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Little Black Book

The Traveling Shoe Salesman's Istanbul

by Mickey Ashmore

The Traveling Shoe Salesman's Istanbul

The Sabah Dealer, Mickey Ashmore. Photo courtesy of Sabah.

Traveling shoe salesman Mickey Ashmore likes to get around on foot (natually). Istanbul is an old favorite — and home to the leather craftsmen who handmake modern Turkish slippers for his Sabah shoe line. He gave us his top picks for a day around town.

THE MEAL TO EAT

Suna'nin Yeri
Iskele Caddesi No. 17; +90-216-332-3241
Few Istanbul experiences are more enjoyable than eating a long and drawn-out fish meal with friends on a sunny Sunday afternoon. And no place is better than Suna'nin Yeri on the city's Asian side in Kandilli, where a casual mish-mash of tables and umbrellas are set next to the water alongside the ferry building.

Fresh fish dinner at Suna’nin Yeri.

Gorgeous fresh fish dinner. Photo courtesy of Suna’nin Yeri.

THE RIDE TO TAKE

Boat Ride with Hakan
+90-538-368-5838
There are more than a few ways to move around Istanbul, but none beat an evening boat ride along the Bosphorus. Hakan is, without a doubt, the best man to chauffeur you around. He keeps his small open-air speedboat in the Kurucesme Marina and can do pick-ups anywhere in town.

Sumahan on the Water

Room with a view. Photo courtesy of Sumahan on the Water.

THE PLACE TO STAY

Sumahan on the Water
Kulelí Caddesi No. 43; +90-216-422-8000
My favorite hotel is on the water. For those who appreciate an unmatched sense of design, great views, and a good martini, this is your hidden gem. Spend the night or stop by for a sunset cocktail.

THE STROLL TO TAKE

Kuzguncuk
A small, tree-lined neighborhood tucked away on the city's Asian side. When I lived in Istanbul, I would take a boat over for lunch to get away from the hectic city. There are a number of great cafes lining the main street and a fantastic coffee house at the end on the water.

Banyan Istanbul

Drinks overlooking the Bosphorus. Photo courtesy of Banyan.

THE DRINK WITH A VIEW

Banyan
Fescizade Binasi 3/2 Ortakoy Salhanesi Sok; +90-212-259-9060
The food is as great as everyone says, but I recommend the bar for drinks and a view of the Bosphorus. They make a nice margarita and the two corner perches have unrivaled views of the sea. It's an easy way to spend an hour (or three).

Lucca Istanbul

Cocktails at Istanbul's best happy hour. Photo courtesy of Lucca

THE PLACE TO PARTY

Lucca
Cevdet Pasa Caddesi. 51; +90-212-257-1255
A see-and-be-seen type of place in the posh neighborhood of Bebek. Despite its cadre of haters, I think Lucca is one of the best parties in town. As an expat looking for happy hour or a dance party, I know Lucca will deliver. Many thanks to them for a good night.

THE PLACE TO CAFFEINATE

Geyik Coffee Roastery & Cocktail Bar
Kiliçalipa┼ča Mahallesi, Akarsu Caddesi, No. 22/A; +90-532-773-0013
Located in the expat-filled bohemian neighborhood of Cihangir. Geyik serves killer espresso and handcrafted cocktails to a crowd that spills out onto the street late into the night. It's located on a block lined with bars and restaurants that are full every evening.

Emine Ana Tantuni Istanbul

The original street meat. Photo courtesy of Emine Ana Tantuni.

WHERE TO END THE NIGHT

Emine Ana Tantuni
Siraselviler Cad. Billurcu Sokak. No. 5/A; +90-212-292-8430
I’ll keep this brief. The night is over. You are hungry. Nothing beats a tantuni made by Emine Ana. Small strips of unbelievably tender meat are rolled with a salad of diced tomatoes, onions, parsley, and sumac into a piece of Turkish bread called durum. It's impossible to eat just one. Read more about it on my blog.

MORE SABAH

The Turkish Slipper Reinvented

MORE ON FATHOM

Kadafi, Kaymak, and Baklava: Best Food Day Ever in Istanbul
Stephanie March's Istanbul Diary
Three Days in Istanbul with Kids

Mickey is the creator and exclusive purveyor of Sabah shoes aka Sabahs. You can follow him on Instagram. He travels to sell Sabahs, dance, meet new people, and find pleasure in anonymity and spontaneity.

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