Your ultimate guide to life in Istanbul

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

İstanbul’s best soup restaurants!
Restaurants

İstanbul’s best soup restaurants!

We’ve compiled the best soup restaurants of Istanbul. 

Read more
Listen to the Nutcraker from its artists!
Things to do

Listen to the Nutcraker from its artists!

You describe your production as a neoclassical interpretation of The Nutcracker. Could you tell us more about that?İlke Kodal: “When people hear the name ‘The Nutcracker,’ they generally expect to see the classic version of the ballet. We purposefully highlight the difference so people know they’re in for something new.”Uğur Seyrek: “Our version actually combines neoclassical and classical ballet with modern dance. Hoffmann wrote the story in 1816, and although it was written as a story for children, there are quite a few dark aspects to it. Later on, Alexandre Dumas adapted into a more straightforward story, and at the end of the 19th century, choreographer Marius Petipa set out to turn it into a ballet with Tchaikovsky as the composer. The Nutcracker’s premiere in St. Petersburg in 1892 was notoriously unsuccessful: the choreography failed to impress viewers who were accustomed to classical ballet, while the story was considered too gruesome for a kids’ show. There were quite a few successful adaptations in the 20th century, but none of them deviated from the basic plotline.” How is your production different?Uğur: “We modernized all of the themes, so everything you see in The Nutcracker rings true for our day. It all starts with an elderly ballerina reminiscing about the past. As the events unfold, we learn that the real source of the nightmare is a man who abused her in the past. The fear of mice symbolizes the memory of that abuse, so the issue is quite relevant to our d

Read more
With Başak Dizer Tatlıtuğ and Deniz Marşan on Room + Rumours
Shopping

With Başak Dizer Tatlıtuğ and Deniz Marşan on Room + Rumours

Style consultants Başak Dizer Tatlıtuğ and Deniz Marşan’s Room + Rumours is a new-generation haven of shopping, art and food. The moment you step through the door, you’ll feel less like you’re in a shop and more like you’re in a private dressing room where a stylist has laid aside items just for you. Eclectic details complement the modern décor at Room + Rumours, which offers much more than just clothes: you can also grab a bite, get work done, purchase artworks or just browse to feel inspired. What’s the story behind Room + Rumours?Başak: “It’s been our dream since we started working together. We first opened our showroom, Room, and recently added the Rumours section. When imagining our concept store, we not only wanted to sell items we love, but we also wanted to set aside space for art and a café where everything from the music to the food reflects our taste.” Who’s your target clientele?Başak: “We offer items that appeal more to people who either have style or are in the process of forming their own style than they do to those who blindly follow trends. It’s important to us that everything is offered in limited numbers, since many of our customers don’t want to see the same clothes they’re wearing on someone else.” What brands will we find at Room + Rumours?Deniz: “We’re proud to showcase our first collection, which was designed in Italy. There are also collections by Hakan Yıldırım and Özgür Masur designed exclusively for us. Room + Rumours is also the only retailer i

Read more
Madamme Tussaud’s museum opened in İstanbul!
Attractions

Madamme Tussaud’s museum opened in İstanbul!

Get yourself ready to meet with celebrities.

Read more
The Four-Legged Municipality: Street Dogs of Istanbul
Things to do

The Four-Legged Municipality: Street Dogs of Istanbul

To some, they're terrifying beasts, while to others they’re the best friend anyone could ask for. Whatever feelings you may have about street dogs, the undeniable fact is that the four-legged creatures with whom we share the city’s streets play an important role in our social life. “How?” you may ask. Well, the answer to that question can be found in Istanbul Research Institute’s latest exhibition, The Four-Legged Municipality: Street Dogs of Istanbul. The exhibition looks at the fate of dogs in the city by dividing history into two periods. From the Conquest of Istanbul until the Tanzimat Era, dogs served faithfully as the guardians of public property, but once modernization took off in the 19th century, so did the banishment of these animals begin. This mistreatment of street dogs reached its peak with the Hayırsızada Dog Massacre in 1910, which saw around 80,000 strays exiled to Sivriada, many of them dying on the boat ride over there. The exhibition recounts all of this history with photographs, travelogues, postcards, magazines and engravings. The dogs are obviously the focal point of the exhibition, but the works on display also provide glimpses into Istanbul’s history, with certain images – like those that depict the murder of dogs in gas chambers – proving to be both saddening and thought provoking for the viewer. The exhibition’s curator Ekrem Işın believes Street dogs have developed their own philosophy of life, just as we have. To him, dogs are multifunctional resi

Read more

Latest restaurant reviews

Socrates Bistro
Restaurants

Socrates Bistro

What brings sports and gastronomy together? Onur Aymete discovers a new bistro that draws inspiration from the monthly sports and culture magazine, Socrates Don't pay heed to those who claim that the era of print magazines is over. Sure, we might have passed the golden age, but collectible magazines (or successful bi-monthly publications such as the one you’re holding in your hands) give us hope for the future of the industry. The monthly sports and culture magazine Socrates is another source of hope – and now, there’s a new bistro that bears the same name as the magazine. For Can Öz, the owner of publishing house Can Yayınları, Socrates was a bold venture into the unfamiliar territory of magazines. Now Öz has once again found himself in unchartered waters as a partner at Teşvikiye eatery Socrates Bistro, but thankfully he’s once again found a competent team to back him up: business partner Uğur Baran Yağmurlu, chef Alp Türkmenoğlu and restaurant supervisor Volkan Ayaşlı make up the backbone of Socrates Bistro. All three of them are highly successful graduates of Yeditepe University’s Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Department. They’re also exceptional athletes: Türkmenoğlu is a former basketball player, Ayaşlı is a former national swimmer, and Yağmurlu is a Muay Thai enthusiast who plays soccer for the Turkish Writers’ Team. Given Socrates Bistro’s close ties to the world of sports, you might expect to find a classic sports bar menu of onion rings, French fries and beer, but

