Despite its Asian Side location, Moda is one of the most bohemian and European neighborhoods in the city. Administrative part of Kadikoy, it is a big transport hub, a hip spot and the stronghold of pro-socialism youngsters, which means freedom loving. That’s why it is packed with tattoo parlors, vinyl shops and vintage boutiques.
If you are staying on the European Side, take a legendary Istanbul ferry to travel to Kadikoy Harbor. Disembark and take it to the right to a huge red-and-white hot air balloon. The beautiful embankment with stunning views is behind it. Admire the Historic Peninsula on the other side of Bosporus and a charming atmosphere of locals walking their dogs, guitar-playing students, joggers and snuggling couples. Walk to the end of the embankment and take steep stairs past residential homes down to the sea and Moda Harbor – now it is a café and welcomes tourists not ferries. If you are hungry, better go right, to the opposite side from the sea.
Opened over 20 years ago, Kirinti has a unique hunger-meter –the waiter will ask you how hungry you are and offer the best options depending on your answer. They have no menu – all their stuff is listed on posters above the kitchen, which is by the way very American diner-like. They offer meat, kebabs, deserts and spaghetti - portions are big, delicious and generous. They have no booze license but if you ask for ayran making a meaningful face you will get a big dark glass of beer, disguised as soda.
180 Coffee Bakery
Take Moda Street passing the local favorite – cafe Ali Usta and numerous waffle houses to a small park with tram tracks. That's the place – the corner 180 Coffee Bakery is a cozy, greyish-yellow space with a curly blond owner and great coffee. A perfect spot to take a break and explore their cutting board menus, lovely music and cool visitors.
Bahariye is the Paris oasis in the city, from where you can take a tram to Kadikoy. It looks like a beautiful cross-cultural mosaics with its shops, restaurants, decorated sidewalks, a Greek church and an education center.
The street ends (or begins if we follow the one-way logic) by the square with a bull sculpture, which is always crowded. If you are here in the cool chestnut season the smell will make you feel this special atmosphere and the flavor will complete the charm. In summer look for carts with corn, freshly boiled or charcoal grilled.
Nazim Hikmet Kultur Merkezi
Nâzım Hikmet Cultural Center Tea Garden is named after the famous Turkish poet and is known for its great summer nights in colorful-lit courtyard where you can get some strong Turkish tea and a nice chat (during which you can easily drink ten little cups). Or come here alone to read a book, watch others and escape noisy tourists and city chaos.
Moda barlar sokağı Bar Street
Weekends are time for outdoor parties when folks of all gangs and styles go crazy till 3 am. Some places are really rock, attracting local bikers and heavy metal lovers. What's good - the crowd is wild but really safe and friendly.