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Firuz Ağa Çay Bahçesi

Corner of Sıraselviler Caddesi and Akarsu Caddesi, Cihangir

Actors and actresses can be spotted reading scripts at Cihangir’s packed sidewalk patios every afternoon, including at the neighbourhood’s most popular Firuzağa Çay Bahçesi (tea garden). Packed from mid-morning well into the night, it is a very pleasant place to rest – whether for one glass of tea or many. Grab a table, bring your own snacks from neighbouring food boutiques or cafés, and join in one of the rituals of the Cihangir lifestyle.

This is a favourite hangout of culinary writer and journalist Anya von Bremzen who writes: ‘Like other Istanbullus, I develop a stubborn, irrational devotion to particular joints and food rituals. Each morning I practically sleepwalk to my local çay bahçesi (tea garden), where Cihangir’s intellectuals crowd around tables laid out beneath tree branches and grape arbours, all shadowed by our green neighbourhood mosque. At a çay bahçesi, you order your tulip-shaped glass of sweet çay (black tea) and are free to linger forever. I usually take along a breakfast of feta, cucumbers, olives, and simit, a sesame-crusted, ring-shaped bread sold as a snack by street vendors all over the city. Two hours later, when the wood-burning oven is fired up at the corner dive, I’m back at the tea garden with my midmorning lahmacun.’


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