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 Murat Avcı, aged between 36-45 and active in the press sector, shares his Istanbul secrets.
1. Where do you live, and what makes your neighborhood special?
I live in Beykent, Büyükçekmece. Compared to the city center the air is cleaner and the life style is more peaceful.
2. What does a perfect day in Istanbul look like for you?
A perfect day starts with a nice breakfast at Fenerbahçe Marina. After a short walk by the sea, I go to Kadıköy Çarşı and savor a cup of Turkish coffee at Fazıl Bey’in Türk Kahvesi. The rest of the day I spend on one of the Princess Islands accompanied with our national drink, rakı, and delicious fish varieties in a restaurant by the sea enjoying the unique scenery.
3. Where would you take first time Istanbul visitors to?
Hagia Sophia is a must for the cultural experience. For the scenery and the historical context, I advise a visit to Rumeli Hisarı or European Fortress. It is a fortress built in the 15th century on a hill at the European side of the Bosphorus. For more Bosphorus views together with fine examples of Turkish food, I can recommend Yıldız Technical University social facilities, Feriye Restaurant, and Leb-i Derya Restaurant.
4. Do you have any shopping preferences and/or secrets?
The arcades of Taksim, the shops on Bagdat Avenue (Asian side), Nuru Osmaniye, Grand Bazaar and the boutiques around the Taksim Tünel area.
5. What is according to you the best souvenir people should take back home?
A bottle of Yeni Rakı and a pack of Turkish coffee.
6. What is your favorite restaurant, and why?
Without a doubt Feriye Restaurant, for two simple reasons: you can enjoy the finest tastes of Ottoman cuisine while enjoying the breathtaking Bosphorus view.
7. What Turkish dish should visitors really try out?
This might sound a little off the track delicious: haricot beans (kuru fasulye) at Ali Baba Restaurant right across the Süleymaniye Mosque.
8. What is your favorite drink, and the best place to order it?
Yeni Rakı, and it is best appreciated at any place with a sea view.
9. What is your favorite bar or night club?
Bebek bar and Mute bar are my two favorites.
10. What do you love and/or hate about Istanbul?
I like the fact that many different cultures and civilizations have lived on this piece of land. And still it hosts a big variety of cultures. I also fancy the entertainment venues a lot.