barış Tansever
Istanbul, April 1, 2021
Grand Officer Maître Restaurateur
" Sunset - a club for the elite open to everyone "

“Sunset - a club for the elite open to everyone. Sunset feels like home. Comfortable, delightful, a place I love to come on any occasion. The food always tastes wonderful. 25 years is not a short time; they continue to serve with the same quality. The view is magnificent. I particularly enjoy watching the sun go down in early summer. My favourites are sushi and lamb shank. I feel at home in Sunset mostly because of a sense of “community” Barış has created. There are not many decent people left, those who help each other, support education, and the like. Barış is one of those rare people and being at his place feels good.” - Tijen Mergen, Founding Partner, Power of Happiness Platform.

Like the interior design, the restaurant menu is also constantly renewed. While in the early years grilled BBQ chicken was the most popular dish, the restaurant today serves an ample choice of delicacies varying from refined examples of Turkish cuisine to Asian fusion, in line with current trends. Classical and Turkish cuisine dishes are entrusted in the hands of the county’s most talented chefs while Asian dishes are prepared by Hiroki Takemura, an internationally renowned Japanese chef.

Sunset offers the same service quality of Michelin star boutique restaurants with 60 to 80 seats yet manages to serve sometimes up to 300 guests a night. What’s more it has done this for the last 25 years with consistent high standards. This is why the restaurant has been deemed a “classic” around the globe for quite a while. Just like the large collection of “great” Bordeaux wines in its cellar.

A classic without getting old, Sunset appeals to middle-aged customers as well as to their children. Still scores among the highest in “Istanbul’s top restaurants” surveys and first that comes to mind when entertaining VIP guests. All thanks to its innovative spirit and young-minded attitude in addition to the consistent quality it maintains.

Undoubtedly the unique location is not the only asset that brought Sunset to the top of the world league. Behind the stage there are nameless heroes, 25 years of hard work and many colourful memories.

Above all it was the restaurant’s founder Grand Officer Maître Restaurateur Barış Tansever who has made Sunset what it is today. With his distinct personality and never-ending creative energy, he is the “maestro” of this orchestra that takes centre stage every day.

Barış Tansever, born in 1967, grew up on the Boğaziçi University campus. Here his personality was shaped in the university’s refined, intellectual atmosphere. As a youngster he had various jobs. Thanks to his industriousness he managed to gain his financial independence as early as 17 years old.

This energetic young man decided to go into the service industry where his sociability, flexibility in human relations and natural charm would be most profitable. He spent internships in New York during the summers of 1989 and 1990.

Setting goals that push limits and taking bold risks, the young entrepreneur climbed up the career ladder very rapidly. Constantly challenging the ordinary with new and unexpected moves he took daring chances pulling them off, opening new doors of opportunity for himself.

Today Barış Tansever’s presence in the business world is not limited to being the owner of Sunset. He is also a prominent civil society leader. However, despite his titles and busy schedule he is not a stern and aggressive businessman but has a peaceful and democratic attitude. He is friendly and easy-going with his employees. For instance, he was the first restaurant owner in Turkey to take his manager and chefs abroad so they could experience and observe different restaurants.

The interior designer of Sunset for 20 years, architect Aykut Dokur, summarised Barış’ management style: “Barış directs and controls everyone but at the same time he leaves room for them to play.” Güner Arıbal, the bookkeeper of the restaurant for 16 years, added: “He is broad minded and creative; he is also daring.”

Text and photos courtesy of the Sunset Grill & Bar “25 years of Excellence” commemorative brochure