The days when Istanbul was merely just a traditional town are over. Today, the city is just as fast-paced and fashion conscious as the next city, which means, amongst other things, that the place where it’s all happening keeps changing. One week the place to be is Asmalımescit, the next it’s Galata or Tophane.
Now it’s the turn of Karaköy, a once workaday part of town best known for its hardware stores that is now gearing up to become a new tourism centre as hotel chains rush to get a foot in the door.
Ever since the opening of the Istanbul Modern in 2004, the neighborhood Karaköy developed into a hip and vibrant hot-spot, filled with amazing restaurants, cafes, trendy boutiques, hotels and galleries attracting tourists and locals alike.
To soak up some of the excitement and get the “real” taste of Karaköy, here is our report on the latest (and definitely not the last) exciting new spots to explore:
Naif (Turkish for humble)
New restaurant on the block Naif Karaköy, offers a unique selection of Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine. The restaurant focuses on fresh, local and organic ingredients that are sourced from small family-owned producers; the result being an exceptionally delicious meal with attention to details.
Mumhane Caddesi No. 52, Karaköy; P: (0212) 251 5335
If you’re into vintage, Civan is the place for you. Hidden on the first floor of a cute little wooden house on a steep hill in Çukurcuma, this boutique is easy-to-miss, but should definitely not be missed if you’re into modern men’s fashion with a vintage touch. Shirts and trousers are displayed on a rack, where you can pick what you like and have it tailor-made for you.
If you’re looking for something even more unique, you can pick fabric, buttons and threads for your shirts and trousers and let the gifted people of Civan create a custom-made outfit.
Çukurcuma Caddesi No. 42, Çukurcuma; P: (0212) 243 32 11
Looking for little treasures? I guarantee you that all the pieces you will find in Pavlika will represent you in each part of your home! It largely stocks ceramics and the products are beautifully designed and extremely well-made. Whether you want to buy some ceramics for your home or just want to a keepsake from your time in Istanbul, this is the place to head.
Firuzağa Mh. Bostanbaşı Cd. No: 10A Beyoğlu P: +90 (212) 244 71 14
Kagıthane house of paper
Kağıthane (House of Paper) is a small design shop that has an innovative mix of items from notebooks and postcards to folding fans and bags—all with a humorous edge.
Kağıthane is owned by Emine Tusavul, who is a lecturer at Işık University’s Fine Arts department and the founding partner of an advertising agency. The majority of the pieces at Kağıthane are designed by Tusavul herself but you’ll also find some items created by her students. Most of the items are made of paper, while some are made of porcelain and ceramic. The unique designs are inspired by Istanbul and Turkish culture, from the Galata Tower and the Bosphorus to the traditional tea cups and old Turkish films.
Nişantaşı Ihlamur Yolu Sokak No.19/B P: (0212) 247 08 45
Coffee at Karabatak
At the leafy Karabatak cafe, you can relax street-side, watch people walk bye and be transported to another world: Are you in Istanbul or in a trendy coffee shop in the laneways of Melbourne, Barcelona, or Italy? The charming design of the cafe has a cosmopolitan feel due to its European brand: Austria-based Julius Meinl coffee. It's a great place to kick back, soak up some sun rays through an overhanging grape vine, and enjoy one of Istanbul's most pleasant cups of coffee.
Kemankeş Kara Mustafa Paşa Mah. Kara Ali Kaptan Sok. No. 7 34425
Souq Karaköy is a free-spirited platform/festival/bazaar/flea market bringing together the vintage and the contemporary, the young and the established, the subculture and the mass, the cool and the mainstream.
It is a conceptual project that aims to gather creative minds and brands together, drawing its energy from Istanbul’s newly hip neighborhood of Karaköy. It started as a family-and-friends event at Karaköy Kulah, a project space for independent events, concerts, and guerilla exhibitions. The venue has hosted three Souq Karaköy happenings so far. For more information on new events, head over to www.souqkarakoy.com
Kemankeş mahallesi, Mumhane cad, Karaköy