There is a city-owned gallery at the top of Istiklal Caddessi in Taksim (across from the Burger King) that hosts a variety of different exhibits that are free and open to the public. Whenever I am meeting a friend in Taksim and have a few minutes to kill, I walk through the gallery to see the current exhibition. This month? Beautiful and vibrant paintings of the Istanbul landscape. Next time you have a few minutes to kill, stop by to take a look..
This morning I had to pinch myself. Is this my life?! As I sipped my morning coffee, our neighborhood accordian player wandered the streets below, and music filled the air. Last night, as we roamed through Taksim after a romantic dinner at our favorite restaurant, we stumbled upon a dance festival, we saw a cat march confidently into a restaurant waiting to be served, observed a capuchin monkey walk down Istiklal Cadessi, and after returning home and opening a bottle of wine, we watched a 10 minute firework show from our apartment window. Life is good! And sometimes, full of so many wonderful, humourous and thrilling surprises!
This view should be enough to lure you to my favorite terrace bar and restaurant. Located off the back streets of Asmalımescit, beyond the famed music venue Babylon, you can enter a seemingly normal apartment building, and take the intimate 3 person elevator to the top. Once you enter Balkon, another set of stairs takes you to the terrace bar. A view of the Golden Horn, and the Bosphorus awaits you. It is the perfect place to spend the evening and watch the sunset. Additionally, the margaritas and mojitos are excellent, as is the wonderful menu of pizzas, pastas and salads.
Check out the website here: http://www.balkonrestaurantbar.com/
Address: Asmalımescit Mah. Sehbender Sokak No:5 Kat:6 Tunel-Beyoglu
First of all, what is durum? It is essentially a Turkish burrito. While the contents of a durum vary dramatically, a good durum should contain grilled meat (my favorite is chicken), tomatoes, shredded lettuce and onion, and lots of seasoning. While everyone has their own tastes, and favorite restaurants, I thought I would share my personal favorite source for durum in Istanbul.
If you begin to walk down Istiklal Cadessi, take the first left. Walk past ‘The Pita Pit’ on your left, ‘Bistro’ on your right and turn right on the street, before the Japanese restaurant ‘Tokyo’. You will find Melekler Durum Evi. There are no more than 10 tables in this small place, but it is incredible, and certainly worth the wait on a Friday night.
The German ‘football’ team came to Istanbul on Friday night for the Germany-Turkey for a European Championship qualifying match. Unfortunately, Turkey lost (the final score was 3-1), however the entire city united to watch the game. People were dressed in red and white from head to toe. The metro and city center were overflowing with fans on their way to watch the game. Whether they were going to the stadium itself, or simply their favorite bar, they were in full uniform to support their team. These pictures are from Taksim Square, where I simply happened to be on Friday night.