Still, its central neighbourhoods are relatively compact, and each has its own distinct character and offerings. I feel, the hidden gem in Istanbul has always been ‘’Kadıköy‘’and its trendy neighbourhood ‘’Moda.’’
The popularity of the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of Istanbul has significantly increased in recent years, creating a neighbourhood that’s vibrant in day and night, with third-wave coffee shops, hip local boutiques, small independent art galleries, street arts, antique shops, restaurants, cocktail bars, pubs and live-music venues.
Here is a list of some of my favourite places in Kadıköy and Moda.
To get to Kadıköy from the European side of Istanbul, one jumps on the ferry, the 20-minute ride makes frequent runs across the strait, a fun activity with Turkish Street musicians on board. If it is your first visit to Kadıköy, it will be most convenient to start from Mühürdar Street, which is only steps away from the Kadıköy Dock and the Fish Market. Before you head up, you mıght want to quickly visit the Church of Agia Efimia, a 19th century Greek church and admire the beauty of frescoes. The famous dessert store Şekerci Cafer Erol has been staple for Turkish candy for years and continues its traditional way of candy making to this day.
The fish market is a sprawling street of shops and fish stalls that not only have the freshest seafood, but also other delicious offerings that range from organic honey to pickled vegetables to Turkish cheese. While strolling Bahariye’s historic streets, you can catch the vintage Kadıköy-Moda Nostalgic tram. Hop on and off at streets like rainbow umbrella-shaded Ziyâ Bey, and famous Bar Street – Kadife, lined with pubs, tattoo parlours and live music, and Leylek street which offers vintage fashion stores.
The Sureyya Opera House is the most eye-catching building in Bahariye Street that was originally founded in 1927 as the first musical theatre in the Anatolian part of Istanbul.
If you like chocolate, you should surely try Asuman, the legend of Moda. Don’t forget to order their signature chocolate Asuman! My favourite cafe is Rafine Coffee. Rafine is a very cosy place and they roast their own beans, which you can buy and take with you as a souvenir of Istanbul’s coffee culture.
Weekend and summer-night walks down Moda street wouldn’t be the same without a cone of the ice cream produced by master ice-cream maker Ali Usta. Often there are huge queues but don’t let that put you off as it is worth the wait.
You will not forget your exotic, oriental, modern, and historic Moda!
Sabuhi is a candidate for the 2023 Les Clefs d’Or Award. This article has been published in its original form.
Middle East & Asia Europe Craft Shops Vintage Chocolate Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet Coffee Istanbul Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet Bars Turkey Tours Art Turkish candy History Food Ice cream Cafes Neighborhood Boutique Shopping Coffee shop Churches Market Walking Tradition Culture Ferries
I was born and raised in İstanbul and studied abroad in Germany. While studying there I developed a passion for hospitality at my part-time job. After returning from Germany, I began to work in a start-up hotel establishment in Antalya and had my first full-time experience working in the sector. After spending two years in Antalya I decided to move to Istanbul, where I transferred to Double Tree by Hilton Moda. I started working as a concierge for the first time and quickly realized this is the field that I am very passionate about. I worked in Hilton Moda for five years and became a member of Les Clefs d'Or International in 2020. After I moved to Fairmont Quasar Istanbul where I became the Star Employee of LQA. Finally in 2022 I started working at Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet, and once again was selected as the Star Employee of LQA in 2022. I consider working as a concierge a lifestyle not a job. I am honored and grateful to be working as Les Clefs d’Or Concierge with an exuberant set of colleagues and I am hoping that I will be a part of this association for many years.
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, originally Istanbul’s first contemporary prison built between 1918-1919, offers a landmark experience at the heart of the Old City. Our century-old neoclassical home is a tranquil sanctuary in the middle of Istanbul's Old City, Sultanahmet, bounded by the mystic waters of the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus. While just steps away from top historic attractions such as the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, our 65-room Hotel offers a calming space filled with charm and elevated Four Seasons care from our more than 200-person-strong team. Surrounded by breath-taking views of Hagia Sophia Mosque, the Blue Mosque and Marmara Sea, the Hotel offers a quintessential location for exploring Istanbul’s deep heritage. Brimming with character and local charm, the interiors of Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet have been impeccably re-imagined by multi award-winning design studio Goddard Littlefair. The studio has created a unique city oasis filled with contrasts and diversities. Appealing to those “in the know,” this is a secluded sanctuary in which to relax, unwind and enjoy an authentic experience and be at one with its surroundings.
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