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Union Pacific
Restaurants

Union Pacific

Union Pacific is an eatery whose cuisine is hard to define. Its owners are New Zealander chef Chris Maxwell and Canadian photographer Innes Welbourne, who put together an eclectic menu inspired by the unforgettable dishes they tasted during their travels. The bookcase lined with English-language magazines and the countertop full of pastries might give the space a coffee shop-like feel, but the best time to visit Union Pacific is for lunch or dinner. The Thai-style green curry with organic chicken comes with a delicious, creamy sauce that’s probably milder than what you’d expect. The smoked salmon and dill summer rolls are another great dish to try at Union Pacific. Those who wish to experiment with their favorite Asian-inspired recipes at home can also check out the selection of ingredients like rice flour, noodle varieties and an assortment of sauces offered for sale. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Goodville Seasonal Kitchen
Restaurants

Goodville Seasonal Kitchen

The next time you find yourself getting hungry in the Levent area, think twice before you head to the nearest shopping mall to grab a bite. The latest lunch hot spot for professionals in the district, Goodville serves enticing options all day long: you can choose from a variety of omelets (or mix and match toppings to create your own) for breakfast, or you can stop by weekdays from 17.00 to 22.00 to take advantage of happy hour specials. Still, there’s a reason the restaurant has become a popular destination for a midday meal: as its name suggests, the eatery serves healthy dishes made with seasonal ingredients. The semi-open kitchen allows you to watch your meals being prepped, while the mezes and salads lined on the counter make the decision-making process that much easier. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Hazine
Restaurants

Hazine

The latest venture from Jüpiter Group (whose previous project was the incredibly popular restaurant Grey in Topağacı), Hazine has fast become the new “it” location in Cihangir. The eatery instantly stands out among its neighbors due to its swanky décor and equally trendy menu. Be sure to check out the sushi selection if you happen to visit for dinner, and stay afterward to enjoy a more club-like atmosphere with live music.

Read more

This month’s must-see art exhibitions

Lifesaving
Art

Lifesaving

Inspired by the historical narratives pertaining to the dune-like Sable Island in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Canada, multidisciplinary artist Janet Bellotto reimagines the island as both a dreamland and a graveyard, alluding to ideas such as isolation, ephemerality, utopia, and survival in water.

Read more
Who Throws Whom Overboard?
Art

Who Throws Whom Overboard?

His impressive photographs, wall texts, films and installations explore subjects like migration, borders, citizenship, capital and alternative economies. 

Read more
Pastoral Dialogues II
Art

Pastoral Dialogues II

Get ready to see works that touch upon the impressive motion of nature and the land during autumn by artists Mahmut Celayir, Murat Durusoy, Yusuf Aygeç, Dieter Mammel, Murat Germen, Neslihan Başer, Serkan Yüksel and Sinem Yıldırım.

Read more
Constructed
Art

Constructed

Zeynep Kayan gives in to the urge to escape the two-dimensional nature of photographs by experimenting with the surface of images. Through her process of recapturing the same moment again and again, the artist transposes the “old and familiar” image into a “new and unfamiliar” surrounding to transform the physical space into an analogue assemblage.

Read more

Unmissable events of the month

Ernani
Music

Ernani

The Istanbul State Opera and Ballet presents Verdi’s famous opera about the tragic love story between Ernani and Elvira, was first staged in Turkey in 1846 by Italian artists at the historic Naum Theater (which stood in the spot currently occupied by Çiçek Pasajı).

Read more
Layer by Layer Excavating the Anatolian Side of Istanbul
Things to do

Layer by Layer Excavating the Anatolian Side of Istanbul

If your knowledge of historic Istanbul is limited to the Topkapı Palace and the Hagia Sophia, you won’t want to miss this exhibition, which highlights the cultural wealth and diversity of Istanbul’s suburbs in the Late Antiquity, Late Byzantine and Early Ottoman eras.

Read more
The Royal Opera House
Things to do

The Royal Opera House

This month, Zorlu PSM hosts screening events for some of the new season’s productions for those who don’t have the luxury of hopping on the first plane to visit the historic performing arts venue. Don’t miss the chance to see Cosi fan tutte on December 1, Anastasia on December 14 and Les Contes D’Hoffmann on December 29.

Read more
Neil Cowley Trio

Neil Cowley Trio

A trio known for incorporating piano music into the dynamic world of rock, then infusing that with a touch of aggressive punk ethos, the Neil Cowley Trio has collaborated with a great many artists from Adele to Stereophonics. Tonight they visit Istanbul on tour for their sixth studio album, Spacebound Apes.

Read more
Day, Light, Night
Art

Day, Light, Night

Istanbul Modern celebrates the 25th anniversary of TEPTA Lighting, the museum’s lighting sponsor since its foundation in 2004, with an exhibition that draws support from the Consulate General of Italy in Istanbul. Noted as “the first show in Turkey to focus exclusively on lighting,” Day, Light, Night was curated by lighting designer Ulrike Brandi, who was inspired by light’s ability to change the mood and atmosphere of the city based on weather conditions or the time of day. Design brands represented by TEPTA join forces with designers, artists and architects (among them Emre Arolat and Refik Anadol) to explore the concept of “natural light” via installations and light objects.

Read more