This is bazaar is located behind the Sultan Ahmed Mosque mosque. Situated on the site of 17th century stables; the Arasta bazaar is small and extremely touristic – full of neatly arranged gift shops . It’s not a place to go on a dedicated trip; it is a good resting stop between Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Mosaic Museum – or a place to burn time or grab a bite in case the above are not open yet.
Though like any of Istanbul’s many Bazaars, the Arasta is good place to look at the different Turkish handcrafts.
We did find one excellent non-tchotchke spot that stood out selling lamps.
The House Cafe is a beautiful restaurant chain with cleverly designed individual locations combined with tasty food and pleasant service. Exactly what one wants from a restaurant.
Architecturally, all of the House Cafes are designed by Autoban Design Office ,blending antique, modern and industrial elements resulting a stylish setting. On the Culinary front, London Savoy trained chef Coscun Uisal blends local and international cuisine; including pizza pasta sandwiches and salads, using organic ingredients from sustainable sources whenever possible.
The Ortaköy location opened in 2005 with a premium view of the Ortaköy bridge and of the mosque on the Bosphorus. It is the perfect location for brunch and includes a buffet area on its sunny terrace. On weekend evenings, a DJ takes over the bar creating a pleasant atmosphere for cocktails.
There are also pleanty of jams, marinated olives, southern Turkish olive oil, coffee, biscottis, cookies and lovely wines.
Cooking classes are on offer at the İstiklal location offering different culinary teachings; including Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Ottoman and French cuisines.
As an aside, there is The House Apart division of the House Cafe, through which one can rent fully furnished luxury apartments scattered around İstanbul.
The House light toast: Toasted whole wheat bread sandwich with flax seed marinated light feta cheese, rocket leaves and sun dried tomatoes.
Menemen : Three eggs scrambled with tomatoes and green peppers (a personal favorite all over Arabia) at Ortaköy
Salad of warm artichoke hearts filled with mashed sun-dried tomatoes, and prawns sautéed in sweet & sour sauce on mixed Mediterranean greens at Kanyon