This is Bomonti. The district is becoming ever more popular with a variety of choices for a good coffee, a bit of shopping, and delicious food.
In the last few years, I have begun to visit Bomonti more frequently. In the beginning, experiencing Bomonti meant visiting the Feriköy antique market that takes place on Sundays, or the organic market that is set up on Saturdays. In the last two years, things have changed here and they continue to do so. This is why the neighborhood excites me even more with each passing day. I never fail to discover something new when I walk around the neighborhood.
The area gradually became more industrialized with the food, beverage, and textile factories opened here in the early period of the Republic. Around 2010, business centers and residential buildings were built in this neighborhood that is adjacent to Feriköy, Kurtuluş, and Şişli. The opening of the Bomonti Campus of the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts contributed to the area both in the cultural and social sense. The numbers of entertainment venues here are increasing. Of course, the residents of the area have also changed. While there was an intensity of immigrants in the early days, over time the numbers of young white collar workers and students began to grow. In addition to the opening of the campus, the revival of bomontiada is also accelerating this transformation. Bomonti is now the meeting point of culture, art, and gastronomy!
When we hear the word Bomonti, the first thing that comes to most peoples’ minds is the market. If you’re here on a Saturday, you can wander around Turkey’s first organic market. This market is 100% organic and trustworthy with its vast variety of products ranging from olive oil to fruit and vegetables, halva to Turkish delight, molasses to dairy products. Plastic carrier bags are not used at all in the market. I must also mention the antique market that takes place on Sundays. This is certainly a magical world for nostalgia enthusiasts. It is better to come early in the morning before it gets too crowded. Before I start my shopping, I begin the day with a potato gözleme (filled flat pastry) and tea. Now, it’s time for a journey into the past. There are pieces here that have been chosen with great care and appear to have come from my grandmother’s house. Records, analog cameras, typewriters, telescopes, watches, plates, and tea sets are everywhere. I glance through the advertisements in old magazines and newspapers, which really makes me giggle, and continue. There is virtually everything in this market!
It’s time to wander around the streets of Bomonti. But let’s have a morning coffee first! After its branch in Kadıköy, Montag Coffee Roasters that stands out with its simple design opened a shop in Bomonti. Another option is the coffee shop Kozmoz whose warm environment and delicious sweets have made it a favorite with locals. If you are not satisfied with the gözleme and are looking for a filling breakfast before a coffee break, you can visit bomontiada. A mixed breakfast at the gourmet market Delimonti or granola and a blackberry smoothie at Monochrome are pleasant options to begin the day. Actually, there are plenty of things to do in this complex: the Ara Güler Museum, Leica Gallery, film screenings, and concerts in the evenings at the cult live music venue Babylon are ideals choices to end the day. Whatever time of the day, bomontiada welcomes visitors with open arms. Especially if the weather is nice, sitting in the communal area distances people from the city’s hustle and bustle.
I am one of those people who like to explore neighborhoods on foot. I always say to myself, “It doesn’t matter if I get lost; let’s see where the streets will lead me.” Before I visit the stores and restaurants, the writing and painting on the walls catch my attention: graffiti of an astronaut with a broken heart on one corner, the character Dustin from the famous series Stranger Things on one of the walls. Kein Art is one of the street artists who have added excellent color to the neighborhood. I want to treat myself to something, so I head towards nab Istanbul. When I see the essential oils, soaps made from essential oils, and cosmetic products, I can’t help thinking that we should spoil ourselves more often -both body and soul! Just at that moment, Nobo in one of Bomonti’s new venues Advayta Yoga comes to mind. This is a restaurant inspired by the Ayurvedic principles of eating, and is also a part of the zero waste movement. The bowl concept presentation by the friendly team virtually turns food into meditation.
There is such a vast variety of delicious alternatives in the neighborhood! Let’s look at the reverse. Just a ten-minute walk away is the most famous of chef Burak Zafer Sırmaçekici’s Primitif Street Flavors. No knives or forks… Great! After solving the dessert part of the meal at Royal Çikolata ve Şekerleme, a symbol of Bomonti since 1865, I am out on the streets again.
It’s time to burn off the food I ate! After a 10-minute walk, I reach Jammin’s Vinyl Records. The relaxed atmosphere and the records that take you on a journey in time invite me on a nostalgic break among the skyscrapers.
It’s getting dark, but for some reason I enjoy Bomonti even more in the evenings. I wonder if this is because I enjoy discovering new flavors. In my eyes, Bomonti in the evening is transformed into Istanbul’s most exciting gastronomic district. The first reason for this is Fatih Tutak’s TURK. Fatih Tutak, who gained experience working in a variety of Far Eastern cuisines for many years, returned to his own culture and roots with his restaurant at Bomonti. He appears before us here with an amazing Turkish cuisine which might be unfamiliar to us but which certainly appeals to the soul. Chef Cihan Kıpçak’s Batard stands out with its eclectic and authentic Turkish cuisine, and is another one of my favorites. I could come here every night and taste something different. This is a charming, peaceful venue in the heart of Bomonti. I recommend trying the handmade pasta and tandir kebab. Peacefulness may be appealing, but if you want to raise the volume a bit, then you should head to Wu Sushi. Wu Sushi stands out with its high ceiling and stylish design, and offers those who enjoy Japanese cuisine a variety of sushi rolls and sashimi. In the late hours of the night, ending the day accompanied by music is like icing on the cake.
Bomonti offers something different both day and night, and is a dynamic neighborhood where everyone can find something to enjoy. Access is easy as it is in the heart of Istanbul. We expect much more news from this neighborhood that is becoming more distinctive by the day!