There is a reason Istanbul is one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world, the city has a little bit of something for everyone. For visitors seeking world class shopping and dining, the exclusive Nişantaşı district is the place to be. Nestled among the gorgeous architecture is a mix of some of the city’s finest department stores, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and night spots. Here are some selections to guide your experience.
Osmanbey and Rumeli Caddesi (street)
To begin your tour of Nişantaşı from Istanbul Kongre Merkezi take an easy walk or a short taxi to Osmanbey. Or coming from Taksim take the M2 metro line to the Osmanbey station, Rumeli exit. Here you will find yourself in the midst of Istanbul’s garment district. Turkey is a global player in the textile and apparel industry and many wholesale showrooms are based just off Rumeli Caddesi. Şair Nigar, Hacı Mansur and Kodaman Sokak will provide you with practically endless resources. Textile showrooms can be found on the opposite side of Rumeli.
Next stroll down Rumeli Caddesi where you will find many boutiques carrying de-labeled clothing items at an extremely discounted price. Bargain buyers rejoice!
But it isn’t all bargain shopping several of Turkey’s most fashionable brands have locations on Rumeli, among them women’s fashion lines Oysho, Ipekyol and Roman.
Vali Konağı and Abdi Ipekçi
Where Rumeli Caddesi and Vali Konağı intersect, Nişantaşı’s luxury shopping quarter begins. At this point in the journey I would recommend taking a break. Enjoy a Turkish coffee or çay as the locals do at Zamane Kahvesi.
Strength regained, cross the street and turn down Abdi Ipekçi. You are now walking on one of the most expensive streets for retail store rents in the world, home to a number of the most exclusive luxury labels. Everything from Burberry, Prada, Gucci, and Armani not to mention Christian Louboutin, Rolex and Tom Ford among many others represented.
Turks also do there shopping at such local favorites as Vakko, Gizia Gate, and the very popular department store Beymen.
Abdi Ipekçi is also lined with restaurants serving international cuisine. Dine among the some of Istanbul’s most fashionable at the French inspired Beymen Brasserie, or dine on upscale kebabs at Develi.
Perhaps you have heard of the Turkish phenomenon Salt Bae? Stop in for a burger at Salt Bae’s Nusr-Et Burger.
Two landmark dining establishments are located just off Abdi Ipekçi, Hünkar Lokantasi has been serving patrons upscale Turkish classics since 1950. Başköşe is another neighborhood institution where you can first dine on Turkish mezzes and mains, sip some wine or the national drink rakı and then take an after dinner stroll in the nearby Maçka park. One of the nicest green spaces in the city.
Atiye Sokak Corridor
Another popular spot for dinner or drinks is Atiye Sokak, this pedestrian corridor connects Abdi Ipekçi with the other popular shopping street Teşvikiye Caddesi. Every night of the week these al fresco dining restaurants are full of beautiful people looking to relax and socialize. A standout among these restaurants is Nopa with its beautiful garden and eclectic menu as well as a newcomer to the scene Japanese restaurant Tora with its fresh fish and chic, sleek surroundings.
Finally we come to Teşvikiye caddesi a street named for the picturesque neo-baroque style mosque which also lends its name to the surrounding neighborhood. Teşvikiye has undergone a resurgence in the last few years. These days it is a bustling hotspot for coffee shops, trendy restaurants and fashionable bars for weekend drinks.
One of the most popular brunch spots is just steps away from the mosque and on weekends there can be quite a wait. No visit to Turkey would be complete without a Turkish breakfast. Çeşme Bazlama Kahvaltı is a standout example with its made to order Turkish pastries and house made jam. Just be sure to reserve enough time for the experience.
Çeşme Bazlama Kahvaltı
Another excellent choice for brunch or dinner is the recently opened Ahali Teşvikiye for those who may want to enjoy a leisurely brunch without such a wait time.
Another option is a lighter breakfast or simply nibble on sweets at Grandma or sip a fragrant brew at the trendy Ministry of Coffee.
If you are looking for some evening fun Kozmonot is known for its lively atmosphere, excellent cocktails and an extensive beer list not often found in Istanbul.
For drinks and a bite you can’t go wrong at Grey, this restaurant is pleasant on weekday evenings and can have a lively crowd come the weekends.
For an alcohol free dining option The House Cafe Corner located next to Teşvikiye mosque is a great option. It is also one of the best locations to see and be seen, often times with lavish sports cars parked in front. It’s great for both lunch and dinner or just relaxing çay.
The House Cafe Corner
But Teşvikiye isn’t just known for its dining and cafes it is also known for the shopping along Teşvikiye Caddesi. Walking back towards Osmanbey metro this popular shopping street is probably most well known for being home to City's Nişantaşı shopping center.
Inside City’s you will find many international brands like The Gap, Banana Republic and Le Creuset but also the Turkish casual wear brand Koton and denim mark Mavi.
City’s also has a cinema and the popular restaurant chain Big Chefs which has a broad international menu written in English.
City’s isn’t the only shopping on Teşvikiye, Zara, Scotch & Soda, Bobbi Brown and other international brands have shops there as well.
Zorlu Center, Cevahir Mall and Istiklal Street
More luxury brand shopping is an easy metro stop away. The recently built Zorlu Center is home to shops like Bvlgari, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Miu Miu and Apple just to name a few. There is an expansive food court, a cinema and upscale dining as well and hosts various cultural performances. In order to get to Zorlu take a taxi or the M2 metro line to the Gayrettepe station. Follow the signs through the underground walkway and you will be led direct.
Another excellent shopping mall is just a few short metro stops away as well. Taking the M2 metro line to the Mecidiyeköy stop you will be directly in front of Istanbul Cevahir shopping center. Cevahir has 6 floors of clothing, electronics and accessories as well as a movie theater and of broad selection of casual dining.
Last but certainly not least we come to Istiklal street. Istiklal is the heart of Taksim square and in recent years has become a popular shopping destination. The street which recently reopened its refurbished nostalgic tram, is lined with a great representation of Turkish casual brands and accessories. To mention a few Hotiç, Collezione, LC Waikiki ,DeFacto and ADL are all high quality fashion lines which were started in Turkey and have risen to prominence in the fashion scene. Istiklal is a great street to people watch with many cafes and low cost eateries along the pedestrian street. To reach Istiklal it is a nice walk from the Istanbul Kongre Merkezi and is the Taksim stop along the M2 metro line.