Best Hookah Lounge - 2010
CafĂ© Istanbul and Market
Café Istanbul's hookah lounge sits on the second floor above a Middle Eastern market, providing an exclusive feel for its many patrons. The furniture is stylish and comfortable — ornate, carved-wood tables and black leather couches lined with pillows. The décor feels authentically Middle Eastern, with colorful, cone-shaped lamps providing decorative light, Moroccan wall mirrors, and a plasma TV that's usually showing some Arabic soap opera or drama. Each hookah is high-quality, boasting a large glass base, sturdy wire hoses wrapped in vinyl, and clay tobacco bowls so deep they'll burn for hours. There are more than 50 flavors of hookah tobacco on the menu, ranging from traditional favorites like apple, strawberry, and pineapple to more unusual tastes like cardamom, guava, and rose. Servers here are attentive, constantly replacing the hookah coals and checking on customers' contentedness. Price-wise, Café Istanbul is competitive — hookahs with one flavor cost $10.95 to $13.95 each, which is less than what some other hookah lounges charge. And when it comes to atmosphere and ethnic flavor, Café Istanbul's got everybody in the Valley beat.