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Istanbul

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Ömer Avni Mh., İnönü Cd. No:50, 34427 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Topaz is regarded as one of Istanbul's most elite upmarket restaurants and it’s the place to be if you wish to celebrate a special occasion. From their terrace restaurant you can indulge in their degustation or a la carte menus whilst the lights...
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Gümüşsuyu Mahallesi, 34437 Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey
Warm, fragrant, and filling, these borek are typical Turkish quick eats. They can be stuffed with either ground spiced meat (occasionally with black currents and/or pine nuts) or a cheese and parsley mix. They are enjoyed best fresh out of the...
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Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Erzak Ambarı Sok. No:92, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Smaller than the Grand Bazaar but more intense, the Spice Market is equal parts tourist trap and necessary shopping stop for cooks and foodies. Meet the original spice girl at Ucuzcular (remember Area 51 to find her booth), one of the few...
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Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali The neighorhood’s best bakery is across the street from istanbul"Rodeo. They make goodlahmacun, something between an unrolled pita and a thin-crust pizza. Thepides, pizza-like baked breads, are also excellent.Lüleci Hendek Cd....
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Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
At the north end of the Galata Bridge, and just before the start of the seafood market, stands a small kiosk where a man grills mackerel filets for sandwiches. A few shakes of spices, some salad, a squeeze of lemon, and you're on your way to the...
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Mollafenari Mahallesi, Vezirhan Cd. No:18, 34120 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
When I'm in the mood for affordable home-cooked Turkish food in Sultanahmet, I head to Makarna Sarayı opposite the Column of Constantine near Çemberlitaş tram station. There are oodles of choices here, and you simply point and pick the dishes you...
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Rüstem Paşa Mah Tahmis Caddesi, Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Kalçin Sk. No:11, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The best spot for kebaps and kunefe with a view is Hamdi Restaurant. An easy walk from Rustem Pasa, across from the New Mosque, downhill from the Grand Bazaar and a stone’s throw from the Spice Bazaar, Hamdi’s view sweeps the Golden Horn with the...
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Alemdar Mh., İncili Çavuş Sk. No:15, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
On arrival to Istanbul, many tourists order the chicken şiş (chicken kebab) for a meal because it's familiar and safe, but they're really missing out on some of the best food in the world! I encourage anyone visiting Turkey to gastro-travel...
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Caferağa Mahallesi, Güneşli Bahçe Sk. No:43, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
One day, I dragged my travel companions—a German, a Turk, and two New Yorkers—to Kadıköy, a neighborhood on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, to dine at Çiya. Everyone was cranky and hungry by the time we found it, but I...
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Kadıköy/Istanbul, Turkey
While visiting Istanbul, take an afternoon trip across the Bosphorus to Kadiköy to stock up on food, sweets, and tea. The prices in this Istanbul neighborhood are at least half of those in the touristy Grand Bazaar and Spice Market. You'll also...
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Cihangir Mahallesi, Soğancı Sk. No:7, 34427 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
5.Kat (Floor 5), in Istanbul’s upscale Cihangir neighborhood, boasts a menu of gourmet cuisine and magnificent views of the Bosphorus in an elegant setting. The prices are a little more than what you pay elsewhere, but then there’s not...
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Mecidiye Mahallesi, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sk. 1-7, 34347 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
Reina, with its sublime ambience, elegant style, and idyllic setting, is the place to go to kick up some classy heels right on the Bosporus. Dress to impress, and come dine on a selection of international dishes at one of the four restaurants—...
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Mecidiye Mahallesi, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sk. 1/1, 34347 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
"Kumpir" is a baked stuffed potato served throughout the city. But the local "thing to do" is venture to Ortakoy near the first Bosporus Bridge to make your own and consume it by the water's edge. There's a number of kumpir stalls near the famous...
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Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
A city as ancient as Istanbul has many layers of history, and you’ll have to go below the surface to see the Basilica Cistern, the largest of the underground cisterns. Built in the sixth century for the Byzantine emperor Justinian, the...
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Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sk., 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The Galata Tower is one of Istanbul's most striking landmarks. The nine-story stone tower offers a panoramic vista of Old Istanbul and its environs. Save Galata for the end of the day, timing it so that you reach the top just in time for sunset...
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Sinanpaşa Mahallesi, Köyiçi Meydanı Sk., 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
One of my favorite foods in Turkey (and there are many) is a serving of fresh kaymak clotted cream, drizzled with honey, and spread on bread. You can buy it in the supermarket or find it in some breakfast spots, but everyone's favorite is Pando in...
