The hookage lounge area is small, separated by rails from the rest of the room. There are three low tables, with lots of big pillows to sit on. It was empty the night we were there, but the owner told me that it's usually full.
Professional belly dancers dressed in long skirts and tiny beaded tops grace this establishment on the weekends. Patrons quickly fill the silky pillows and low tables in the restaurant's hookah lounge on Friday and Saturday nights. Cuddle on the cushions, order flavored Hookah, listen to the exotic music and wait for the dancers to appear. While this is a great place to relax and enjoy, some girls get up and dance with the ladies. The atmosphere is lively and exciting on the weekends and the people are very warm and friendly.
The menu is a range of authentic Turkish cuisine, which I find to be healthy and appetizing. Try a marinated chicken kebab and the Mediterranean salad if you are in the mood for a safe dish. If you are feeling a little adventurous (I always am) order something you can't pronounce. I enjoy the vegetarian stuffed budemjune, which is eggplant filled with rice, walnuts, and other exotic goodness. There are no dancers on the weekdays and the atmosphere is low key. While I still recommend it during the week for a nice meal, the restaurant comes to life on Friday night. There is limited seating in the hookah lounge and you may wind up in the more standard dining area to the left. People tend to stay for a while once they arrive at Cafe Istanbul, so if you want to grab a spot in the lounge, get there early!