3 Score & More is proud to present our first guest post, authored by Lindsay and Andrew Trombley. Here they present a sketch of Istanbul based on their recent experience that will inspire you to plan a trip pronto! Great recommendations and insights from the millennial perspective that work for all travelers. Please add your own favorites below!                                                                                                  –  – Jane

A few months ago, Jane offered to come to London and watch our toddler for a few days so we could go away for a kid-free vacation to celebrate our 5-year anniversary. She didn’t have to offer twice. We had flights to Istanbul booked before you could say doner kebab.

We arrived in Istanbul on a Wednesday afternoon. Following a harrowing 40-minute cab ride throughout which our driver simultaneously texted, smoked, and wove through stop-and-go traffic, we were deposited at our hotel, the industrial-chic Sub Karaköy. The hotel is small, with heaps of character and a doting staff, and at about $125 per night, cheap as chips.

Best of all is the location in the Karaköy neighborhood, situated on the north side of the Golden Horn.  Karaköy is often described as the Brooklyn of Istanbul – in some ways an apt description, notwithstanding the calls to prayer from the local mosques and the legions of roaming feral cats. The area heaves with chic cafes, bars and restaurants serving mezze, Turkish coffee, and raki to stylish locals who crowd the sidewalk tables day and night.

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Over a few blissful days we drank in the sights: the stunning mosques, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, the 19th century Dolmabahçe Palace, and the off-the-beaten-path Chora Museum.

In between, we squeezed in culinary and sensory delights. Herewith, a few of our favorites:

Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam: The interior marble space of this Turkish bath is gorgeous; designed by the famed Ottoman architect Sinan in the 16th century, it’s recently been lovingly restored to its former glory. Let the attendants work their magic on you and you’ll leave feeling the cleanest you’ve ever felt.

Munferit
The bar at Munferit

Munferit: This gem of a restaurant is located in hip Beyoglu, a 15-minute walk up the hill from Karaköy. The polished wood and black subway tile of the interior ooze a 1920s nautical vibe, and the candlelit alleyway outside, where we had our anniversary dinner, is as romantic as it gets. Everything single we ordered was absolutely delectable, but the black couscous with calamari and the sage ice cream were standouts.

Karaköy Güllüoğlu: This, we learned, is where the locals go for their baklava, and after a caloric splurge of a breakfast here on our last day we learned why. Go and gorge – and pack up some to bring home.

Kunefe
künefe

Halil: On the Asian side, a short ferry ride across the Bosporus, this humble restaurant specializes in lahmacun, a delicious kind of Turkish flatbread topped with minced meat. But it was also the site of one of our favorite discoveries of the trip: künefe, a dessert that might be what you would get if you crossed an arepa with baklava and topped it with goat’s milk ice cream: in other words, heaven.

Cheers,

Lindsay and Andrew

©3 Score & More 2016