Locals Share Their Istanbul Experiences – Emrah Çağatay

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.
Today Emrah Can Çağatay, aged between 26 – 35 and a pet shop owner, shares his Istanbul secrets.

Picture of Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, Turkey.
Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul. – © Photo by Serdar Gurbuz

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

I live in Göktürk, Kemerburgaz. It’s not too far from the city center, but much greener. Therefore, Göktürk is not a very crowded place. It’s one of the many towns in Istanbul. You can find whatever you are looking for without having to drive for hours.

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

Since my business is in another part of Istanbul, I spend a good amount of my day on the road … and it is killing me. So, a perfect day would be one without traffic.

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

Recently, a couple of my Brazilian friends visited me. I took them to Sultahahmet because there are many historical places to visit there. I also made sure they visited Dolmabahçe Palace, and the Bosphorus. They also found Taksim an interesting place.

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

Well I hate shopping so I am not the one to answer this question. But you can ask my wife, she knows everything about shopping.

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

I would suggest to take home an evil eye in whatever form you prefer, and maybe some Turkish delight?

6. What is your favorite restaurant, and why?

Picture of Uludağ Restaurant in Florya, Istanbul.
Terrace view. © Uludağ Kebap

My favorite place to eat is Uludağ Kebap restaurant. It is located in Florya, very close to the Sea of Marmara. It specializes in kebap and grilled meat and chicken. The food is as awesome as the view.

7. What Turkish dish should visitors really try out?

They should definitely try out some types of kebap, and maybe finish it off with some baklava. And after a night of partying, I fancy some kokoreç before I call it a day.

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

Well, of course my favorite drink is Rakı. The best way to drink raki is in a restaurant around the Bosphorus. Bebek is a great town to do that.

9. What is your favorite bar or night club?

Well I don’t usually go to bars or night clubs, but I can advise Reina or 360. Both have great food, excellent views and a good vibe.

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

What I love is the mixture of different cultures in one city. I hate – you guessed it – the traffic.

Last updated on 05/07/2015