Locals Share Their Istanbul Experiences – Görkem Gül

Image of the square and mosque in Ortaköy, Istanbul.

by Erlend Geerts

in Locals Share

Every month we ask an Istanbul local the same ten questions. This way you can hear firsthand what they love and hate about the city, and learn about the best places to wine, dine and shop in town. Today Görkem Gül, aged between 26-35, and working as an Administration Specialist, shares his Istanbul secrets.

1. Where do you live, and what makes your neighborhood special?

I live in Ortaköy. It’s a vibrant, old town with car-free narrow, cobbled streets and low-rise houses painted in pastel colors. Ortaköy lacks real sightseeing spots, but has a famous Sunday market and a pretty Bosphorus waterfront square next to the Mecidiye Mosque. It’s also a hub for Istanbul’s nightlife.

2. What does a perfect day in Istanbul look like for you?

Obviously it should be a sunny day, preferably in a less crowded area where I can enjoy sipping a nice glass of wine.

Interior of the Chora Church or Kariye Museum in Istanbul, Turkey.

One of many mosaics in Chora Church.

3. Where would you take first time Istanbul visitors to?

I wouldn’t take them to one of the classics first, but instead introduce my visitors to the Chora Church or Kariye Musuem, followed by a nice stroll in Galata.

4. Do you have any shopping preferences and/or secrets?

I don’t have any real preference. I enjoy taking the path less traveled and finding hidden corners.

5. What is according to you the best souvenir people should take back home?

Is there any better gift to take back home than a nice book about Istanbul?

6. What is your favorite restaurant, and why?

That would be Münferit. The serve excellent mezes as well as excellent meat and fish dishes. I also love the funky decoration and their exquisite wine list.

7. What Turkish dish should visitors really try out?

Can it be a desert? I that case I would go for Baklava.

8. What is your favorite drink, and the best place to order it?

I love plum wine with soda. It is served best at Itsumi Original Japanese Cuisine in 4.Levent.

Inside Roxy Club in Istanbul, Turkey.

Party time at Roxy Club

9. What is your favorite bar or night club?

I enjoy go to Roxy, not far from Taksim square. The crowd is easy-going and they have disco-dance nights on weekends. They also play nu-jazz, rock and latin.

10. What do you love and/or hate about Istanbul?

Oh, answering that question would make me write a novel I guess.

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