My Istanbul: ‘There’s always a hidden district to explore’
Multi-hyphenate, Bediz Yıldırım, shares everything she loves about her hometown – from where to eat to which museums are a must-see
Wednesday 22 June 2022 By Bediz Yıldırım
Bediz Yıldırım has worked as head of projects for magazines including Vogue, GQ, and House Beautiful for 20 years. She also teaches new media at the Istanbul Fashion Academy, and mentors for social responsibility and women’s empowerment projects. In her (what we assume is not much at all) spare time, she can be found exploring her city. Here, she shares what she loves about it and some of her best insider tips.
What’s your favourite thing about living in Istanbul?
‘There’s always a hidden district to explore and a new way to get inspired by the city.’
Best way to explore the city?
‘By walking and riding on the boats.’
Describe Soho House Istanbul in six words.
‘Strong community. Creativity booster. Second home.’
Tell us a place only locals know.
‘Nail Kitabevi & Cafe, which is a bookshop in Kuzguncuk (the Asian side of the city).’
Best restaurants to visit right now?
‘ROKA Istanbul in Galataport; The Ordinary in Bomonti; Sunset Grill & Bar in Kuruçeşme; Aheste Pera in Asmalımescit; and Muutto Anatolian tapas bar in Galataport.’
The ideal evening itinerary?
‘Taking a walk near the seaside from Ortaköy to Bebek. There’s so much historical architecture to take in, plus restaurants and cafes, as well as Bosphorus.’
Long, lazy alfresco lunch spots?
‘Mangerie in Bebek; Barnathan Istanbul in Galata; and Monochrome in Bomontiada.’
Favourite place within walking distance of the House?
‘Yapı Kredi Culture Centre in Beyoğlu.’
Favourite spot for good party vibes?
‘Soho House Istanbul!’
Most romantic place to visit?
‘The Princes’ Islands.’
An independent store everyone has to visit?
‘Vintage Istanbul in Cihangir.’
Three places to go for breakfast?
‘Batard İstanbul in Bomonti; Cecconi’s Istanbul at Soho House; and Cuma in Çukurcuma.’
Essentials to pack for an Istanbul city break?
‘Comfortable shoes, Pepto Bismol, a nice hat, travel diary, camera, plus sunblock and swimsuits in summer – there are so many rooftop pools. Also, a nice scarf if you want to visit a mosque. While you’re packing, watch the movie Crossing The Bridge: The Sound Of Istanbul.’
Do not leave Istanbul without...
‘Taking a boat tour in the Bosphorus; tasting simit; experiencing some Turkish bands live; visiting both sides of the city; travelling along the islands by bike; tasting traditional Turkish food; visiting the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar; and going to the archeology, Sakıp Sabancı, and maritime museums.’