Bağdat Avenue in the Asian part of the town will show you the life of prosperous and European-oriented locals. This long one-way street runs parallel to the embankment and features several upscale neighborhoods with the best shops and cafés frequented by top managers, old ladies in gold and trendy hipsters. This district is the holiday that is always with you or a place to walk your new Maserati, Nikes or chocolate Labrador (depends on what you have) – here people love to show off and assess others.
This luxury brand takes a meringue-like white mansion in Bagdat Avenue and has captivating shop windows changing every season. Spring is time for birds of paradise, X-mas brings in jingles, deer and snowmen. Have a look even if you don't fancy their too formal style and designs made of silk and other expensive fabrics with ideal cuts and top quality.
The kebab chain opened in the 1970s and offers almost haute couture stuff: excellent service, small portions, delicious food. Try some original starters – pickles (e.g. huge marinated garlic) and vegetables with olive oil (artichokes, beans). You risk to stay long if you add a glass of raki to complement the yummy food – treat yourself to it, it is worth it.
Must visit place for all with a sweet tooth – the palace (that is what saray stands for) has the best traditional milk desserts not so known as pahlava or Turkish delight but tender and better for your health. Тheir quince dessert is paradise.
Another trendy Turkish brand of nice quality and design. It is loved by young office girls working in the skyscrapers of Levent and Maslak business district – here they buy not so ordinary stuff that still conforms to their dress code. If you need something of this kind check the store, whose name by the way means the Silk Road in Turkish. And silk they sell.
This multistory department store is the heavy weapon of shopping and part of the chain owned by a really wealthy middle aged businessman Boyner. If you really need shopping and have a couple of hours to chase stuff you will find everything you need here – from perfume to basketball ball.
It is one of the oldest and the most famous ice cream in Turkey made according to a traditional Marash recipe. The place is always packed: families come with grannies and toddlers. The venue offers plenty to eat but first try the ice cream - traditional karadut (mulberry) and damla sakizi pine resin with a nice tangy flavor (it is usually put in pastry and bubble gum).
A mix of hipster brands, funny accessories and stationery and things of obscure use (like Kate Moss paper doll). This is a chain but the Bagdat Avenue location offers quite a range and locals love going there to get creative gifts. Prices are not that low for Istanbul but rare brands and interesting concept make them such.
Turkish brand named after its owner makes clothes for those who love laid back and smart style and prefer light, comfy and neutral stuff. Pop in if you are looking for natural fabrics, original shoes, accessories or bags. Keep in mind that Bagdat Avenue has two locations – the smaller ones is focused on accessories and the big two-floor sells everything, including stuff from new collections.
Maybe it is one the most idyllic parts of the Asian side embankment stretching for miles. Endless sea, bike lane and lawns can pacify even the most stressed urban dwellers and make this place an ideal sunset watching spot. People strolling with kids and golden retrievers symbolize a very Californian vibe – relaxed and carefree. This is the place for cyclists, rollers, skaters and exotic flying disc players or jugglers. Walk forward to Fenerbahce, check the villas and beach cafes (locals don't swim in town except for poor family kids and crazy Europeans). Have a seat on the lawn or on big rocks by the water to enjoy the sea and the slow pace of life around.