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İsmail Ağa Kahve

Kanlıca Mah., İskele Meydanı No 2, Kanlıca, Istanbul

In business for 140 years and still run by the Sipahioğlu family, this pier-side café serves the thick yoghurt that Kanlıca is famous for. With icing sugar on top, it becomes a delicacy with an indelicate name, karga beyni (cow’s brain). Distracted tourists spoon it into their mouths as they watch dolphins darting and admire the yalıs along the stretch. The café also serves different types of ice cream for those not keen on yoghurt, as well as breakfasts and light meals.

One of the most charming villages on the Anatolian side, this neighbourhood is known for its yalıs, which include the Ethem Pertev Bey Yalı, with its balcony of arabesque arches (read more here), and the Ahmet Rasim Pasha Yalı, now the Ajia Hotel. Further up along the wooded stretch of Çakalburnu is the Çubuklu Halil Ethem Yalı, with its elegant bowed frontage.

After you have your mid-morning yoghurt, explore the neighbourhood which has an interesting mosque, the Iskender Pasha Mosque. Then, take a taxi to the Hıdiv Kasrı (Khedive’s Palace), from where you can get one of the best views in the city. Lunch at Kanlıca Cafe, which does killer mantı or Ikinci Bahar, highly recommended for its kuzu tandır (pit-roasted lamb).

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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