After 6:30: Nightlife in Istanbul
Istanbul lights up after dark as the city's hottest eateries and nightclubs serve up fabulous food, music and a vibrant scene. Here are the best places in Istanbul to seek out the night life.
Istanbul has always been graced by nature and history with splendid monuments and picturesque views. In recent years, it has also become glamorous. Nightlife has a lot to do with it: Some of the world’s best food often comes in tandem with fabulous music and dance. Here are some places to go:
Go here: Lacivert Restaurant, 0216 413 3753
Where to find it: Between Anadolu Hisari and Kanlica, Körfez Caddesi 57/A, Asia Side
Why: Possibly Turkey’s top fine dining eatery perched just beside the Asian Bosphorus with dazzling views.
You must do this: Take their private yacht from Rumeli Fortress on the European side. Linger over the appetiser of savoury Turkish “borek” filled with tasty wild mushrooms.
And this: Leave room for the saddle of lamb served with crispy vegetables, yoghurt and coriander sauce to work its full magic.
Go here: Zarifi, 0212 293 5480
Where to find it: Çukurlu Çesme Sokak 13, Siraselviler/Beyoğlu
Why: A monument to Istanbul’s old bohemian zone serving dishes from Ottoman era-minority cuisines in Byzantine brick decor. The DJ serves the equivalent in music: Greek, Arab, Israeli.
Try this: The Circassian chicken (Çerkez tavuğu) appetiser
And this: Dance on the tables in the later hours.
Go here: Hayal Kahvesi Beyoğlu, 0212 244 2558
Where to find it: Büyük Parmak Kapi Sokak Afrika Han 19, Beyoğlu
Why: For the younger crowd, the rock bar that revitalized the area almost 20 years ago with loud, live, thumping chords still shakes the ancient alleys until 4 am.
You must do this: See Turkey’s top female rocker, Özge Fişkin, on Wednesdays.
And this: Enjoy live classic rock with Soul Stuff on Saturdays.
Go here: Cercis Murat Konaği, 0216 410 9222
Where to find it: Yazmacı Tahir Sokak 22, Suadiye, Asia Side
Why: Utterly authentic regional Turco-Arabic taste hailing from Mardin in southeastern Turkey. Classy touches include finger bowls filled with rosewater and an attentive staff.
Try this: The spicy pink ‘muhammara dip’ with goat cheese and breadcrumbs, and the steamed kubbes stuffed with pignoli nuts and minced beef.
And this: House-made ice cream (dondurma) is a revelation of other worlds.
Go here: Cuba Bar Istanbul, 0212 245 7870
Where to find it: Asmali Mescit Mh., Ensiz Sokak 11/1A, Beyoğlu
Why: This exquisitely medieval street houses a complete surprise: live Cuban music (featuring Cuban musicians) and Turco-Carribean cuisine, showing off the area’s cosmopolitan traditions. It’s worth coming just for the location, but the salsa dancing crowd adds to the lustre. You must call ahead to book a spot.
Try this: The turbocharged Caribbean Band and DJ Ergün Özel will fuel your limbs for dancing.
And this: The Valencia-style paella for two