03 September 2014
The Moment I fell in love with Istanbul was on an old cruise boat on the Bosporus. I was listening to the sound of the boat enginge & the water. I felt like I was in the center of a bowl and the city spread around me with the stunning white mosques spread evenly over its elevated surface. I was on the border of Europe & Asia - it hit me - I was in the crease of two continents enclosing me. The immensity was overwhelming. It was at that moment the prayers started - from each and every one of the mosques the praise of God resounded and enclosed me. I could feel the vibration and the pulse of the life in this city - I was captivated by its intensity.
Istanbul is huge - really huge. Theres no easy way to jump between locations. To travel Istanbul requires some planning - the distances can be extreme and the traffic at times crazy. Istanbul is a city that doesnt seem to end - it just outstretches itself until the horizon - like an ocean of civilisation, seemingly endless.
Here are my favourite places for Food & Sleep:
W Hotel - dark, stylish, with a great terrasse - the W Hotel manages to keep that Oriental touch alive & combine it with sleek modernity & design. The location is upscale & surrounded by many shops, cafes & easy going food places - making it nice just to stroll around the hotel neighborhood.
Mangerie - just the best brunchplace EVER - I'm a huge fan of the concept & food. Authentic delicious food, homely, cozy concept, great view, fantastic selection, artsy interior just build the base of its amazingness. I dedicated an own Blogpost to it - check it out.
Delikatessen - THE food place for all times of the day. Stylish interior & crowd, good athmosphere & yummy food made with much love to detail. I can't even start listing the amazing food they offer - the selection is huge. Its the kind of place where even the most pickiest of eaters will find a dish they like. Perfect for just spontaneous good eating.
Ulus 29 - the fine dining experience. Located high on the Hill with a stunning view over the Bosporus. Perfect place for romantic sunset dinners & to take in the beauty of Istanbul by night. Book a table outside when the weather is nice. Ulus 29 successfully combines the best of both local and international gastronomy & even offers a private room for special occasions & private dining experience. Its ambiance and beauty is outstanding & the menu mouthwatering. My Tipp: Order the Sorbet for dessert - made with liquid nitrogen at -180' straight at your table - spectacular!
Mimar Sinan Teras Cafe - hidden away in the backstreets of the Bazaar - there is a grungy door, that easily could be mistaken for the door to someones home. Labeled with a worn down red sign. Behind the door a long stair leads up around two stories & through a large room that looks like an abandoned cafeteria. On its outside I found the most gorgeous, huge terrasse with view on the Bosporus - so unexpected - a true, local, hidden away, gem of a place. With simple chairs & tables, not any fancy decorations - very basic - the place lived from the spirit good simplicity. This was where I had my ginger ice tea & turkish coffee & watched young local kids (I assume mostly students) meeting each other. Girls with their hair covered talking shyly to boys and completely forgetting to eat their ice cream so that it ended up completely melted in its glass. It melted my heart too & I could have stayed sitting there for hours to watch. I dont really know how I found my way in to this place, it was complete coiincidence - but I do know why this place found its way into my heart.
Istanbul is a city that I truly fell in love with. Its charm, its pulse, its energy, its possibilities.
I look forward to coming back.