One of my favorite activities on a sunny day is to take the ferry from Beşiktaş to Kadıköy, and spend some time wandering around the cheerful streets of Kadıköy and Moda. Here’s an ideal itinerary: Hop off the ferry, join the crowds walking towards Kadıköy’s Çarşı area. These streets are filled with green grocers, fishmongers, thrift book shops, beer places, deli’s, even pet shops and barbers. In Kadıköy, you can see a miniature of Istanbul within a few blocks.
Hungry after seeing all the goodies at the market stalls? Grab a bite at the local eateries: Many people (and all guide books) would recommend Çiya for lunch. Although Çiya continues to be a great local spot despite all the crowds and limelight, my recommendation will be a truly local place: Halil Lahmacun.
Lahmacun is generally called ‘Turkish pizza’ – which is complete nonsense. It’s a thin, round piece of dough topped with minced meat, spices and sometimes onion. It’s best friends with a generous handful of fresh parsley, a squeeze of lemon and a cold glass of ayran. Though I’m not much of a carnivore, a good lahmacun once in a while is totally worth a trip to Kadıköy for me.
Take a seat at one of Halil’s tables outside, have your lahmacun ‘acılı’ – spicy. Apply parsley, roll into a wrap, munch, repeat. No other place beats Halil’s crunchy dough, speed and neighborhood atmosphere.