Locals Share Their Istanbul Experiences – Orkun Özbay

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 Orkun Özbay, aged between 26-35, and active in trading (spare parts) sector, shares his Istanbul secrets.

Picture of sunset at Kilyos beach, Istanbul.
Sunset at Kilyos beach, Istanbul. – © Photo by Kerim Ekal

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

I live in Göktürk, which is easily reachable from the heart of the city, yet very close to the city’s main forests and the shores of the Black Sea.

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

It should of course be a sunny day. My favorite waste of time is a boat trip between the two continents.

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

I’d take them for a tour on the Bosphorus, of course.

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

I actually don’t. There is such a huge variety of quality international and local brand shops, shopping centers and outlets available in Istanbul. It all depends on what you need.

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

For me, souvenirs with the crescent and star figures (white on a red background) are the best ones.

6. What is your favorite restaurant, and why?

Picture of Hamdi Restaurant in Eminönü, Istanbul-Turkey.
Hamdi Restaurant. © Hamdi Restaurant

It depends on what you want to eat,

  • for local cuisine — Kanaat Lokantası in Süleymaniye
  • for chicken wings — Kanatçı Haydar in Bahçelievler
  • for meat and kebap — Hamdi Restaurant in Eminönü
  • for fish — Adem Baba in Arnavutköy (alcohol is not available)

7. What Turkish dish should visitors really try out?

One of my favorites is haricot beans with rice (kuru fasulye). I know, it doesn’t sound sophisticated, but when made well it’s really delicious.

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

I think rakı is the best alcoholic drink available in Turkey, which you can have both with fish and meat. But take my advice, and only drink it while having food, at least with some snacks. It goes perfect with a selection of mezes for instance.

As a non-alcoholic drink, you may enjoy ayran, a drink based on yoghurt. Another option is şalgam, turnip juice. You can have it spicy, too.

9. What is your favorite bar or night club?

Again a difficult one. The Beyoğlu – Tünel – Galata region has so many good Istanbul nightlife venues to offer. For live music, I recommend Babylon.

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

I love the unique life style of Istanbul’s locals. Every day you run into another surprise. But I hate the traffic jams and the unorganized constructions in town.

Last updated on 05/07/2015