EUROPEAN SIDE OF ISTANBUL

  1. TAKSIM: BEYOGLU: ISTIKLAL 
  • Directions: Taksim can be said to be the centre of Istanbul.  It's full of hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars, and some historical buildings and old houses. But, most important thing is that, if you can get yourselves to Taksim, you are 5 minutes walk away from Beyoglu neighbourhood, which has a street called ISTIKLAL CADDESI (ISTIKLAL STREET) . if you want to see the Galata tower as well, all you have to do, go to Taksim. Walk to Istiklal caddesi, and keep walking until the end of the street. This street is a long, long street full of shops, restaurants, bars, night clubs. When you come to the end, you can take the Tunnel (Tunel) and go to Galata Tower only a 5 min journey and very cheap. Like a very old style metro, it was the first metro system in Istanbul, dating back to 1800.  Go to taksim area by 3, 4 in the evening, and spend the rest of the day until really late good place for having a night out as well. You are pretty safe there and will find many things to do. In Istiklal Caddesi, there is a historical passage, called Cicek Pasaji. You've got to go there and eat!
  • Food: Taksim is full of restaurants on the street and good value for money. After that when it becomes night, just stroll down the streets in Istiklal, and go to bars which have tables all out. Also, there is a fast food restaurant called BORSA (it might not be open after 7 or 8 in the evening) near the Mcdonalds, and it does cheap Turkish cuisine in a fast food form.  You'll love it and will eat really cheap. You can get to choose from lots of varieties of hot and cold Turkish specialities laid in front of you. You will also see restaurants that do a ravioli kinda of pasta called MANTI (Turkish ravioli) -- eat it. It is the most traditional Turkish pasta, it is delicious, however, i would not recommend having MANTI if you are planning a big night out drinking, first it bloats you for the first hour and then makes you hungry again.  However if you eat it, put mint on it; it tastes better, mint will usually be on your table anyway.  Also usually places that sell that pasta will also be doing fresh sort of pancakes with meat or cheese in them. You'll see village women sitting in these restaurants doing them on the floor. They are called GOZLEME (Turkish pancake).  You will also see restaurants which will be showing their food in glass cabinets. GO in them as well, they are usually fairly cheap but really delicious.  You can also eat a Turkish kebab, called DONER (translation would mean "it turns", because the meat is being turned around and around all day).  You will see them usually near a window of a restaurant, a big chunk of meat hung on metal, and the chef will be carving it. The best way to eat it is with rice. But, as mentioned before, you have to go to Cicek passage and just sit down if you come to Beyoglu.  In that passage they sell mussels. They will be fried in batter and will be sold in bread with tartar sauce. These mussels are called MIDYE.  Also, if you go to Istanbul in winter, you will not miss the kids selling charcoal grilled chestnuts in carts on the roads, but some. In summer, you will also see men selling mussels with rice in them, on a tray on the streets. This is also called MIDYE (MUSSELS).


  • Nightlife:
  1. If you like to have a drink in a really nice bar, there is a bar called NUTERAS ( ROOF TERRACE BAR). It is a bar on a terrace on the roof, and you can have your drinks and watch the sunset or the night life. It is at the end of Istiklal near Pera Palace Hotel. Ask anyone where is Pera Palace hotel and go there, and ask the hotel to show you where is Nuteras -- it is opposite of the Hotel. When you come to the end of the Istiklal, it should be on your left. Definitely go there; it is popular between the young and middle age well-off generation of Turks, and food is served there as well. Also you might find foreign nationals that work in Istanbul to come and have nice drinks.  If you're looking for an authentic Turkish meal, don't eat there.  The food is dead good, but it's a bit expensive, and it is mostly international cuisine. You are in Istanbul. Eat in anywhere where you see Turks eating. Nice for romantic and refreshing drinks in open air, and you can see the city and Golden Horn lights with your loved one. Dress code is casual, however tasteful.  Phone number is 2456070.
  2. Partie Music Club This club is located in the middle of Istiklal street. It offers good pop music, live music and concerts. It's atmosphere brings you deep inside music world. You can let out all your power by dancing. Very good DJ -s. On the second floor you can enjoy concerts by sitting around the table with your friends. Most important is that this club is very safe. It is easy to go there and go away from there by taxi. It is very good music club in Istiklal.
  3. 360 is a bar -- again on top of a building -- where you can see 360 degree views of the Bosphorus. It is on the street of Istiklal; it should be on your left hand near a bank called Yapi Kredi, and Galatasaray High School. You must definitely go and have one drink, and maybe you and your loved one are going to fall in love with each other while you sip your wine or beer on this roof and feel lucky that you have read this article and remembered it.
  4. French Street:  Basically this is a street made in French style, and it is lovely. It is in Istiklal again and near the Galatasaray High School.
  5. Galata Tower: What is it? It is a very historic tower, which has a bar and restaurant. Make sure you go eat there one night and head back to a night club. They usually have live music, set menu, and belly dancers. Not pricy for foreigners either. You can sit outside in the summer too.
  • Safety:   You have to remember that Beyoglu or Istiklal is quite busy in all time of the day and night, so you've got nothing to worry about. However, it's best to stick to the main road and go to the little streets where you see many people. It's not recommended to explore the little dark streets where you don't see anyone around, because there is a reason there is no one around. Even though  Taksim and Istiklal are quite central, they are not the richest and safest of neighbourhoods. Again, though, you are quite safe, but like any main city keep your bag to yourself, and when you use a cashpoint put your money in your pocket and dont show it off; keep your passport with you in a safe bag or inner pocket. Don't give money to beggars, as they may be richer than they appear and many  belong to the mafia (they usually work for mafia leaders to bring money for them) -- this even applies to little kids that you'll see sitting on the pavement.


CHECK LIST:

go to: Istiklal. Cicek pasaji. Galata Tower.

Eat: DONER/MIDYE/MANTI/GOZLEME