By Justin Mays:
Inspired by the recommendations in Daily Sabah last October, this article shares those suggestions and adds some of Prime Property’s own for one of our favorite neighborhoods in Istanbul. Sandwiched between Sisli and Beyoglu, elegant Nistantasi is the perfect spot to spend a day shopping, dining, and exploring.
South of Nisantasi has two areas to enjoy: Macka - famous for its large park with a strip of fine dining establishments and five-star hotels on Mim Kemal Oke Cad and Harbiye known for its outdoor performance space and Kucuk Ciftlik Park festival space. This has been enjoyed by Istanbullus for decades during the summer, and a new trendy dining and social establishment, Dekk. Macka Park fills up on the weekends with people of all ages exercising, socializing, and picnicking.
To its west is Osmanbey, with a good mix of local and international shops offering services like hair and nail salons and local restaurants that you can access via the metro. Tesvikye is adjacent to the neighborhood to the north and has many luxury shops and local brands throughout its streets. Istanbul’s American hospital, with its high-tech quality facilities and English language services, is also here. These neighborhoods all complement each other and are walkable from each other.
The historical Nisantasi is up a hill from Besiktas and many upper floor flats here have sweeping views of the city. Lively bars, international restaurants like Spago, and luxury shops which include Louis Vuitton are spaced throughout the neighborhood attracting people from around the world. Peruse Tesvikye street to Macka street and enjoy looking at the stunning historical buildings while dipping in and out of shops like Sephora and Zara and stopping for coffee at the classic House Café next to the historical 1854 Tesvikye Mosque. The Cafe is in a structure called Muvakkithane, unique to Turkey which used to house clocks so that people could check prayer times.
Third-wave local roast coffee culture and bespoke cocktails are the norms in this neighborhood, and you could spend days trying all the local spots. The popular local chain, Nusret, has its most stunning restaurant space here at Macka Palace, where tourists and locals alike enjoy visiting. Try the famous gold leaf wrapped steak for that Instagram post!
Nisantasi has an interesting story behind its name, and if you pause at the mosque courtyard you will find two archery target stones (Nisan-target, Tas-stone in Turkish). In a nod to its Ottoman past when an archer would break records and a stone would be erected in their honor. These stones are rare today and are dedicated to Sultan Selim III in 1790, and the other is dedicated to Sultan Mahmud II in 1811. When the Ottoman court moved to Dolmabahce Palace, Nisantasi transformed from a rural area to a home for elites.