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My Istanbul: Melisa Çakarlar

Melisa Çakarlar is one of the most in-demand event planners in Turkey. Her company, Devrialem, boasts international clients such as Cartier, Maserati, H&M and Absolut. The Istanbul native shares some of her favourite things about her city with Laura Wells

City Guide
Laura Wells,

What are your favourite neighbourhoods in Istanbul?
Rumeli Hisarı, where my home is, and Teşvikiye, where my office is.

What are your favourite stores?
In Nişantaşı, Blender, as well as Beymen, Harvey Nichols, Vakko and V2K.

Which are your favourite Istanbul restaurants?
Chilai in Bebek, for ambiance, the food and the view. Delicatessen in Nişantaşı, for the food and Champagne by the glass; it’s also great for meetings. Vira Vira, in Arnavutköy, a fish restaurant that has the best appetisers with the best prices! Vogue in Beşiktaş, for the view and for the sushi. Sunset in Ulus, also for the view and the sushi.

Do you have a favourite local café or pub?
Cafe Nar in Rumeli Hisarı.

Any recommendations for local foods/dishes to try?
Vira Vira, Kıyı, and Uskumru Restaurant are the best for local seafood dishes. Hünkar is the best restaurant for traditional, homemade meals. Beyti, Köşebaşı and Günaydın are all good for kebabs. Özgür Şef is a great place to sample our local meat.

Where do you take out-of-town friends who are visiting?
Zuma Restaurant and Chilai, which are both on the waterfront, and Dağ Restaurant near Belgrad Forest after a nice walk. For culture, we go to the Istanbul Modern Museum, Pera Museum, Sabancı Museum and Galerist.

Where is your favourite walk in your city?
Around Rumeli Hisarı, a fortress on the Bosphorus waterfront, and also in the old town of Arnavutköy.

Which are the city’s best attractions?
Kuleli Military Academy in Çengelköy, Esma Sultan in Ortaköy, the Pera Palace Hotel and the Archaeology Museum near the Topkapı Palace.

And the best museum?
Istanbul Modern Museum.

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