• Make your way to a strip of town houses, a hub for serious art collectors
  • Stop for coffee at a bookstore-café, then check out installations by emerging artists
  • Splurge on an eight-course Turkish tasting menu or try a laid-back local bistro

Originally designed to house top brass from nearby Dolmabahçe Palace, the Akaretler Row Houses were restored to their Neoclassical splendor a few years ago. This strip of dusky pink town houses in Beşiktaş is now a hub for serious art collectors and big spenders. It’s also the perfect destination for people watching. Grab a cappuccino at Minoa, a bookstore-café with a terrific selection of local guidebooks. Check out installations by emerging artists at Rampa and art ON Istanbul. Worked up an appetite? Splurge on the five- or the eight-course tasting menu at Gile, where unusual Turkish ingredients are celebrated: lamb is roasted with licorice paste for 41 hours or served with mastic and goat’s milk. There’s a whole wall of wines to try—ask the approachable sommelier for advice on the best bottle from Turkey (we recommend any of the Turasan wines from Cappadocia). Be sure to book ahead; the restaurant is tiny. Or, try your luck at lunchtime, when a more casual “bistro menu” is served. For a more laid-back vibe, Sidika serves traditional Turkish dishes with a twist (sea bass wrapped in grape leaves) and with a jazzy soundtrack. Locals travel across town for the delicate fish soup on Fridays, the only day lunch is available.

You can find the Akaretler Row Houses in Beşiktaş. Go to the intersection of Şair Nedim Caddesi and Süleyman Seba Caddesi and you’ll see the strip of pink town houses. Here, you can also find art ON. Go down Süleyman Seba Caddesi for a meal at Minoa or stroll Şair Nedim Caddesi to find the rest of the art and food experiences.

MINOA: 52/A Süleyman Seba Caddesi, Park Apt.; +90-(0)212-236 9452

RAMPA: Şair Nedim Caddesi No:21a ; +90-(0)212-327-0800;

Art ON Istanbul: Meşrutiyet Cd. Oteller SK. Hanif Binası No.1A Tepebaşı, Beyoğlu; +90- (0) 212259-1543;

GILE: Şair Nedim Caddesi, Sıra Evleri E-Blok No:14; +90-(0)212-327-1166;

SIDIKA: 38 Şair Nedim Caddesi; +90-(0)212-259-7232;