Istanbul has been on our list of must-see places for as long as we can remember. Maybe even since “Istanbul was Constantinople…” (They Might be Giants, anyone?). A city of gorgeous contradiction, Istanbul’s European roots add a layer of approachability—it’s Europe; it’s easy! But, just a quick jaunt across the Bosphorus, and all of a sudden we’re in the exotic Asia Minor of Phoenicia, Byzantium, and Alexander The Great (perhaps history’s hottest ginger)…A true vortex of east-meets-west in a vibrant celebration of culture, food, shopping (the market! the designers! the rugs!), history, and sunbathing (hard to ignore the sparkling seas). Since summer’s got us itching to scratch our wanderlust, we asked Ela, the lovely designer of Istanbul-based (and produced) lingerie line Else, to share her favorite spots for living that Istanbul life. It’s safe to say, in travel as in lingerie, she did not disappoint. BRB, we’re booking tickets to Turkey.
For ladies who lunch and brunch: Mangerie, Backyard, Kantin or Pandeli.
For the requisite cup of joe: Bebek Kahvesi, Moc or Kavanoz
For dinner: Karakoy Lokantasi, Aheste, and Ulus 29
The perfect vegan Cafe? Bi nevi Deli
After-dinner drinks: Lucca or Soho House Roof
For a little retail therapy: Souq karakoy for indie Turkish designers. Galata for special, local shops. And, of course, the Grand Bazaar & Spice Market
Must-do: A Bosphorus boat trip
Must-see: Hagia Sophia