1. Homemade Aromaterapi
Once a small boutique in the charming Kuzguncuk, Homemade Aromaterapi and its 100% natural beauty products have come a long way. The local boutique now has stores in the upscale Nisantasi neighbourhood of Istanbul as well as the coastal area of Alsancak. Customers will have a really hard time choosing from their stellar range of products, which includes cold-pressed essential oils, natural deodorant with rose and geranium, lavender and rosemary facial cream, aromatherapy shampoo and conditioner and much more. The boutique also has a men’s care line and hosts regular workshops covering aromatherapy and all its heavenly benefits.
Only open on Thursday and Friday nights for walk-ins, this restaurant transports you back in time, specifically to Istanbul in the 1930s. A glorious speakeasy, SalonCuma is given an elegant vibe of yesteryear by antique objects and furnishings, with excellent cocktails to match. This outfit also has a bespoke private events space that’s available for booking. Come by and celebrate an intimate dinner, anniversary or a birthday while enjoying the ambience.
The talented chef Pinar Tasdemir, who has worked at some of Istanbul’s most prestigious fine-dining institutions, has finally opened her very own place. Tucked away on a side street in the beautiful Bosphorus coast neighbourhood of Yenikoy, there’s something quite Nordic about the restaurant’s minimalist interior. The menu, however, is firmly Aegean and a bit experimental which comprises intriguing creations such as lionfish served with fennel and peach bisque; or sutlac (rice pudding) with vanilla and edible flowers.
4. Pilevneli Gallery
Hiding in plain sight, Murat Pilevneli’s second eponymous art gallery in Istanbul is housed in a former liqueur and cognac factory that was built by the French Modernist architect Robert Mallet-Stevens in the 1930s. The works of contemporary artists from Turkey and abroad are exhibited in a building sporting gorgeous Art Deco details and wide-open spaces flooded with plenty of natural light. Pilevneli’s first gallery in the Dolapdere district is also worth a mention because of its equally stunning architecture, completed by award-winning Emre Arolat Architecture in 2017.
5. Alaf Kuruçeşme
There was nothing very gourmet about Turkish street food until Alaf Kuruçeşme opened in the Kurucesme neighbourhood and took it upscale. In a modern dining room with a view of the Bosphorus, classic dishes are given a modern twist. For instance, the kokorec (chopped and spiced lamb intestines) – which is reinterpreted as a sumptuous burger with a brioche bun, avocado sauce, sumac, red onion and parsley. The menu is heavily influenced by the nomadic life, with dishes being prepared in a wood oven. During the day, the restaurant also has a casual eatery downstairs that serves a smaller daily menu of delicious gourmet street eats.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.
The information is accurate as of press time. For updated information, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
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SEE ALSO: Istanbul’s female-led restaurant revolution
This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine and updated on 30 March 2021.