Istanbul’s Asian side is still mostly unknown to visitors who usually only hang out in Sultanahmet or in Beyoğlu. But only one lovely ferry ride away, the Moda neighbourhood is the Anatolian side’s coolest area with plenty to explore.
Stroll by the Bosphorus
The Moda Sahili (Moda Seaside) is perfect for strolling by the Bosphorus and looking out over Istanbul from a different angle. You’ll see locals riding their bikes or jogging here, no matter the time of day, but on weekends, the tea garden is always full of people who enjoy the view from a shady spot under the trees.
Go food shopping
The Kadıköy Balık Pazarı (Kadıköy Fish Market) has much more than very fresh fish. You’ll find everything from fresh produce to cheeses, olives, coffee, nuts, Turkish desserts and honey. Just walking through the long outdoor market is an experience with the hustle and bustle of locals and vendors. Make sure to drop by Çiya restaurant if you’re feeling hungry as you’ll find some of the best kebabs as well as an array of Anatolian dishes at this iconic Kadıköy venue.
Hang out at cool cafes
Moda Caddesi (Moda Street) and its surroundings are filled with cool cafes where locals hang out during the day, chatting away over their coffees. One of the best places to really take in the young local vibe is at the laid-back cafe, Yer, while Naan Bakeshop is another gem that makes excellent freshly baked bread (and sandwiches with that delicious bread).
Check out the Barış Manço Museum
Barış Manço was one of the leading artists and one of the founders of the Anatolian rock genre that had its heyday in the 70s and 80s. An icon, with his long hair, handlebar mustache and ethnic style, his home in the Moda neighbourhood was turned into a museum and is visited daily by fans from all over the world.
See a performance at the Sürreyya Opera House
Established in 1927 as the first musical theatre on Istanbul’s Anatolian side, the Süreyya Opera House is worth a look just for its beautiful architecture, especially the grand foyer with its red carpeting and ornate banisters. You can also get tickets for a show, which includes classical music concerts, ballet performances and operas.
Eat at the historic Koço Meyhanesi
Open since 1928, Koço has become somewhat of an institution in the Moda neighbourhood and going there to eat meze and drink rakı is a pretty classic Istanbul experience you shouldn’t miss out on. Make sure to make reservations beforehand, as the restaurant is, of course, quite popular.
Go bar hopping and dancing
When it gets late, Kadıköy’s Kadife Sokak begins to fill up with young crowds who all descend upon the bars that line the street. Head to Arkaoda to mingle with local hipsters and get down to some music from different DJs playing all kinds of genres. You’ll also find great pubs and bars on Moda Caddesi, such as Ayı or Zeplin, and if you’re in the mood for some serious dancing, head to Zor.