Istanbul Recommendations – Tips & Places To Go

Hey there! :wave:

Gonna spend a couple of weeks in the city and was wondering if any of you have some tips around the city. Mostly interested in record shops, venues with live music, bars, etc. Anything that’s worth visiting really. Thanks!!

Cheers,
Aficionado

I love the city and spent a lot of time in Kadıköy on the Asian side. Loads of great food, cafes and record shops.

Good guide for record shopping across the city

Çiya Sofrasi In Kadıköy for food is 🤌

Highly recommend getting the ferry across the Bosphoros at sunset too. And the Golden Horn area is good for food, drink, markets, etc.

1 Like

Wow, thank you so much @Discophrenia ! Will definitely check :smiley:

2 Likes

There’s also the usual tourist stuff that’s a good day out. Hagia Sofia, Basilica Cistern are amazing.

1 Like

Great city been a few times with work and always stay near the old airport as that is near company we deal with. Great for shopping and café, restaurants and very good… Visited one roof top bars, view was amazing, music was that forgettable melodic woomoon organic scarf house, drinks were very expensive and the ex pats were as annoying as anywhere else in the world like this. :sweat_smile:

Yeah alcohol is the most expensive part, but you have to get on the Lions Milk (Raki). The food is amazing and cheap.

1 Like

Tuborg and Tuborg Malt in all local bars is good and cheap

Try reading a few books and maybe stalking a street food blog. I’m sure there’s gonna be plenty of good music to go around cuz of the synonymous historical retroactive blog post - though I’m not personally there to greet you. It’s cool though, I wouldn’t have anything to tell you about Istanbul, though I think it’s cool to skip town every once and a while. Hope you have an amazing fucking time! CHEERS!!!

Here’s a small piece I wrote for a website, but never got published. I hope it is of some use.

Istanbul is one of those cities for which there are simply not enough meals in the day. Such is the quality and diversity of the food on offer that you will have to invent a few of your own to squeeze in between the standards. While the culinary offerings are certainly an appealing draw, the palpable sense of history and diverse array of cultural heritage adds to the allure and the city is home to a multitude of historically significant sites alongside the numerous kahvehans and kebapçıs and lends itself kindly to aimless meandering.

Canım Ciğerim

This longstanding restaurant specialises in skewers, with the lamb’s liver option being of particular renown. Grilled and served simply with slender sheets of lavash, a selection of herbs, thinly sliced onions sprinkled with sumac and the ubiquitous chopped salad esme. Wrap as you wish and wash down with a copper mug of ayran.

Dönerci Engin’in Yeri

For many, the döner kebab holds connotations of late night food desperation but in this city they are invariably prepared with an additional degree of love. This slip of a joint came highly recommended by a local friend and apparently has the endorsement of one of Turkey’s most revered food critics. Succulent, seasoned meat is sliced from spit and served in bread with a little tomato, onion and parsley.

Bereketzade Mahallesi, Okçu Musa Cd. 2, Beyoğlu

Ulaş Baharat

While the huge markets have extensive spice selections, a trip to this carefully curated shop will likely provide you with a fresher range and more personalised service. Little English is spoken but the staff are happy to offer guidance where required. Pick your pastes and spices and have them vacuum packed for easy transportation. Grab a beer in one of the nearby bars afterwards and watch the flamboyant fishmongers shouting and slinging their wares.

Güneşli Bahçe Sokak 18, Kadıköy

Karaköy/ Galata

Given its scale, Istanbul can be a little daunting when deciding upon a base. I got lucky with a random apartment choice close to Galata Tower. The main arteries in the surrounding area can get a little busy, but it’s easy to escape the crowds by slipping along one of the many side streets. It is also a short stroll down to the ferries that will transport you along the Bosphorus.

The Tower Pub

The Tower Pub successfully showcases the simple trifecta for pub success: exceptionally friendly staff, cold beer and an eclectic soundtrack (liberally peppered with Prog Rock on my visits). As an added bonus it has a dartboard and seems to stay open well into the night.

Tarihi Karaköy Balık Lokantası

Hidden away amongst a clutch of hardware shops, this hole in the wall seafood specialist is not easy to find but well worth the hunt. You will be offered a bowl of a fine fish soup to start which you should most definitely accept. The clipped menu offers a small selection of fresh fish, including exceptional sea bass baked in parchment paper and grilled carefully over the coals.

Arap Cami Mahallesi, Tersane Caddesi & Kardeşim Sokak Grifin Han D:45/A
Beyoğlu

Lades 2

If you happen to wake in a rakı induced fug, this old school canteen holds the key to getting you back on track. They specialise in menemen, best described as Turkish scrambled eggs, cooked with onions, peppers and tomatoes. Ask for a side of cheese and olives and some honey-drizzled kaymak (clotted cream), wash down with plenty of black tea and you will be set to face the day.

Katip Çelebi Mahallesi, İstiklal Caddesi, Sadri Alışık Sokak, 11, Beyoğlu

Erylimaz Pide Salonu

Do I really need to explain the lure of a place serving piping hot pide 24 hours a day? Essentially a Turkish pizza, the dough is rolled to order, best topped with meat and cheese and should be garnished with plenty of the pickled green chillies found at your table.

Yüksek Kaldırım Caddesi, 2 Bereketzade, Beyoğlu

Privato Cafe

Cloistered away along a quiet cobbled side street, this cute cafe serves an excellent rendition of the traditional Turkish breakfast spread - an ample succession of small plates including local cheeses, homemade preserves and much more that is abundant enough to share.

Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı

I was initially a little reticent about my induction into the hamam experience, but I had no need for concern. Though recently and thoughtfully renovated, the original building, constructed over 500 years ago, retains an ancient charm alongside the airy architecture. The potentially daunting process is easily navigated by the uninitiated thanks to the gentle guidance of the staff.

4 Likes

Sick!!! Honestly I was left wondering about fish soup but at least you’re not leaving anything up to the imagination in between meals! Also - you speak TWO languages dude. Congrats!

1 Like

Search for a good breakfast spread and you will be set up for the day :fried_egg:

1 Like

Thank you so much @hungreyboy ! I will definitely check those places out.

1 Like

Thanks for the tips peeps! I will also give an update if I find something interesting and see if someone can also benefit from it! Peace :love_letter:

1 Like

Our guide said if you earn $3 a day in Istanbul you will not go hungry, even the homeless people are sweeping, collecting rubbish ect. No one begging just doing there bit to eat and survive… Great city