Your ultimate guide to life in Istanbul

Your round-the-clock guide to the city – delivered by local experts

The best burgers in the city
Restaurants

The best burgers in the city

Calorie bombs they might be, but the burger is one of those indulgences we can’t seem to give up, no matter the time of year. Check out our list of the top 10 burgers in the city so you’ll know exactly where to go the next time you get a craving

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Fugitive Shadow
Art

Fugitive Shadow

The 2016 edition of Elgiz Museum’s Terrace Exhibition series features outdoor sculptures by Levent Ayata, Arif Çekderi, Hande Şekerciler and many others.

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Planète Football
Art

Planète Football

Commencing on the same day as Euro 2016, this exhibition presents soccer-related images from Magnum Photos’ archives. You’ll find notable photographs ranging from Marilyn Monroe making a kick to Guinean kids laughing heartily as they chase after a ball.

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Black Sea guide
Travel

Black Sea guide

The eastern shore of the Black Sea is full of wooden cabins, lush valleys and invigorating highlands where you can enjoy the most eco-friendly vacations in Turkey. Check out our tips on where to stay, eat and visit before you head off on the road

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Five things to know about the League of Legends Turkish Champions League
Things to do

Five things to know about the League of Legends Turkish Champions League

We take a look at online video game League of Legends before the Turkish Grand Finals on August 13  

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Latest restaurant reviews

Midye Mi?
Restaurants

Midye Mi?

You might have noticed that for the average Istanbulite who’s guided more by taste than a concern for health, midye dolma (rice-stuffed mussels on the half shell) are a dietary staple. Even as we’re surrounded by seas that aren’t decontaminated adequately, we still keep the tradition alive of hovering over the carts as we try to stuff as many of these tasty morsels as we can into our mouths. Still, we can hardly claim to be imaginative when it comes to how we serve mussels: we can’t seem to let go of our midye tavas (fried mussels) and dolmas, while steamed mussels and stews continue to be dishes we try on our trips to Europe. But now there’s a restaurant that seeks to change all that. Midye Mi? is the newest restaurant to pop up in Caddebostan, and it deserves some respect, if for no other reason than for its menu featuring both local tava and dolma recipes as well as the popular Belgian dish moules et fries.             Even though it’s illegal to harvest or collect mussels from the Sea of Marmara, unfortunately there are still poachers around the city, which means there’s always the risk that the mussels you eat in Istanbul come from questionable sources. According to the owners, Midye Mi? has managed to draw in the people who won’t eat mussels even at fish restaurants. The mussels used in stews and casserole-type dishes come from the Çanakkale Province, while those used in dolmas are brought from the Black Sea shore. You’ll find classics like balık-ekmek (fish sandwiches

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Saade Kahvaltı
Restaurants

Saade Kahvaltı

When the weekend rolls around and you want to dig into a breakfast spread fit for a king, you might think about heading over to Cihangir, Moda, Karaköy, Bebek or Yeniköy – but admit it, the thought of going to Sultanahmet won’t even cross your mind. The neighborhood might be considered overly touristy and thus generally avoided by locals, but now Sultanahmet’s got a surprise in store for us all. Located on the terrace floor of Hotel Darussaade Istanbul near the Arasta Bazaar, Saade Kahvaltı is a new eatery run by a family with 35 years of experience in hospitality and tourism management. The hotel’s owner Zuhal Hanım shares many of her own recipes in the Saade breakfast, like her dry-curd cottage cheese with onions and her crowd-pleasing cheese with herbs and walnuts. This fantastic breakfast spread also includes tomato paste from Antep, za’atar herbs from Mersin, homemade jams and a tomato salad with pumpkin seeds you won’t likely find anywhere else. We also loved Saade’s floral ceramic plates – and we bet you’ll find it hard to resist sharing photos of them on Instagram.   

