Valentine's Day in Istanbul, a city millions fall in love with

It is that time of year when the month of love inspires to seek out new romantic connections or celebrate the ones we already have. Valentine's Day has been widely adopted by Turks, and plenty of events to either meet someone new or to celebrate the love you already have will be going on all over the city

Find your Valentine's Day match at Yabangee's pre-party

On Friday, Feb. 9, Yabangee will be teaming up with First Sight Speed Dating for the special Find Your Valentine Party at a secret location. Yabangee is a website featuring interesting events, advice and recommendations for foreigners residing in Istanbul and also hosts a series of entertaining events. First Sight, on the other hand, organizes specially curated speed dating events for English speakers. They will join forces next Friday for a very special event geared toward finding matches for Valentine's Day. The event will begin with a speed dating event that will be followed by the Networking After-Party.

The Speed Dating event will take place between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and carefully selected guests will have the opportunity to take part in 15 rounds of 4-minute dating in English to meet a variety of people and potential romantic interests. If sparks fly, the experts at First Sight then go on to share further details. Participants must apply to be added to the guest list. It costs TL 50 ($13) to attend.

The event will continue with the free Networking After-Party that will take place from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. This event will be open to a larger audience and will have a number of social games to get people mingling accompanied by a live DJ. Attendees also need to apply to attend and priority will be given to those accompanied by a friend of the opposite gender, a "wingman" or "wingwoman" so to speak. Details regarding the location of the event will only be given to those selected to attend, so apply here.

Where to go on the day

Love @ the Museum

Bord Istanbul, an elegant restaurant located in the Naval Museum in Beşiktaş, will be hosting a very special menu on Wednesday, Feb. 14 for a dinner that will be accompanied by a live music featuring love songs from the past to present. Tickets cost TL 160 per person.

Jazz at a Waterfront Mansion

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, the historical Sait Halim Paşa Yalısı, a seaside mansion that has straddled the shore of Yeniköy since the late 19th century and now serves as an impressive entertainment space, will be opening its doors on the evening of Valentine's Day for a special dinner and a live jazz musical performance by the Yeşim Pekiner Quintet. Tickets are TL 620 for two, and include dinner and drinks in a venue that offers a priceless view.

Italian "Lovers Feast" at Mövenpick

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul, located in Levent, will be serving a special Italian-themed Valentine's Day dinner prepared by Italian Executive Chef Giovanni Terracciano that will be accompanied by live music by Ayşen Zülfikar, who will be performing Italian arias and all-time favorite love songs. The setting will feature romantic candlelight and a scrumptious four-course meal. Dinner will be served between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. and costs TL 230, including unlimited beverages.

Valentine's Day Buffet at Hilton

The Terrace Restaurant at the Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus, located in Harbiye, has long been a favorite venue for foreigners celebrating special events. With a legendary terrace and spectacular views, its Valentine's Day buffet dinner may very well be an excellent option to share a special evening with someone on the night of love. There will be specialty dishes such as king shrimp, duck terrine, smoked salmon and seafood tempura, as well as a number of starters, salads and entree stations serving food from all over the world. There will be live romantic music played throughout the night, and a complimentary photo gifted of your loved one. The cost to attend is TL 520 for two.

French Food Festival at Marriot

This month, the Istanbul Marriot Hotel in Şişli is holding a French Food Festival in which exquisite French meals are prepared by exclusive chefs on a number of special dates and Valentine's Day just happens to be one of them, so if you would like the opportunity to experience an authentic French feast by Alexandre Lamberet, be sure to make a reservation. The menu will feature smoked salmon, squid ink risotto, veal sirloin and a fresh fruit sabayon.

Love at First Bite at Conrad Hotel

The Summit Bar & Terrace located in the Conrad Hotel in Beşiktaş will be hosting a very special "Love at First Bite" menu. The meal will kick off with chocolate-covered strawberries followed by creamy artichokes, lobster salad, mango and passionflower granita. There will be steak served with mushrooms and a pumpkin puree followed by a coconut walnut creme brulee or petit fours and chocolate for dessert. The price to attend fort o is TL 620 and includes unlimited local drinks.

Happy Valentine's Day at Ritim

A favorite locale among the Erasmus student set, Ritim, located in the heart of the fish market in Beyoğlu, will be hosting a Valentine's Day party that will take place from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and will be a boisterous but fun way to spend the evening, especially if you are single.

Special Valentine's Day stand-up

The Turkish all-female stand-up comedy troupe, Çok da Fifi Hatunlar, will be taking the stage at Living Room Art Cafe in Kadikoy for a special performance devoted to Valentine's Day. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are TL 40. Performing will be none other than Asli Akbay, the pioneer of English stand-up open mic nights in Istanbul, who will be joined by a talented crew of Turkish ladies, Buse Sinem Iren, Deniz Özturhan Hande Yögen, Meltem Parlak and Şirincan Çakıroğlu, for a special Valentine's Day themed performance.

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