In this section locals and expats living in Istanbul share their Istanbul experiences…
Emir Mutlu, 25, Account Strategist, living in Istanbul since 2010
Why I love Istanbul: The most amazing part of İstanbul is the harmony it offers, east and west. Combination of the history it has and the European lifestyle make it a unique city. It never sleeps, you can always find something interesting. One day you want to try a new trendy place and the other day just enjoy the view of Bosphorus.
My perfect day: My perfect day starts with having a breakfast in Rumeli Hisar’ı. There are many places that you can have a good brunch but my favorite spot is Kale. I like to go there at noon and taste the rich Turkish style breakfast to make a great start to a day. The next stop is the Starbucks in Bebek! I love to grab a coffee with a friend and chat by enjoying the view. If the weather is good, I like to walk from Bebek to Ortaköy to smoke a Sischa in Ortaköy Kahvesi. If you can get a table in the top floor you will have an amazing view of Bosphorus and Ortaköy Mosque. Then I like to go to Taksim just to walk on İstiklal Caddesi, check the shops, lose myself in the crowd. When I start to feel hungry, Midpoint Beyoglu is a good option to have a nice dinner. But not only to eat, you can also try the various kind of cocktails they have to end your night in a good mood.
My favourite restaurants: When it comes to going out to eat, there is no limit in İstanbul. You can find anything based on your preferences, from Mexican restaurant to Japanese. If you just want to try a local taste, Günaydın is one of the well known restaurants where you can taste various kind of kebaps. If you are a fan of seafood, I would recommend you Park Fora, one of the best places to eat fish and many different mezzes. If you are looking for a place with international cuisine and cozy environment, my choice would be House Cafe in Ortaköy.
Shopping recommendations: In terms of shopping, there are always new options you can try. There are 114 shopping malls in İstanbul and the number continue to increase! If you love fashion and willing to spend money, you should check İstinye Park where you can find all the luxury brands. Also Kanyon is a good option for those who likes the variety of shops in a mall but also likes to do shopping open-air. If you are looking for more cost efficient options you can go to Beşiktaş Bazaar on Saturdays or just check the stores on İstiklal Caddesi that you may find really good stuff for reasonable prices.
Going out: In a city which never sleeps, you have infinite options! You can go to Asmalımescit to do bar hopping and take some shots or if you feel fancy, you can go to Kuruçeşme where you can find many clubs like Anjelique and Reina. I like to start a night with the cocktails of Kafe Pi or with the shots of Tektekçi. Do not be seduced by the variety of drinks and try everything in those places otherwise you would end the night early! If the crowd of Asmalımescit does not appeal you, you can just go to Cihangir and spend a peaceful night with your friends in places like Symirna. If you are looking for a lounge for pre-club, you can find many of them in Bebek and Nişantaşı.
Day trip destinations: Moda, Beşiktaş, Bebek, Ortaköy are nice destinations to enjoy the day with your friends especially if the weather is good. In summer you can go to Kilyos to swim and sunbathing. You can go to Heybeli Ada or Büyük Ada to spend a quiet and peaceful day.