Istiklal Caddesi & Çukurcuma
Have your cab drop you at the Marmara Pera Hotel / Mes¸rutiyet Cad. / home to the knockout views of bar and diner Mikla (see Rest./Smart). With your back to the hotel entrance, you have three options. Historic Pera Palace is just across the road on your left at #52; swing by room 101 to see the famed Atatürk Museum Room (open to all, call to check times). Or, The Pera Müzesi at #65 / 334 9900 / peramuzesi.org.tr / is to the right and a 100m stroll along Mes¸rutiyet (past #107e Misela’s / miselaistanbul.com / luxe bags and purses); pop in for Turkey’s most famous painting: Osman Hamdi Bey’s ‘The Tortoise Trainer’. Or, if you want to get straight to retail, shoot up the little alley that’s to your right (next to the Peak Hotel), and trot up to Istiklal Cad. Alrighty, here it is, the big ol’ Grand Rue de Pera (think London’s Oxford St.). The stores here are mostly of little interest, but look up as you walk, as the majesty is all in the architecture. Head left up Istiklal Cad.; at #314 is Pasabahçe¸ / 244 0544 / for good, cheap and cheerful Turk glass homeware (amongst some dross). Exitit Pasabahçe¸ left up Istiklal Cad., over on the right at #389 is Robinson Crusoe Bookstore (see V. Useful). Now amble for a few mins to Misir Apartment at #163 to find 360 (see Bars). Hop across to SALT at #136 (see Art) Istanbul’s foremost arty party space, then push on to #122a for Koska / 244 0877 / a Turkish institution for the best halva selection. Further down on the right are the imposing gates of the Galatasaray Lycée. If you’re Hank Marvin (starvin’), you have two options. Turn right before the Lycée, and down Yeni Çarsi¸ Cad. then an immediate right into Tosbag˘a Sok. for salads and sarnies at Kafe Ara / #8a / 245 4105. It’s a hipster institution, inspired by Turkey’s most celebrated photographer Ara Güler. Or, head on and opp. the Lycée to find Çiçek Pasaji (Flower Passage). Just before it is little alley, Sahne Sok., slip left down here into the market redolent with fruit, veg, fish, caviar, honeycomb and lots of resident moggies. Take the first left and you’ll come across the lovely old Sütte deli, or continue and take the first right into Nevizade Sok., a street full of fab little authentic places for meze (see Rest./Relaxed). Refreshed? Head back to Çiçek Pasaji, exit on Istiklal Cad. and turn left to find label Mabel emporium Demirören at #54 / demirorenistiklal.com / and hip hotel Mama Shelter (see Accom.). Now, it’s back down to Çiçek Pasaji where diagonally opp. is little alley Kartal Sokag˘i. Whisk down here round to the end and turn right onto Turnacibasi¸ Sok. On the right at #16 you’ll find MOR / 292 8817 / for chunky, ethnicky, shab-chic bronze and enamel jewels, then zip on to the end to find Tarihi Galatasaray Hamami / 249 4342 / if you fancy a good steamy pummelling, the local way. Carry on left and head down the street and you’ll find the great local vibe and various bric-à-brac bibble bobble of the bohochic Çukurcuma enclave. On the left at #49 is cute 49 Çukurcuma for delish coffee and cakes, and at #41b is Nostalgie, a small, but excellent showroom of vintage and retro iconic furny, décor and old toys.
Now take the next right into Faik Pasa¸ Yokusu¸ to find Koçgiri at #3 for retro chairs and lamps. Opp. at #1 is the atelier of designer Suzanne Simon / 244 9663 / for made-to-order kaftans and shirts in Ottoman-inspired patterns; and interiors star Hakan Ezer’s showroom at #5 (see Adv. Shop.) / both by appt. only. Step across the street to A La Turca at #4 / 245 2933 / and whip your purses out pronto for their ravishing collection of beautifully displayed kilims, eclectibles, ceramics, frames, sculptures, marbles, carvings and covetables, all in a stunning three-storey house – be sure to check out the huge collection of urns and jugs in the atmospheric kitchen basement. Dip in next door at #6 Hall / 292 9590 / for their fab collection of furny, then ring the bell to go up to 4/F for funky, off-the-wall sculptures and art by ceramic artist Birsen Canbaz / 245 0434 / birsencanbaz.com. Pop back down to The Works at #6 / 252 2527 / fleaworks.com / for an array of travel-related memorabilia, old luggage, even bicycles and propellers. Further down Faik Pas¸a Yokusu¸ is Pied de Poule at #19/1 / 245 8116 / a charming stash of vintage galwear hats and shoes, and #19 Modern Tarih / 292 7296 / moderntarih.com / an ace emporium of antique and mod-Asian-ish furniture. Serdar Ögecan next door at #33 / 245 9356 / has a disarming smile and a not undelightful collection of chandeliers amongst other antiques. Further down on the left is little lane Haciog˘lu Sok., where at #1a, tasty meatballs await at simple, homely Çukurcuma Köftecisi / 245 0833. Carry on to find Kamer Kiraç at #3 / 252 5413 / kamerkirac.com / on the cnr with Çukurcuma Cad. who’ll be friendly and eager to show you their Ottoman-inspired jewellery. Bear left up the little rise and at #10a is swank Galeri Artist Cukurcuma / 251 9163 / showcasing contempo Euro art. Next on the right is Altipatlar Sok. with Samdan Antiques on the corner / 245 4445, always worth a look for lovely ornate antique doors, lamps and heirloom whatnots. Retrace to Faik Pasa¸ Yokusu,¸ turn left to cont., when you meet the T-junction, turn right onto Hayriye Cad. and round the cnr on the left is artsy garb at #18a Buka / 244 7735. You’ve got to be parched as a parrot by now. No worries. Step next door to relaxed Cezayir / 245 9980 / for joe, a bite and a wee in an airy, saffrony salon. Ok, options. Charmant, SoHo-esque Galata and Karaköy (see Activities) are just a hop, skip and jump away, so exiting Cezayir left, take a left and trundle down the winding steps of Cezayir Sok., turn right into Bostanbas¸i, then left into Bog˘azkesen, and follow it all the way down to Istanbul Modern (see Activities). Rooftop sips alert! Alternatively, exit left and bear right onto Yeni Çars¸i Cad., and if you’ve made an appt., detour immediate left into Nur-i Ziya Sok. for Asli Tunca (see Adv. Shop.). If not, and it’s nearing the magical cocktail hour, you can continue on Yeni Çarsi¸ Cad. back to the Galatasaray Lycée on Istiklal Cad. Stroll down Istiklal Cad. to nearby panoramic 360 (see Bars) to sneak in a sunsetter sip, or carry on a few mins to Leb-i-Derya on Kumbaraci Yokusu¸ (see Bars). Or, for the best views of all, pootle on back to where you started at the beginning of the itin. for Mikla (see Rest./Smart), or NuPera / NuTeras / Mes¸rutiyet Cad. 67 / 245 6070 / nupera. com.tr / and Moreish / 295 6089 / at the NuPera complex – a sixty-second walk from Mikla. So cocktailvenient!