Locals Share Their Istanbul Experiences – Aykut Kaya

Every month we ask an Istanbul local the same ten questions. This way you can hear firsthand what they love and hate about the city, and learn about the best places to wine, dine and shop in town.
TodayAykut Kaya, aged between 26-35 and Director of Welcome Desk, shares his Istanbul secrets.

Picture of Hardal Bar and Restaurant in Nişantaşı, Istanbul.
Hardal Bar and Restaurant in Nişantaşı. – © Photo by Hardal

1. Where do you live, and what makes your neighborhood special?

I live in Şişli. Nice locations, together with various restaurants and bars, make our neighborhood special. I also like the type of people who live there.

2. What does a perfect day in Istanbul look like for you?

For me, a perfect day in Istanbul would be a Saturday. I don’t like the typical Sunday crowds. Of course, the best way to start the day is with breakfast on the Bosphorus shores.

3. Where would you take first time Istanbul visitors to?

Night view of Istanbul, with Taksim, Nişantaşı and Şişli.
Night view. © Hakan Sarıtaş

If they are not interested in the typical tourist areas, I would take them to Nişantaşı, Bebek, Ortaköy and Istiklal Street. Although you could argue that the latter already is a touristic avenue.

4. Do you have any shopping preferences and/or secrets?

I prefer going to shopping malls. You find everything in one place, and there is no shortage of them in Istanbul. İstinye Park and Kanyon are among my favorites.

5. What is according to you the best souvenir people should take back home?

I think people should take home whatever caught their attention. For some this may be as basic as a pack of Turkish coffee, while others won’t be satisfied unless they take a handmade carpet back home.

6. What is your favorite restaurant, and why?

Picture of Elio Bar & Restaurant in Nişantaşı, Istanbul.
Elio Bar & Restaurant. © Elio

I have lots of favorite restaurants in Istanbul, but one that really stands out for me is Mikla. It obviously has great food, and a matching Bosphorus view. After dinner you can move to the rooftop bar to extend the lovely experience.

7. What Turkish dish should visitors really try out?

I think they should try at least a few Turkish kebabs. We have so many variations, and they all taste different. If you like sweet stuff, I would also recommend to give our deserts a try.

8. What is your favorite drink, and the best place to order it?

My favorite drinks are cocktails and mojitos. The best places to order it are Elio or Hardal in Nişantaşı. Another option is to enjoy them in one of the many Istanbul night clubs.

9. What is your favorite bar or night club?

My favorite bar and night club is Anjelique, located in Ortaköy.

10. What do you love and/or hate about Istanbul?

I love Istanbul because of its beauty, and the fact that you can find anything here. I only hate impertinent people.

Last updated on 05/07/2015