When the crush of 14 million people (and what seems like an infinite number of rude taxi drivers) gets to you, Istanbul has a cure for what ails you: a peaceful ferry ride across the Bosphorus and a seat in the leafy garden at Viktor Levi wine house. The son of a fisherman, Viktor Levi started bringing back his favorite wines from the Aegean Islands more than a century ago, and his namesake restaurant, tucked into a side street in Moda in Kadiköy, now has more than a dozen house varietals, most under 100 lira. A meal by the fountain or inside the restored town house might inspire your own trip to Bozcaada, or just a return trip on the ferry.
Viktor Levi Wine House is a perfect getaway from the heat and madness of the Kadıköy streets. The garden is enveloped with greenery and if the timing is right there might be some kittens sleeping in a planter. The staff is pleasant, the wine selection is diverse and the beer is super cold. Don't forget to have sweets like this amazingly delicious tiramisu.