Best Cafe in Istanbul

Beyoglu Istanbul skyline

For the month of November, I’ll be participating in BootsnAll‘s Indie Travel Challenge.  Click here to go to the beginning.  Today’s question: tell us about an experience you had from information you got from a local.

A Local’s Perspective

Back in April, Andy and I visited Turkey.  After a great time in Cappadocia (to be outlined in a future post), we flew to Istanbul for a few days.  Istanbul was such an amazing city and I really think it should be added to any traveler’s short list.  The people were so welcoming, the food was excellent, and there is so much to do and see.  That goes for the rest of Turkey, as well!

Suleymaniye Mosque Istanbul Sultanahmet Ferry Harbor
Suleymaniye Mosque

Before leaving the US, I asked my college friend Busra for her favorite haunts in the city.  She was born in Turkey and makes an annual trip to Istanbul to visit family, so she had a lot of great ideas for me.  One of her favorite cafes (and there are A LOT in Turkey) is the Mimar Sinan Teras Cafe, located a few blocks from the Suleymaniye Mosque.  This cafe was a bit tricky to find, but eventually we walked up several flights of stairs and emerged in a pretty ordinary looking place.  The host then led us to the balcony, and we realized why Busra loved this place.  It has a 180° view of Istanbul’s skyline – Beyoglu (the cool trendy part of town – where we stayed) and Sultanahmet, the historical district where you can find the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar — all visible from the terrace! One of the best things about it was that we were definitely the only non-Turks in the place, to the point where we got a few curious stares.

Beyoglu Istanbul skyline
View of Beyoglu from the cafe terrace

This was definitely the perfect end to a long day of exploring Sultanahmet, and is the perfect place to either start or end your trek up the hill to Suleymaniye (another place not to be missed).  Things to note: this cafe had wifi, but it wasn’t working for us.  In the winter, the windy terrace is open, but there’s also a partially enclosed balcony area that still provides a view.  If you’re in Istanbul, add this cafe to your list of places to check out.

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