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A Chef's Istanbul Travel Guide

Istanbul Travel: Galata Tower

As a pioneer of the city’s locavore food movement, chef Didem Şenol serves obsessively crafted Turkish dishes at her popular restaurants, Lokanta Maya ($$) and Gram (lunch only; $$ ), both in Beyoğlu. We asked Şenol for tips on navigating the area.

Eat

“On the way to work, I often stop at Galata Simitçisi. Simit are like Turkish bagels; the ones here, made in a wood-burning oven, are especially salty-sweet.”

“For dinner, Asmali Cavit (90-212/292-4950; $$$) is an institution known for its mezes. Try the fava beans and the burnt-aubergine salad.”

Stay

“I send friends to Witt Istanbul Hotel ($$), a chic boutique property. Each room has a kitchenette, so you can pick up ingredients at the markets and cook a meal or two.”

Karaköy Rooms ($), set in a renovated historic building, has an impeccable retro style.”

Shop

“I never knew the difference between handmade and machine-made leather shoes until I found Old Sandal. You can browse their beautiful collection, or have a pair made to order.”

“Serra Turker, one of the city’s rising fashion stars, recently opened her first boutique, Misela. Her bags are bold, colorful, and very stylish.”

Do

“There’s an exciting gallery scene in the Karaköy part of Beyoğlu. My favorite is Egeran Galeri, with its mix of local and international artists.”

“For the Turkish bathhouse experience, visit Kiliç Ali Paşa Hamami, a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture.” —As told to Elizabeth Gunnison

Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

Photo by Kerem Uzel

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