Ortaköy is a small romantic and charming neighborhood in Istanbul. There are lots of small shops, bars and restaurants, but most people go to eat outside, have a drink, or just to admire the Bosphorus bridge view, which is lit up in different colors at night.
Ortakoy is one of the nicest neighborhoods of Besiktas districts on the European side of Istanbul, right under the first Bosphorus bridge. In Turkish it means “middle village” because it was in the middle of the strait.
Outside the restaurants are selling mostly kumpir, jacket potato Turkish style and delicious waffles with your choice of toppings. Ortakoy is the most famous place to eat kumpir.
There is a boat that offers short tours of the Bosphorus if you don’t have time for the full tours which leave further down the Bosphorus. On weekends, there is a big open bazaar that sells everything from ethnic bags and clothes to accessories.
One of the oldest buildings in Ortaköy is the Turkish bath built by the famous Ottoman architect Sinan in 1556. The famous Ortaköy Mosque was originally built in the 18th century. The paintings inside the mosque are not so incredible, but the ambiance greeted by the light and the water is gorgeous and a great place for photo shoots.
Restaurants inside the back streets that do home-made Turkish ravioli and Turkish appetizers are nice and cozy. Also, nice is the House Cafe, which can also be visited late in the evening for drinks at the bar. Right next to the House Cafe is night club Anjelique and Restaurant Zuma.
Other interesting sites within Ortakoy district are: Ciragan Palace hotel which used to be a palace, Kabatas High School from late Ottoman period, Feriye restaurant which used be the hunting mansion of the sultans. A small pier connects Ortakoy to other Istanbul neighborhoods by passenger ferries.