The European side of Istanbul is what draws many people to Turkey, but it’s the Asian side that has my heart. It’s quiet, it’s charming, and it’s the place to be if you want to feel like a local. What it lacks in tourist attractions in more than makes up for in character…especially in Moda.
Moda is the hipster oasis of Istanbul, where one goes to find foreign food, quirky goodness, and a decent cup of coffee. It’s also only about 45 minutes away from our campus on a good traffic day, so we have spent many a weekend there when we need to escape the microcosm. We are always on the hunt for a new restaurant, good cafe, or fun shop. After many months of trial and error, we’ve started to settle into our favorite spots in the area.
Our first priority when we step off of the service bus? COFFEE. We have tried countless coffee shops in the area, but now that we have been here for over a year, we’ve narrowed it down to a few favorites.
This was our first big discovery in the area and still one of our regular hangouts. I love the Breaking Bad theme (because who doesn’t love Breaking Bad?) and the coffee is amazing too. This is one of the few places I have been able to order coffee with almond milk, which is usually my milk of choice.
Conveniently located by all of the bars, they offer a delicious variety of coffee beans, mostly of Latin American origin. I love stopping by in the morning for a strong cup of filtered coffee (sade) or for a cortado as an afternoon treat. They also have pretty good cupcakes.
This place opened up recently and has taken off better than most new things do in the area. I love that they serve their filtered coffee in a good, old-fashioned mug. Everything about it reminds me of home. The coffee selection isn’t enormous, but they offer great atmosphere, with comfy chairs and plenty of art on the walls.
This is where coffee lovers can take their friends who don’t like coffee (but seriously…how do such people exist?) In addition to a cozy atmosphere and good coffee, Food project has an EPIC hot chocolate menu, including flavors like pumpkin spice and lavender (my fave!). They also have a killer breakfast buffet on Saturdays.
If you ask me, no trip to Istanbul is complete without a visit to the Asian side, even if it’s only for a few hours…and while you’re at it, go get some great coffee (especially if you aren’t a fan of Turkish coffee).