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Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali The artist Mark Van Yetter and his wife, Ayça Odabasi, run this gallery around the corner from istanbul"Rodeo. Their art exhibitions are always free-spirited. Ali Hoca Sk. No. 4 Kat. 2, marquisedancehall.com As told to Lawrence...
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Kartal/Istanbul, Turkey
A multipurpose contemporary art center that opened in November 2011 in the Ottoman Bank building, Salt has a library with thousands of shelves of art publications—the most important, impressive collection in the city.—Sylvia...
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Asmalı Mescit Sk No:9, Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali My little avant-garde gallery does more than just hang art on the walls. We show performance art, too. We once had the multidisciplinary Turkish artist Cevdet Erek rubbing his hands along a carpet that was hung on a gallery wall....
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Asmalımescit Mahallesi, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:99, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
A cultural hub for Turkish and international art, Istanbul Modern opened in 2004 as a permanent home for the contemporary Istanbul Biennial. The 8,000-square-foot warehouse sits along the Bosphorus next to the Golden Horn, a historically important...
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Silivri, Istanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali The mosque here was built for an admiral who, they say, demanded that the architect Sinan build him ‘something like that,’ as he pointed across to the Aya Sofia. The complex also includes a newly renovated hammam where I take...
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Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi, Kemankeş Cd., 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The best restaurant in the Karaköy area is run by the sweetest owners, Oral Kurt and Aylin Okutan, and is rooted in the tradition of simple food and refined service. The Ottoman and Turkish menu includes dishes like hünkar...
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Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, Sofyalı Sk. No:18, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
A few blocks from Rodeo, Hiç is a shop where you can find beautiful ceramic tableware, Afghan and Turkish carpets, and contemporary crafts at reasonable prices.

As told by Rodeo art gallery owner Sylvia Kouvali to Lawrence Osborne. This...
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Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
This decadent palace, which overlooks the Bosphorus from the European side, holds great importance to Turkey. The late-19th-century sultans resided here and ruled the Ottoman Empire from here, and while the Turkish Republic's capital is in Ankara,...
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Istanbul, Turkey
One morning outside Sultanahmet I saw what I believe to be a suffi. He looked somewhat like a Turkish version of Santa Claus (which was odd because it was late December), but I don't really know what else he would be with that beard.
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İstiklal Cd., Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The great shopping street of more modern Istanbul, Istiklal Caddesi, is across the Bosphorus from the old Sultanahmet. It's packed with lovely sidestreets and shops.
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Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
According to Islamic tradition, only God can create images of holy beings, including angels and prophets. Therefore, when the Ottomans converted Chora Church into a mosque in the 16th century, they covered the 14th-century Byzantine mosaics and...
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Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
The Archaeological Museum, Museum of the Ancient Orient, and Museum of Islamic Art in the gardens of Topkapı Palace make up the trio of Istanbul Archaeology Museums. An array of permanent and temporary exhibits display items from sculptures and...
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Sultanahmet, Tevkifhane Sk. No:1, 34122 Sultanahmet/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Once Istanbul’s notorious prison, a lavish conversion in 1996 transformed this site, set amid the squiggle of lanes that radiate behind the colossal competing domes of the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, into the city’s landmark Four...
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Tomtom Mahallesi, İstiklal Cd. No:8 D:163, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
This elite rooftop restaurants is a popular place for locals to celebrate birthdays, milestones, and romantic moments. Called 360 for its magnificent 360-degree view of Istanbul, it's a great place to celebrate just being in Istanbul! Relax with a...
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No. /B, Kocatepe Mahallesi, Taksim Fırını Sk. No:25, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
In the heart of the city’s business district of Taksim, the Marti Istanbul Hotel is a thoroughly modern example of Istanbul’s contemporary face. Designed by Zeynep Fadillioğlu, the interiors balance both classic and contemporary...
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I had just left the Spice Bazaar behind me when I noticed the entrance to Yeni Camii (New Mosque). It was late afternoon, and I was already exhausted from a very long day of sightseeing. I wanted nothing more than to call it a day but I was...
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Cankurtaran Mh., Ayasofya Meydanı No:2, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The sun sets over Istanbul as I am coated head to toe with aromatic clay and served fresh fruit sprinkled with pistachios under the heavenly dome of a 457 year old hamam. Tenderly, my attendant washes me before lathering my body with olive oil...
