Without a doubt, Karaköy has been the fastest changing neighborhood of Istanbul. Just a few years ago it was just the home of hookah cafes, hardware and mechanic shops, now it is one of the hippest areas with young locals as well as tourists crowding its streets everyday. With Galata Bridge sitting between Karaköy and Eminönü, the funicular Tünel connecting it to Istiklal Avenue, ferries to the Asian side, and the Karaköy tram stop which takes you to Kabataş or into the Old City, this neighborhood sits at a perfect location connecting many hubs of Istanbul to one another.

The streets of Karaköy can look different from one month to another. New cafes, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries pop up every week, making this an exciting neighborhood begging to be rediscovered frequently. The charm of it lies in its mix of the old and the new, the rugged and the modern. You will find a chic boutique next to a mechanic, or a pastry shop across from a historical church. A good day in Karaköy can be started with a rich breakfast at Namlı Gurme, a charcuterie and cafe, which offers a buffet style breakfast. Our recommendation is to choose freshly cooked egg dishes from the menu, and then fill your plate with all kinds of cheese, cured olives, deli meats and jams from the buffet. You may want to leave space fro dessert or come back in the afternoon for a slice or two of baklava next door at Güllüoğlu.


CcfLeuuWAAEeM2M DSC_0203_2 karabatak-cafe


For a little shopping, stop by Bey for high quality menswear, Mae Zae selling all kinds of goodies from vintage furniture to modern jewelry, Çiçek İşleri selling objects made of natural materials like wood and marble.

One of the most visited restaurants is Karaköy Lokantası. Their lunch and dinner menu are completely unrelated, offering a different experience even if visited twice in the same day. At lunchtime, traditional Turkish dishes like Hünkar beğendi (slow cooked beef with smoky eggplant puree) and olive oil dishes are served. Come dinner, the restaurant becomes a meyhane serving mezes (small plates) and fresh fish including a highly recommended grilled octopus. Next to it, Lokanta Maya is another favorite among the locals for their simple dishes created to perfection with specific attention given to local and in season produce. If you’re in the mood for a juicy burger, head over to Baltazar.

You have too many options to choose from for a coffee and dessert. Some of the most popular are Ops Café, Mums, Dem, Karabatak or Fil Books, a cozy café with a photography bookstore inside, sits right across from the Turkish Orthodox Church.

Even though this neighborhood is just a few steps from the seaside, all the excitement happens a few blocks away the water. The many gems to be discovered in the quirky streets offer the promise of a day filled with discoveries and good food.