More an more expats are moving in to this once mainly residential neighborhood that is experiencing a renaissance of sorts with its bustling café-lined streets.
The following is an essential guide for expats and explorers alike to experience a slice of life in this special neighborhood.Moda has become a popular breakfast destination with Moda Van Kahvaltı the undisputed local favorite, with the long queues on Sunday mornings to prove it. If you don't want to weather the wait, not to worry, because just next door Lokum Café offers a "Pasha Breakfast" for two, which you can top off with a nargile (water pipe).
Definitely, the most noteworthy breakfast experience to be had is at the Tarihi Moda İskelesi Restaurant, situated on Moda's historical pier.
Enjoy their weekend breakfast buffet as you dine surrounded on all sides by water. For a more upscale experience, Moda Teras has a commanding view of the Marmara Sea and offers a Sunday brunch, in addition to a fullmenu of contemporary fare.
For the paramount hip and upmarket dining experience, head to 360 East Moda, the Asian-side edition of the trendy 360 Istanbul in Beyoğlu. Enjoy the modern décor and fusion cuisine all while taking in a spectacular view of Kadıköy, the old city and the Marmara Sea from atop the DoubleTree Hilton. The tried and true Moda classic for an evening out is Koço Meyhane, the oldest restaurant in the neighborhood.
Situated on the shore of the Marmara Sea, this well-loved and spacious tavern has both inside and outdoor seating with a seaside view.
The restaurant also houses the Aya Ekaterini shrine, so make sure to pop in and light a candle to cap off a truly unforgettable dining experience.
Saklı Köşk is another charming option for finer dining with a reasonable lunch and dinner menu of Turkish fusion cuisine. Situated in an elegant kiosk with patio dining, on the weekend in-house singers perform favorite Turkish melodies.
If you want a blast-from-the-past experience in the form of a somewhat gaudy Turkish nightclub offering live "fasıl" music and belly dancers, then Moda Melek may be worth a try. A singer performing well-loved Turkish classics from the 1950's-60's is joined by musicians playing violin, lyre and clarinet.
There are a number of new hip cafes that are making a name for themselves in the neighborhood by offering gourmet options in a comfortable café atmosphere. Situated in the heart of Moda, Yer is the newest edition boasting an eclectic menu, which includes category classics such as pastas, burgers and salads. Across the way is Beppe, your best bet for all-around Italian, serving delicious pizzas and pastas. Semolina, located on a side street off the beaten path, is a refreshing down-home alternative offering handmade pasta dishes.
This cozy café also serves breakfast including of note, pancakes with real maple syrup. For an authentic slice of Italian deep-dish pizza try Pacco Pizza, a tiny shop located across the square leading to Bahariye, which also whips up real chocolate mousse, for a great deal. Make sure to also check out Kırıntı, a long-standing Moda staple serving burgers, frankfurters, wraps and salads in a dinerlike setting decked out with retro posters and signs. Moda is also home to one of Turkey's most famous icecream parlors Dondurmaci Ali Usta.
Join the crowds that flock in from all over Istanbul to line up for a taste of one of their dozens of flavors. With two shops smack dab in the center of Moda, Kemal Usta Waffles is a close competitor serving up waffles covered with a personalized selection of items from a lavish buffet of chocolates, candies and fruits.
Not only do most of the megacoffee chains operate branches in the neighborhood, Moda has also become a pioneer in hosting micro coffee breweries. Çekirdek kicked off the trend and also serves savory and sweet pastries in a quaint location off Bahariye Avenue. Jumping on to the specialty roastery bandwagon is also Mambocino, Cherry Bean Coffees and İstisna Tatlar.
Not only has Moda Street become a haven for sidewalk cafes, there are also a number of unique specialty stores including Elta Ada Organic and Çikolata Dükkanı, a shop devoted solely to hand-crafted chocolates.
On Moda St. is also Bizim Ev where you can pick up a delectable selection of pastries, or home cooking dishes. Seating is slim, so your best bet would be to pick out a selection of delights and head to Moda Çay Bahçesi, a huge outdoor tea garden, which sits on the top of a cliff overlooking the Marmara Sea and the historical peninsula of Istanbul. Locals often bring snacks and enjoy tea as they while away the hours playing backgammon. The ultimate way to enjoy a summer day in this relaxing neighborhood however is to pay a visit to the seaside park that lines the shore surrounding Moda. On a sunny day, the beautifully landscaped coastline transforms into a festivallike atmosphere with friends and families sitting out on the grass in groups, juggling, volleying balls and playing with their own and resident dogs. The park has an excellent playground for kids and one of the city's rare bike paths. To get to Moda take a spin on the heritage tram, a nostalgic cable car that circles Kadıköy through Moda and Bahariye, the district's pedestrian shopping avenue.
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