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Cankurtaran Mah, Tevkifhane Sk. No:8, 34400 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
One of the things I adore about Istanbul is the ongoing discovery of hidden gems around the city. Not real gems, but rather, venues with spectacular features—a secret garden or a rooftop cafe with a gobsmacking, drop-dead-gorgeous view. These gems...
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Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
If these walls could talk they’d recite plans for military campaigns and tales of love, lust and betrayal that make this former residence and imperial seat of the Ottoman Empire so intriguing. Walk the dazzling tile-and-mosaic-lined...
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Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Get on the Turyol ferry across the Bosphorus for a budget friendly no frills tour offering excellent views of Istanbul. Departing every hour from Eminonu between 10am and 7pm, this simple 1.5 hour round trip cruises along the Asian and European...
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Cankurtaran Mh., Akbıyık Cd. No:26, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
In the early 1990s, a Greek family refurbished a charming Ottoman home and opened Albura on the cobbled streets of Akbıyık Caddesi. The quality had locals and travelers flocking, making Albura one of the most popular restaurants in Sultanahmet. In...
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Alemdar Mh., Ticarethane Sk. No:8, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Rumeli Cafe is an ideal location for dining while people-watching from the streetside terrace in the bustling Sultanahmet neighborhood. Summertime sees the opening of a rooftop dining area, where guests can gaze at the stars and glimpse at the...
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5, Mollafenari Mahallesi, Nuruosmaniye Cad. Armaggan No:41, 34120 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
From the fertile lands of Anatolia to gourmet kitchens around the world, Nar Lokanta is a restaurant with a gourmet shop that offers a range of natural products grown, produced and packaged to the highest international standards in Turkey. The...
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Arasta Çarşısı, Küçükayasofya Caddesi No:135, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Intricate textiles woven on looms handed down through generations. An array of laurel, olive, and lavender bath products and the hammered bowls to hold them. Silk shawls with which to drape the color of the Aegean in a graceful arc below bare...
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Beyazıt Mh., 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Soon after conquering Constantinople and defeating the Byzantines in 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II commissioned the beginnings of the Grand Bazaar to reinvigorate trade with the city. More than 550 years later, the bazaar is one of the oldest...
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Caferağa Mahallesi, Serasker Cad. 1/A, 34710 Kadiköy/Kadıköy/Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
"Let's meet for coffee if you're free," I wrote an expat friend before a recent trip to Istanbul. "I know just the place," she wrote back. We meet up at the Kadikoy ferry station and head toward the fish market. As we walk, she tells me she went...
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We turned to Istanbulite. The challenge: find local guides who could match wits with an enthusiastic 87-year-old history buff, with a walker nicknamed Intrepid, and a mission to put Byzantine, Ottoman and modern history in physical context on two...
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32, Caferağa Mahallesi, Güneşli Bahçe Sk., 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
With only 48 hours to spend in Istanbul, you really don't want to have a bad meal. Doing my research before we left, one place that kept turning up with names like "Best Meals of 2012," My Last Meal on Earth Would Be,"—plus recommendations from...
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Kalkan Mahallesi, İskele Sk., 07960 Kaş/Antalya, Turkey
Stylish, secluded Likya Gardens is a hideaway amid the cliffs of Kalkan, a humble old fishing town on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. Each of the seven suites has its own pool and a patio set on stilts, offering views of a crystal-blue bay and brightly...
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Middle East
Cleopatra bathed in the Antique Pool at Hierapolis--before a great earthquake knocked several pillars into the pool. Fed by natural spring, the warm water is said to have healing qualities. My kids and I enjoyed the bubbles; they stick to skin and...
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Pamukkale, 20190 Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey
Stroll barefoot past the cotton castles of Pamukkale, then wander the ancient ruins of the Hierapolis, before finishing the day soaking your cares and wrinkles away in Cleopatra’s thermal pool. It’s all possible in a long day trip from Istanbul....
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67060 Cappadocia AQ, Italy
When the wind is right and the weather permits. A balloon ride above the soapstone and basalt- the erosion at the hands of wind and water and time… so much time. And its passage, this otherworldly landscape of mountain caves and quiet air beckons...
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Aydinli Mah., Yavuz Sok. No:1, 50180 Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
When you travel to the Cappadocia region of Turkey you have to stay in a cave hotel. Sleeping in a room carved out of the area’s ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations is inherently cool. When you realize that your room is also literally cool—even in the...