This post is not very useful if you’re planning your first visit to Istanbul and as this is MY blog it is a highly personalized itinerary but last month I had 2 days to spend in Istanbul without the babies so here is how I spent it:
Arrival 8pm, drive directly to Mikla restaurant’s rooftop bar (on top of Marmara Pera hotel in Beyoglu) Mikla has the advantage to have 360 degree views where you can see the old and new Istanbul standing on one spot. The historic peninsula looked stunning at sunset as well as the brilliantly lit business district on the opposite direction.
Dinner at Mikla. The food is very good here, very skillfully prepared. The sommelier was very happy to discuss with us the new Turkish wines we were not familiar and let us try our shortlist. The Corvus Blend no4 was indeed excellent. The service though is hit and miss and non attentive. After dinner we took a stroll in Asmalimescit and as much as I love this area, in the last 12 month it has exploded into all the streets around it and got sooooooo crowded we decided not to stay for drinks.
Next morning, after a visit to the obligatory hairdresser to achieve a more groomed look expected of Istanbul ladies, lunch in Bebek to the lovely Kirinti (see my post on Bebek!) The weather was very hot and humid so decided to spend a couple of hours shopping in Kanyon mall which turned into all afternoon, most of the time to be spent in Harvey Nichols and Vakko,
Then metro to Osmanbey, came out of the Pangalti exit and made our way to Nisantasi for a stroll and coffee but ended up eating an early supper in Grissini’s cool garden. Nisantasi, specifically around Abdi Ipekci street and the newly pedestrianized Atiye sokak has gone under a great makeover, with proper pavements, limited valet parking blocking the narrow roads and much more pleasant walking experience.That evening the sunset drinks were taken at the roof of Swissotel where we were staying. Really beautiful views and you can have dinner here as well. After dinner the night was completed in Nu Teras in Beyoglu, again soaking in the wonderful views.
Third and last day: Breakfast in Tunel in House cafe, just at the entrance of Sofyali Sokak. Predictably delicious.
Walk along Istiklal Street, checking the new Salt gallery and some bookshops, then turn right into Galatasaray sokak and down the hill into Cukurcuma. Cukurcuma is a great bohemian neighbourhood of windy cobblestone hilly streets, old buildings and lots and lots of antique, second hand and quirky art and fashion shops. We continued on to Cihangir where there are many beautiful small cafes to spend a lazy afternoon in. But we hailed a taxi and went downhill to Tophane for Istanbul Modern museum. The museum has an excellent terrace cafe and restaurant where you have one of the best waterside views of the Bosphorous, the Asian side and Sultanahmet peninsula. The permanent and temporary exhibitions were very interesting and has change loads since my last visit so it is always worth visiting again.
Running out of time we took a taxi to the airport, checked in our bags and took another taxi to the lovely Beyti restaurant in Florya, 10 minutes from the airport. This is an Istanbul institution, situated in a very elegant villa/konak and serves very high quality meat dishes (do not call them kebaps, My Beyti would be most offended) and a couple of very well chosen Turkish accompaniments such as vegetable dishes, begendi (hot aubergine puree) ic pilav (a tasty rice dish) and mouth watering desserts. This restaurant has been host to so many government heads around the word and celebrities they have no space left on their walls in the foyer for the photos and the gifts.
For me this was an ideal way to spend 2-3 days in Istanbul, visiting old favourites and discovering new ones (Atiye sokak in Nisantasi that I will write in more detail) eating, drinking and shopping.
Here are some web addresses :