Can’t decide between a holiday to Asia and a holiday Europe?
Well then, Turkey is the place for you.
For a country that has been inside of three separate Empires and now straddles two continents, it sure has managed to
keep it classy preserve much of its rich culture. The “cultural capital” Istanbul definitely has a great many tales to tell (if this dirt could talk, huh?) and a whole lot of history held within its 5,343 km², that.is.for.sure.
It also has a whole lot of a good time held within its 5,343 km² – and so, in this Smirnoff Start Pure City Guide, stylist and fashion consultant Ilkin Kurt takes us back to her magnificent city and tells us where to go. You will also find the recipe for an ‘Istanbul Passionfruit Martini’ included below. Which, obviously, sounds like dreams.
“Istanbul itself, is a harmony. Our roots come from the East but we face towards the West. We have a great mixture of cultures; I love all of these influences for the opportunity they provide for us to harmonise them in our own way. Each day I discover something new. It’s the music, food, history and people that make here insanely addictive. Well, what can I say, we all are crazy in love with Istanbul…”
Address: Serdar-I Ekrem Caddesi 27/A Galata,Beyoglu (European Side)
Abdülkadir Noyan Sokak Yali Apartman? No:8/2 Erenköy (Anatolian Side)
Phone: (+90) 0212 243 07 17
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10am-9pm
If you are into fashion and wondering about what is happening Turkey-side, Building is the place to check out. Such a creative store that gathers innovative and upcoming Turkish designers items; you can also get local mags (mostly free ones), which are full of inspiration and fresh minds.
Address: Firüzaga Mahallesi, Yeni Çarsi Caddesi 19, Taksim, Beyoglu
Phone: (+90) 0212 252 50 67
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 7pm-1am, Saturday and Sunday 7pm-3am
This is a cosy place for dinner, late dinner and bar/nighttime entertainment. But to me, Münferit is the nightlife hotspot on the weekend. It’s where you will get the best Passion Fruit Martini, the best music and a wonderful atmosphere to start off a big night!
Address: Bankalar Caddesi Voyvoda Sokak 2/1 Karaköy Meydan
Phone: (+90) 0212 249 77 12
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 10pm-3am
Do you like Jazz? Well, I do! Well-known Turkish saxophonist and composer Ilhan Ersahin owns the very famous jazz club “Nublu” in New York, as many of you would know. A few months ago the new Nublu Istanbul said ‘hello’ to Jazz fans and since then has been getting so hip! Great performances, lovely staff and a cosy atmosphere.
Address: Serdar-? Ekrem Caddesi No. 31/A Galata
Phone: (+90) 0212 252 74 88
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 8am-12am
For the locals of the area this is the usual stop for lunch, coffee break, or the entire day. Reminds me of Kawa in Surry Hills actually. You always bump into someone from the art, photography or fashion industries. Owner Yonca Akçay gives ceramic workshops and they also sell small, cute stuff that you buy and/or admire. Best spot for coffee breaks around Galata.
Address: Kemanke? Caddesi, Galata Sarap ?skelesi Sokak Süha Fazl? Han No.8 D.3 Karaköy
Phone: +90 (0212) 243 3948
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am-7pm
I love everything about Istanbul’74’s art space. The building is 150 years old and is one of Istanbul’s best traditional restaurants. ‘Kadiköy Lokantas?’ is located on the first floor.
Their collaborations with well-known names in culture, art and fashion from around the world makes the place quite popular. It also help that their contemporary works and exhibitions are breath-taking (most recently: Waris Ahluwalia’s “House of Waris” fine jewellery exhibition was ab fab).
Address: Alibaba Türbe Sokak No:25 Nurosmaniye, 34440
Phone: +90 (0212) 526 3070 – 71
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am-7pm
This list can’t be completed without mentioning the Grand Bazaar; everything around there is just magical and very Ottoman. It is a huge place to check out but this trio of destinations (same owner different concepts) is a perfectly fine way to experience the whole thing: get the perfect coffee at Fes Cafe whilst being surrounded by beautiful retro decorations, buy beautiful handmade organic soaps and bathroom accessories from Hamam and soft handmade fabrics, scarves and pashminas from Abdulla. Bonus: you will unconsciously be picking up a world of knowledge on the history of Istanbul as you go.
Address: Faik Pasa Yokusu no: 53-55 Çukurcuma
Phone: +90 (0212) 245 65 68
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am-7pm
Walking through the streets of Çukurcuma, you will come across unassuming great antique and vintage clothing shops, small little cafes (must go: Holly Cafe for freshly baked cakes and homemade bitter lemonade alfresco) and bohemian artists.
Varak Evi is one of the oldest shops around Çukurcuma. Their frame and mirror styles are quite unique and marvelous. They have a range of antique ones as well, of which I am dying to own.
Address: Caferaga Mah. Güneslibahçe Sok. 48/B Kadiköy
Phone: +90 (0216) 336 3013
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 11am-10pm
Hungry? Chief Musa of Ciya has an incredible knowledge of foods, especially Ottoman cuisine. Each dish has a interesting story which will give you goosebumps. The place is quite special to me because Chief Musa cooks ‘Forgotten Dishes’ made from Turkish ingredients you barely find anywhere outside of Anatolia and Balkans. Give the eggplant or tomato deserts a chance, they are both fantastic and will make you ‘wow!’ Also, the meatballs with cherry sauce. Yummy!
Address: Asmali Mescit Mh. Istiklal Caddesi No:136, 34430
Phone: +90 (0212) 377 4200
E-Mail: info@ saltonline.org
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 12noon-8pm, Sunday 12noon-6pm
Well, I don’t know quite how to describe SALT. It is not a museum, art or architectural space, but a venue that stands for innovation. Different stories, creative minds and innovative ideas. It is definitely a must-see place. The building is huge and contains a bistro, a walk-in cinema, a roof-top terrace garden and a magical view. All in one.
Sakip Sabanci Museum
Address: Sak?p Sabanc? Cad. No:42 Emirgan 34467
Phone: +90 (0212) 277 22 00
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10am-8pm
Spectacular Bosphorus-facing SSM, converted from a 19th-century waterfront villa, is enough to make your day. Lunch at Müzedechanga, designed by Istanbul’s hippest architects, Autoban, and afterwards a nice visit to the museum to check out Ottoman pieces or Monet’s drawings. On sunny days you can enjoy the terrific garden.
Please enjoy, an artist’s impression of modern day Turkey:
Words by Ilkin Kurt.