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Istanbul on any Budget

From spicy lamb to a haute hammam, here’s how to balance your budget in the city.


High and Low IstanbulPhoto:

Nicole ($$$)
On the top floor of an old Beyoğlu convent, this spot celebrates Turkey's culinary culture (a mix of modern Mediterranean flavours) with a seasonal tasting menu. Quail stuffed with wild mushrooms, pine nuts and barley pairs nicely with a glass of Kalecik karası, a pinot noir by local winery Vinkara.
Boazkesen Cad. Tomtom Kaptan Sok. 18, 90-212-292-4467

Kenan Usta OcakbaSı ($)

Seated around a wide counter, watching owner Kenan Usta prepare salads and meze, grill lamb chops and load skewers, you just might feel like you're having dinner with 20 of your newest friends. And that's even before you've been offered Adana kebabı (spicy minced lamb served with warm flatbread) hot off the grill.
Kurabiye Sok. 18, 90-212-293-5611


High and Low IstanbulPhoto: Cengiz Karliova

Kılıç Ali Pasa Hamamı ($$$)

This long-neglected 16th-century hammam reopened in the mid-2000s after a seven-year restoration. Relax on a heated marble hexagon, get exfoliated with a special mitten and wrapped in a peştamal (a traditional cotton body wrap) before enjoying a glass of sweet şerbet under the café's 17-metre dome.
Kemanke Mah. Hamam Sok. 1, 90-212-393-8010

Tarihi Kadırga Hamamı ($)

It wouldn't be unusual to see three generations of the same family walk by, chatting casually, as you wait for your scrub; this public bathhouse has been serving the needs of Kadırga locals of all ages since 1505. After your scrub, linger over a small glass of black tea, another Turkish ritual.
Kadırga Liman Cad. 69, 90-212-518-1948

Rooftop bars

High and Low IstanbulPhoto: Karos

Mikla ($$$)
The designers of this lounge kept the view over the historic peninsula clear, snaking a subtle, long bar around low, white couches. Try a dry, fruity Turkish white wine like Doluca's Kav, made from the indigenous narince grape, as the sun sets over the old city, turning the Golden Horn copper.
The Marmara Pera, Merutyet Cad. 15, 90-212-293-5656

Lebiderya ($)
This outlook over the Bosphorus is worth the trek through winding Beyoğlu backstreets and up the seven floors of a 19th-century apartment building. Try a rakı bella, a blend of Turkey's aniseed-flavoured spirit with lemonade, cinnamon and vanilla, or do it like a local – rakı straight, with water and ice.
Kumbaracı Yokuu, 57/7, 90-212-293-4989




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