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Insiders Guide: Demet Muftuouglu's Istanbul

Photographed by Alex Majoli and Daria Birang

Demet Muftuoglu is a girl to know in Istanbul — not only is she behind the city’s annual arts and culture festival, but she’s also co-founder of Istanbul’74, a cultural platform that includes a gallery, magazine and creative lab. Here, she gives us the inside track on all things from shopping spots to the best nighttime scene.

First-time visitors to Istanbul must see…
The sunset on the Bosphorus. Istanbul’s historical moments such the Galata Tower and the Hagia Sophia. Karaköy, one of my favorite districts. And the Grand Bazaar for all of its traditional treasures.

Don’t forget to pack…
Your camera to capture all the beautiful moments and timeless memories.

Best shopping…
The Grand Bazaar for its hidden traditional treasures, V2K Designers for designer clothes, Yastik by Rifat Ozbek for its beautiful pillows and Haremlique for its high-quality linen products.

Turkish phrase to know…
Teşekkürler — “thank you” in Turkish.

Favorite restaurants…
Münferit (the sharing platters are each a delight.); Flamingo (its mozzarella di bufala plater is a must); Ulus 29, for its beautiful view looking over the Bosphorus, and a fish restaurant near my house in Kandilli.

Cocktail to drink…
My old-time classic, Ketel One vodka martini. Another recommendation would be to enjoy the culinary art of cocktails at “Alex’s Place” in Gönül Sokak, Taksim.

Best nighttime scene…
Gaspar in Karaköy is the latest hangout spot of the nighttime scene. Once midnight hits, dinner tables are replaced with the dancing crowd.

Favorite local getaway…
My everyday local getaway is my home and garden. During the summers we usually go to the South of Turkey for a boat trip in its beautiful sea.

One local secret…
Enjoying a 5 PM Turkish tea with simit and melted cheese inside.

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