Local’s Picks from an Artist/Writer

Food, Nightlife, Things to Do, Travel Tips, What's New — By Aysegul Surenkok on May 17, 2010 at 3:52 am
Merve Unsal

Merve getting ready for her next piece

Merve Ünsal is an artist/writer based in New York. Native of Istanbul, Turkey, she has recently finished an Internet-based art project questioning the nature of airports and airport security. She is the co-editor of BoltArt.net and is currently working on various writing and editing projects.

Her personal blog, MerveUnsal.com, is pretty self-expressive about the virtue of her eye as an artist and observer. Below is her Istanbul and the places she likes to visit when she returns every now and then for a visit.


1. A friend of yours is visiting you and staying at your place? Where would you send your visitor for a drink in your neighborhood?

I would want them to stay at the House Cafe apartments. For a drink, I would take him/her to Ortakoy house cafe to sit outside and have a mojito. 

2. Where to take a date?

Ask kahvesi. I like low-key places and I can’t stop thinking about the Bosphorus, so I would have to say brunch at Ask kahvesi. I could also take them for some museum/gallery hopping and then hookah in Tophane. My date needs to handle a day of walking around.
3. Girls night?

My girls’ night requires dancing. I would have to say anywhere with a good DJ and a good crowd that respects girls’ need to dance !

4. Guy’s night?

I have thought about what I would do if I were a guy, many many times. I wish I could drink outside in a park in Istanbul with my guy friends.

5. Where can people go for a good local vibe?

For kebap, Hamdi‘s. There is a great Kurdish “sofra” in Taksim that I like too. Breakfast on the Bosphorus near Rumeli Hisari. Borek in Sariyer. Efes in Taksim birahanes. Neighborhood-wise, my favorite is Arnavutkoy, it’s a great combination of the different faces of Istanbul. I also love walking up the Cihangir hill and getting lost on those streets. Dilek pastanesi on Istiklal.
6. Where do you like to go out?

I have been to Asmali Mescit a lot last time I was there, but that’s probably because I combined work and play and the artsy crowd tends to hang out in that area.

PS: This survey made me really hungry! The fact that  I could only think about food says a lot about Istanbul! 

Tags: Blogs, First-timers, Food, Local's picks, Restaurants, Way of life

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