SAC Recommendations

Rachel Litwak

Yoga is fundamental for me, and everywhere I move I need to find a yoga “home”. I was very happy to find Cihangir Yoga studios here in Istanbul. There are three locations, two of which are fairly easily accessible by public transport from Üsküdar, where many of the foreign teachers working at SAC live. One location is on the Asian side and one is on the European side. They primarily follow the Hatha tradition and offer classes in Flow, Yin, Power, yoga therapy, Pilates, and meditation, among others. Instructors are very qualified, and some speak English.  If you are interested in pursuing certification as a yoga teacher, they have ongoing teacher training and professional development for yoga instruction.

I love to eat! Luckily for me, I also love to prepare my own food (cook). Two places in Istanbul make my daily food life satisfying and varied.

First there is the PAZAR every Monday in the Bağlarbaşa neighborhood of Üsküdar. When I get home from work, I grab my cloth bags and some cash.  Within a few blocks from my home, I can easily and cheaply select from a bounty of fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, eggs, nuts and dried fruit, olives, and other things. I stock my kitchen with healthy, fresh, and local products, sometimes at a fraction of the cost I would pay at a local supermarket. Best of all I develop relationships with the venders, practice my Turkish, learn more food and shopping words, and enjoy the kindness of a free sample or a smile.  Cash only.

Second is my “go to” spice stall at the famous Emınönü Egyptian Spice Market (Mısır Çarşısı). Ucuczular stall No. 51 is where I go for all of my spice, tea, and utterly irresistible Turkish delight and candied nuts. Bilge Kadioglu, the owner, finished a degree in Project Management at Rochester Institute of Technology, in my home city. She was the first female-run business in the traditionally male-run spice bazaar, but her family has five generations of roots, dating back to 1886, in this business at the Egyptian Spice Market. She has brought a level of quality, freshness, and innovation to her business, mixing her experiences in Turkey and the USA. She has an online business linked to the shop, ships your custom made gifts abroad, and helps you to source any item you may desire for your cooking that you can’t easily find locally. You leave with a happy pallet, having sampled a spectrum of flavors and colors and receiving an education about things you may never have known even existed.

Catherine Gallagher

If you would like to take some salsa lessons, Danskeyfi is a really great dance studio right in Altunizade. They offer courses in Latin Dance such as salsa, bachata, flamenco, and tango. Many of the instructors speak English as well as Turkish, and everyone is quite friendly.

Kelley Christman

Cafe Nar: Great little breakfast and lunch place. The owner speaks English.  Address: Murat Reis Mah. Yeniocak Sok.No:7 Bağlarbaşı 

Nev Mekan: It is housed in a former train station (I believe). The decor is very nice. Some of the waiters speak English.  Address: Selami Ali Mahallesi, Gazi Caddesi, No 12, Üsküdar, İstanbul

Capitol Mall:

Make sure to get a Migros card from the Migros supermarket in the mall. There is a good selection at the Migros in the mall.

Also get a movie card from Spectrum theater in the mall, if you are a fan of going to movies. They show many US movies.

Kitchenette has a good selection of food and serves alchol with meals.


Şiraz: Caferağa, Sarraf Ali Sk. No:7, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul

Marakeş Mum: Moroccan Restaurant Caferağa, No A, Şair Latifi Sk. No:12, 34700 Kadıköy/İstanbul

Rind: Wine and Spirits (Next to Şiraz in Kadikoy). Alcohol is sold at some limited places in Uskudar, such as Migros in Capitol Mall. However, Rind has a nice selection.

Some Recs Nearby Üsküdar

Based on an approximation based on dinner for one person, no drinks included:

Moderate: 10-20 TL

Middle: 20-35 TL

Upper End: 35-50 TL (or more)

The following list is based on some suggestions from faculty (See Maps 1 and 2).

Hakiki Kebab (Moderate): great grilled meats and the a like

Bağlarbaşi İskender Kebap (Moderate): grilled meats, etc.

Kitap Café (Moderate and just a few blocks away from campus): a café/book shop with interesting people/clientele, an earthy/esoteric atmosphere, some great homemade vegetarian food, and wifi – the type of cafe where you can sit, work, and eat if you choose.

Wienerwald (Moderate): an Austrian based chicken restaurant that some think is a step above places like KFC; great sauces.

Nakkastepe Restaurant (Upper End): Menu options include: Sandiago Steak, Levrekli Pazı Sarması (a kind of fish), Fıstıklı Künefe (a dessert), Güveçte Sakızlı Sütlaç (a dessert) ve Özel Incir dessert. Special: Meat ball that is a combination of Isırgan otu, pastırma, nane, dereotu, spices and veal.

Filizler Köftecisi (Moderate): directly across from the Maiden‟s Tower in Uskudar; includes a beauti ful view of European İstanbul and has homemade wonderful food (note: the homemade tiramisu is excellent).

Asli Borek (Moderate): Aslı Pastanesi was established in 1994. Since that time, this place has been famous for its delicious "börek" (with cheese, minced meat and spinach). You can also enjoy the zeytinyağlı dolma here which is a traditional Turkish food. You have to drop by this amazing place that has more than forty-five branches all around Turkey.

Bag Pastanesi (Moderate): The adventure of the Bağ Pastanesi began with wedding cakes, cookies and brunches in 1961. With its cozy atmosphere and fancy design, it’s a pleasure to spend time in Bağ Pastanesi while sipping your hot chocolate and chatting with your friends.

Dilruba Bahcesi (Upper End): Dilruba restaurant has a mini-bar, restaurant, and gorgeous garden.

Rosarios: (Upper End): Quite good Italian (about a 8TL cab ride or 35 minute walk).

Eateries abound in Istanbul. We‟ve only mentioned a few to get you started locally.

There are cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs, and more in various neighborhoods.

You‟ll be able to either spend 40TL or 50TL or anything in-between.

Shopping malls

CAPITOL: 14 movie theaters, 157 stores, fast food, cafes, and two upper-end restaurants. Website:

TEPE NAUTILUS: 40 national stores, 70 international brand name stores, 8 movie theaters, Sports International (Fitness Gym), bowling.