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 Seçil Erdoğan, aged between 26-35 and active in the service sector, shares her Istanbul secrets.
1. Where do you live, and what makes your neighborhood special?
I live with my family in a suburb but I spend a lot of my time in the city center. My favorite places of Istanbul are Cihangir, Galata, Nişantası and Bebek. In Cihangir and Galata you feel the historic beat of the city. It is fantastic to walk with a camera in these areas. Nişantası is best for shopping (unless you prefer a mall, then it is İstinye Park). Bebek is the best place to enjoy the Bosphorus on a summer night.
2. What does a perfect day in Istanbul look like for you?
A perfect day starts with a delicious breakfast in Bebek. Then I spend my time in Cihangir and Galata to visit some design shops and art galleries. At lunch have some coffee and cake in a local cafe. For dinner I’d probably go to a fish restaurant. In Istanbul we are so lucky to have so many nice fish restaurants in different areas of the city. Nowadays, I like Uskumru on the Asian side (read on for more details).
3. Where would you take first time Istanbul visitors to?
I would take them first to the old town, Sultanahmet, to visit the most famous sightseeing spots. Then, I would introduce them to Cihangir to let them experience the real Istanbul way of life. And to top it off, I’d take them for a boat trip on the Bosphorus.
4. Do you have any shopping preferences and/or secrets?
I do my shopping in Maçka. Yargıcı and Mapa are excellent Turkish (women’s) clothing brands for good prices. Try Desa if you’re looking for leather.
5. What is according to you the best souvenir people should take back home?
I prefer something that has Istanbul’s profile picture on it. Another nice souvenir would be Turkish coffee. There are small coffee packs for sale in most markets.
6. What is your favorite restaurant, and why?
For fish Poseidon and, my current favorite, Uskumru. To reach Uskumru, you should go to Rumeli Hısarı by taxi first. Then, call the restaurant and they will pick you up from there. Why? Because you’ll go to the restaurant by boat, a fantastic 5 minutes Bosphorus ride. The food is really delicious. Try the tomato salad and grilled, not fried, calamari. Enjoy!
For delicious mezes followed by fresh fish or various meat dishes, check out Münferit in Galatasaray, not too far from Istiklal Caddesi. They serve excellent wine and traditional food.
7. What Turkish dish should visitors really try out?
Visitors should try our different mezes. And of course the various cheeses Turkey has to offer.
8. What is your favorite drink, and the best place to order it?
I love to have a wine in the local wine houses near Galata.
9. What is your favorite bar or night club?
I dance the night away in Anjelique, located by the Bosphorus in Ortaköy.
10. What do you love and/or hate about Istanbul?
I love everything Istanbul has to offer, but hate the traffic.
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