Travel News: Exploring Istanbul
Discover a city filled with wonder through our in-depth travel guide.
If the words “Turkish fashion” don’t conjure images of delicately draped shirts, muted shifts and soft leather totes-if, that is to say, you had much more brocade in mind-then swing by Laundromat, an airy boutique at the base of the Galata Tower.
Co-owners Öykü Thurston and Yasemin Özeri have curated a lovely and wearable collection, drawn from their own creations as well as a roster of local talent. Their commitment to showcasing new designers means that the stock changes every three months.
Creature of comfort
Flanked by the glittering storefronts of Hermès, Prada, Burberry and Chanel, the Park Hyatt Istanbul Maçka Palas in Nisantasi is certainly worthy of Istanbul’s toniest address. And the hotel itself-a smartly restored art-deco building with stunning views of the Bosporus strait-is none too shabby, either.
Of course, to take full advantage, you’ll have to drag yourself away from what are unquestionably the most luxurious bathrooms in town, with their cavernous tubs, separate rain showers, filtered-water sinks and heated limestone floors. We found this to be a Herculean task.
Catch and release
It used to be impossible to score a seat at Fürreyya (Serdar-i Ekrem Sok. 2; 90-212-252-4853), Galata’s tastiest (if tiniest) fish house: The place had two tables. But now, after a recent expansion that upped the total to five, it’s incrementally easier o enjoy the exquisitely fresh seafood.
The star here is the terrific hamsi-small anchovies plucked from the Black Sea, dusted with cornmeal and pan-fried by the co-owner (who happens to look like a Turkish Kevin Kline)-but the balik durum, a wrap filled with grilled fish and caramelized onions, is a close second. And you can get it to go.
People-watching doesn’t get much better than on Istiklâl Caddesi: This three-kilometre pedestrian boulevard features an endless parade of Muslim women in bright head scarves, local teenagers in tight Mavi jeans and enthusiastically bromantic Turks.
There are hundreds of stores lining the street, including a Topshop outpost and the gorgeous Robinson Crusoe bookstore, but it’s the street food that shouldn’t be missed. We’re partial to Sabirtasi’s içli köfte stand, located across from the Yapi Kredi bank, where piles of bulgur-wheat shells packed with delicate meat and spices are waiting to be devoured.