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Zanzibar Zorlu
Restaurants

Zanzibar Zorlu

For those who might not be familiar with Zanzibar, the story behind the restaurant dates back to the ’90s, when the original Zanzibar was opened in Milli Reasürans Çarşısı in Nişantaşı. In the early 2000s the restaurant relocated to a 19th-century mansion on the Caddebostan shore that’s still a popular destination for weekend breakfasts. In contrast to the sunny, laid-back vibe of Cafe Zanzibar on the Asian side, the newly opened Zanzibar Zorlu has an ambience that’s closer to the restaurant’s early days in Nişantaşı. Don’t be thrown off by the name; Zanzibar actually serves a heavily Italian-influenced menu featuring dishes like beef émincé with porcini mushrooms as well as pizza and scrocchiarella varieties. The scrocchiarella is similar to a thin-crust Roman-style pizza; here, it’s served as two layers of crispy dough filled with ingredients like smoked salmon and cream cheese. Each scrocchiarella comes with six slices, making it the perfect light, shareable starter. Designed by Aloş Çavdar, the restaurant’s interior features zebra patterns intended to conjure the restaurant’s African namesake, while the terrace section overlooks the shops on the bridge floor of Zorlu Center. Zanzibar Zorlu is currently the most elegant link in the restaurant chain, and though you could stop by for a quick meal before catching a show at Zorlu PSM, we recommend making reservations for a leisurely dinner here instead.    WHAT IS IT… An elegant restaurant and terrace in Zorlu Center. W

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Suvla Kanyon
Restaurants

Suvla Kanyon

One of the most popular shopping malls in Istanbul, Kanyon prides itself on going against the grain of regular malls with its semi-open-air design. Now the award-winning mall also boasts a completely al fresco restaurant: Suvla. Located right next to DOT Theater on the R floor (accessible by taking the elevator up to Kanyon cinema), this recently opened brasserie has an airier feel than you’d expect from a terrace surrounded by office towers. The menu highlights organic and all-natural ingredients, like the pizzas made from non-GMO wheat flour. The pizzas are truly filling, so we recommend not attempting to finish one all by yourself. The four-cheese pizza with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes might not be all that memorable flavor-wise, but it certainly pairs well with wine. The Black Angus pastrami and quince chutney are the other stars of the menu. Suvla’s location in the business district of Levent means its clientele is comprised mostly of white-collar professionals, who’ll appreciate the eatery’s light lunch options like the smoked salmon salad. Still, our recommendation is to stick to the cheese and charcuterie options served with Kilye’s garlic-infused unrefined extra-virgin olive oil, produced exclusively for Suvla. One last word of warning: evenings tend to get a little windy on the terrace, so be prepared to have your napkins take flight – or worse, watch your pastrami find its way over to the next table, as was the case when we visited.   

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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This month’s must-see art exhibitions

Round-the-Clock
Art

Round-the-Clock

An artist who’s a familiar figure for Istanbul Biennial visitors, Ahmet Öğüt explores the themes of injustice and resistance via sculpture, installation and video works. We recommend visiting before the month’s end to see Öğüt’s installation While Others Attack before it’s replaced in September with the two-channel animation United, which will be screened concurrently at the 11th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea and on the YAMA screen atop The Marmara Pera Hotel in Istanbul.

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Drawings from Sainte Anne
Art

Drawings from Sainte Anne

Our setting is the Sainte-Anne Psychiatric Hospital in Paris in the ’50s. A familiar face roams the courtyard, gardens and dormitory, always with a pencil or a blue pen in his hand. He starts off drawing rooms and buildings on crumpled pieces of paper, later favoring human figures and portraits. If we’ve managed to pique your interest, you can see these drawings at the Operation Room this month. Curated by Ilgın Deniz Akseloğlu, the exhibition showcases 43 drawings of painter Fikret Muallâ Saygı, who periodically spent time in the psychiatric hospital in France. Of these drawings, 32 are originals from the personal collections of Ferit Edgü and Metin Deniz. Despite all of the pain, fear and traumas he endured, Fikret Muallâ was an artist who valued his craft above all else. Whether you’re familiar with the artist or not, this is one of the month’s can’t-miss shows. WHAT IS IT… An exhibition featuring the works of legendary Turkish painter Fikret Muallâ. WHY GO… To see the drawings Muallâ created more than half a century ago.  

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Not All That Falls Has Wings
Art

Not All That Falls Has Wings

This multidisciplinary show focuses on concepts like the equilibrium between rising and falling as well as the permanence of downfall via installations, paintings, video and film works. Our guides along this path include Bas Jan Ader, Phyllida Barlow and Cyprien Gaillard.

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This month's must-see gigs in Istanbul

Suma Beach parties
Music

Suma Beach parties

On Aug 6, Jackmaster takes over the DJ booth with a techno-infused set. For those who may not be familiar with Jackmaster, he was voted number five in the Resident Advisor poll of the top DJs in 2015. Other performances this month include Crosstown Rebels founder Damian Lazarus and Ukrainian DJ Nastia (who often elicits comparisons to Nina Kraviz) on Aug 20. Then, on Aug 27, Tel Avivian DJ Maayan Nidam gets the crowd dancing with the tracks that made her a fixture on the international electronic music scene. To see the full program (as well as any surprise DJ performances that may come up), check out facebook.com/SumaBeach.

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