Istanbul insider-where to eat, party and go shopping in istanbul
Istanbul , the city everybody talks about but no one really gives you a selection of what to do. I guess being a foreigner that has lived for a year in this cultural rich metropole I happened to advice several friends what to do and where to go to make sure they would fall in love with the city as I did . It is a very big and messy place , so if you don’t have guidance you might get disappointed and unhappy and you won’t see the magic of the city. Istanbul is a city of contradiction. You can walk on an amazing street with pretty cafes and newly renovated places or well restored historical buildings and right parallel to it you can see abbondaned places. So you really need to know which areas and streets are nice. At the first glimps the city looks huge but when you break it down the main areas that you would enjoy to visit are quite small
If you happened to stay longer in Istanbul don’t rush to go to Sultanahmet . Especially on Saturday you should stay away from sultanamet and old town- it’s too crazy . You are anyway here during the week, so save this for Monday morning the whole day.
Where to stay?
If you want a bigger hotel with lots of services like spa treatment and a stunning gym, I really love the Swiss hotel Bosporus. It has an amazing service and you kind of feel like home. If you want all the service but a more minimalistic style and more business oriented i recommend the ritz Carlton,
Both hotels have an amazing rich breakfast buffet from fresh green juices to all sorts of omelettes and I recommend to get poached eggs- my favourite breakfast choice.
if you look for something more intimite and more stylish I would suggest the soho hotel. If you stay in soho hotel you are also allowed to go to soho house which is probably the best soho house around the world as it is located in a very old historical building.
Here is an example itinerary:
Day 1. (Friday) :
Breakfast/ brunch at ask cafe, Bosporus, krucesme. Then to nisantesi, check out upcoming little art galleries in the most fancy area within town as there is another fancy area called bebek that is located right at the Bosporu. If you look to please your shopaholic addiction Nisantesi is your spot as there is literally any brand you need, especially at beymen, a very stylish boutique style shopping center that stretches over several floors.
If you want to take a break go down To the ground floor of beymen to have an Aperitivo drink at brasserie.
Since we are in Nisantesi I recommend you to eat at the rooftop of the St.regis, called Spago- I love their tuna cones!!!
Day 2 (Saturday) :
Brunch at Bebekoy backyard:
Let me try to describe Bebekoy. Basically it all started with a super fancy gym called Mac. They have a couple spread over the city. I guess Turkish elite always needs to have something extra and so they were not happy with the average easy to access location, so they needed an extra top location and it’s literally on a top, and not any top but on top of the other fancy area I told you about called Bebek.
On top of the gym is located Bebekoy, obviously with the same stunning view and with a cute little garden atmosphere. So it feels like you just worked out at home and after your workout you have your healthy breakfast. So besides all unhealthy breakfast choices they also have tiny dishes like protein breakfast with egg white omelette etc. So if you are into health you would love the place, the food and sporty, fancy atmosphere.
After this I would reccomend you to go for a walk at the Bosporus and if you have enough endurance you can continue walking ALO NG the Bosporus until you come to a bike tent station, so you can peddle of all the calories from those tempting delicious turkish food and you can create space to then enjoy an aperitio at Lucca in bebek.
If you ask me to describe Lucca to you, I first day Lucca is a gastronomical miracle. I mean from a hospitals perspective the place is a literally dream as it’s operating breakfast/ lunch and dinner and drinks and sometimes it turns into a club after dinner. I don’t even wanna know the Cashflow that place must have, as it is always packed, at any hour of the day, any time of the year or any even so horrible weather condition Lucca is Lucca and will always have heated seats by previous customers.
Lucca attracts a certain type of customer- la boheme, la elite and who ever tries to be. Fake it until you make it is also very presented but even they are appreciated as it’s part of the charm. Lucca is more of a market, either a meat market for humans or a marketplace for people to network and talk business. Trust me many deal have been made in those white walls of that corner place with the big windows and long curtains.
On a Saturday I would go there around 6 pm, get a aperitivo- the famous Lucca one is called zazuma and just lean back and enjoy the show. The ultimate people watching place - oh and Turks love foreigners so they can show off their English. So trust me, it won’t take more than 5 minutes until someone is trying to engage in a conversation with you.
You will notice that who ever you talk to lives actually abroad but is turkish and needs to be in istanbul or turkey in general for family business. So translated that means that they had studied for a little while abroad and haven’t really been living abroad for ages but still in their mind they still do because well it’s somehow cool to say that they live abroad and not in istanbul.
After you have indulged the show of the Turkish who is who upper class it’s time for dinner.
If you haven’t been yet invited to a dinner by your newly made acquaintances in Lucca I reccomend you to go for dinner at sunset, located in ulus- just 5 min drive from Lucca. Turks don’t like traffic- so fancy is all quite close to each other.
Sunset has a large menu and satisfy from Mediterranean to sushi and even turkish dishes. All is very tasty.
If you guys wanna go out , go for drinks to fenix. Also good for dinner in case you don’t get a table at sunset. After reina, it is a must seen on the Bosporus. If you want to book a table try through a concierge service or through your hotel concierge. The good crowd likes to stay among them.
Day 3 (Sunday) :
Brunch at housecafe, try the green detox juice !! .
During the day visit taksim, gezi park and Istiklat caddesi, walk passed at kempinski and 4 season for coffe and then in the evening you have Dinner in zuma at istinye Kark and then take a taxi to the hit place lucca in bebek.
Day 4 (Monday) :
Now you should finally go to- old town, spice market. It’s gonna be a long day with a lot of walking . So if you don’t have too much time you should neither have missed to have a nice breakfast right at the Bosporus . So start the day early and hit all the way to the north . Turkish breakfast at suetis in emirgan and then go back to old town . Visit haiga Sofia, blue mosque , sulemany and the underground water system. When you are done , enjoy a very delicious lunch at the end of the spice market at pandelli and order their main dish, fish in paper ? If you arrive earlier to the old town area try to do a 1 hour Bosporus your, pick any boat it’s like 4 euro. Amazing bargain and beautiful experience!!
Then evening karakoy, the Berlin of Istanbul, stylish alternative people, the fish tank for tech developer start ups, artists and actors. Dinner at a local place and you should have raki( anis liquor with water) balik (fish) with lots of mezze (Appetizers ) and then walking around the streets to feel the vibe and then up to nisnatesi, rosemary bar and momo, boel , must. All very cool bars you can and should try.
Sutis emirgan or arnavutkoy
The house cafe ortakoy
Lucca ( you can have all 3 meals of the day here )
Roof 16 Swiss hotel
Bebek hotel the stay
Local turkish food experience :
Pandelli at the spice Bazzar ( try fish in paper)
Local insider hack !!
Understand the roads and there is traffic at certain points. If you are a woman have a pair of ballerinas you can put into your purse. Once you use the metro and then take a taxi from certain points to avoid traffic you will love istanbul because the only thing you need to know is how to avoid traffic and you will love this magical place by the Bosporus. Always use google maps and be clever from which street side you take the taxi. Sometimes simply by walking for 2 minutes you can safe 15 of traffic making turns by taxi.
J’espère que je te pouvais aider avec ces conseilles .