Empress Avenue had a great time getting to know about Pinar’s hometown of Istanbul, Turkey. Pinar is currently living in downtown Montreal, QC finishing up her bachelors degree at Concordia University. Her love of traveling and new experiences has allowed for an amazing interview on her city. Her descriptions of bustling cultural streets, colourful life by the sea, and surprises around every corner make this city sound like a dream come true!
1. What city are you in right now? – Montreal, QC.
2. What’s the best kept secret about your city? – There are endless stairs to climb up and get lost in tiny alleys. Istanbul is full of surprises!
3. Describe your city in 10 words. – Nostalgic/crowded/full of life, tea, and shouting/hilly/passages
4. Favourite place to catch up on some emails? – In a café under the shadows of Karakoy or on the balcony at Mangerie.
5. Best place to relax and enjoy some quiet? – Definitely on the ferry or sitting along the coast with a cup of hot tea. Nothing offers more relaxation than getting on the ferry and watching the land disappear as you go further into the Marmara Sea.
Nothing offers more relaxation than getting on the ferry and watching the land disappear as you go further into the Marmara Sea.
6. Best restaurant that offers atmosphere and good prices? – So many to choose from! Ficcin is an amazing place that’s affordable and offers local Turkish and Circassian cuisine for breakfast/brunch, lunch, and dinner. It’s a very small, casual and family friendly place that compares well to home cooking in a cozy space with friendly staff.
7. Best shopping neighborhood and favourite store? – Nisantasi is a neighborhood/shopping area in the Sisli district of Istanbul. It’s known for being very stylish and holding the best European brands and stores. It also offers a strip of pubs, restaurants, and cafes to have a break in between shopping. I love the Turkish brand Yargici, it’s so simple and elegant.
8. Tell us about your perfect weekend? – Breakfast at Van Kahvalti Evi, walking along the coast, getting lost in the streets, listening to the sounds of the city: an old lady’s gramophone, a gypsy accordion player’s tune in a meyhane (equivalent of traditional pubs) with everyone singing along to it, or little kids playing football on the streets.. Perhaps heading to the isles if it’s sunny and riding a bike, taking pictures, going to the beach and sipping on your rakı with some meze by the moonlight at Kalpazankaya (a gorgeous restaurant on the water) or returning to Moda and having some wine with friends.
9. What hotel would you recommend for women business travelers? – Heirloom Istanbul in Cihangir. It is a small guesthouse with only a few rooms but the character it offers is one that is nearly impossible to find anywhere else. Originally an old apartment building, it was restored but maintained amazing architecture such as the Baroque entrance ceiling, intricate wood and marble carvings throughout handrails and door entrances, and beautiful big windows. The location is also very close to great attractions such as museums, the Galata Tower, and Taksim Square.
10. Where is the best place to meet new people in your city? – The Cihangir area at night offers endless clubs, bars, restaurants, and nightlife that flood into the streets and terraces. It’s a very social area with tons of friendly people, you’re almost always guaranteed to meet someone new if you go!
It’s a very social area with tons of friendly people, you’re almost always guaranteed to meet someone new if you go!
11. What are the top places you would take a visitor? – Sirkeci is a nice tourist area with many shops, boutiques, and beautiful hotels. It’s definitely a fun place to walk around and watch people. Balat is another great area that would need to be shown. It’s the traditional Jewish district of Istanbul that offers unique cobblestone alleys into small, friendly, and colourful neighbourhoods.