Turkey (Part II) – Istanbul

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Airport: Ataturk Airport

Honestly, nothing to special to recommend it, but not the worst airport I’ve been in.

Where we stayed: Karakoy Rooms

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mh., Kemankeş Cd No:10, 34425 İstanbul

+90 212 252 5422

If I were handing out prizes for boutique hotels, it would go to Karakoy rooms. From the few posts we’ve done and the many hotels we’ve encountered – the competition is steep.

Karakoy still wins, in an effortlessly chic way that so few can replicate. How do they do it?

  • Keep it simple – decor is chic but not frivolous. Clean lines, neutral tones and the very best quality of everything.
  • Keep it small – the rooms are spacious but there are only about 10 of them. We stayed in the above suite, complete with a large screen TV, small dining area, a small well equipped kitchen and a sumptiousily large bed.
  • A personal touch – the manager met us at the door as soon as our taxi pulled up. Between her every effort to make the stay a success (fitting us in to the hotel restaurant next door and ensuring we
    could find our way around) made all the difference in the world.
  • Details, details, details – The rooms all had smalls perks – free bottled water refilled daily as well as fresh fruit. Excellent quality toiletries and the softest most breathable linens on the beds.
  • An amazing breakfast – exquisitely simple presentation, fresh ingredients and, while a set menu, different selections were presented daily.

Where we ate:

(I swear I’m not playing favorites. But its no surprise the first restaurant that made it on this list)

1. Karakoy Lokantasi

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mh., Kemankeş Cd No:37, 34425 İstanbul

(T) +90 212 292 4455 / (E) info@karakoylokantasi.com

 

Much like the hotel, its a stand alone sort of establishment. We ate here everyday for breakfast (which we’ve covered) and twice for dinner. Dishes that set it apart – fantastic and innovative selection of mezze, delicious Anatolian wines (mostly reds), fried calamari, squid and excellent steak.

2. The Port Shield

Ebusuud Caddesi No:2 Sultanahmet / İSTANBUL

Yes, I like pubs

Again, I’m a self admitted sucker for a good pub, and excellent chicken fingers.

3. THAT Kebab Stand

If you are standing facing the Galata bridge in front of the new Mosque. Look left from the corner. There is a kebab stand there. I cannot remember the name, but the owner went to Ohio State and they make phenomenal kebab wraps stuffed with meat, french fries, various pickled veggies and served with a plate of pickles and peppers. A word of caution, the peppers are not atomic until you eat a pickle. Order extra fanta to survive the heat.

What we saw:

There is so much to see in Istanbul. So so so so much. The below list is not comprehensive, but we enjoyed all of it.

  • Hagia Sophia (don’t be put off by the lines, it moves quickly)

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  • Roman Cistern

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  • Topkapi Palace

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  • Galata Bridge

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  • Archeological Museum

Ishtar gates

  • Taksim Square

Taksim square

Last but not least, allow me to recommend the Robinson Crusoe book store. A wonderful find on the stroll to Taksim.

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