The Old: Borsa
This restaurant serves traditional Turkish dishes such as kebabs, mezze, mant (Turkish ravioli) and stuffed vine leaves, prepared as they have been since the reign of the Ottoman Empire. Most locals bring foreign guests here when they want to impress.
Harbiye (+90 212 232 4201; www.borsarestaurant.com)
The New: Mikla
Swedish-Turkish chef Mehmet Gürs combines Nordic flavours with those of the Ottoman kitchen in Mikla’s dishes to much success; the fare is simple but delicious. Mikla also enjoys a wraparound view, and the 12-course tasting menu is a great deal at 110 Turkish lira (about Dhs260).
The Marmara Pera, Mesrutiyet Caddesi, Beyoglu (+90 212 293 5656)
The Old: Çiragan Palace Kempinski
This hotel will make you feel like a real Sultan. It’s located right on the Bosphorus – helping make its infinity pool truly look infinite. It’s incredibly opulent – it’s even got a butler. Celebrities, politicians and musicians all stay here.
32 Ciragan Caddesi, Besiktas (+90 212 326 46 46; www.kempinski-istanbul.com)
The New: A’jia Hotel
Formerly an Ottoman mansion, this unique hotel has just 16 rooms and also operates as a restaurant. One of the most impressive aspects? You can take a ferry across the Bosphorus and make a stylish entrance to any number of clubs along the shore.
Kanlica (+90 216 413 9300; www.ajiahotel.com)
The old: Bosphorus Tour
From one of the most famous straits in the world, see palaces, Ottoman houses, fancy clubs, and the two bridges that connect Asia and Europe. Plus, Istanbul has such horrific traffic that this is not only the most relaxing and informative way to see the city, but also the easiest.
The new: Su Ada
A boat takes you across the Bosphorus to the man-made island Su Ada, where you can wine and dine at five different restaurants or go for a dip in the Olympic-size outdoor pool. Trendy crowds enjoy summer pool parties, with 360-degree views of the city.
Air Arabia has just doubled the amount of flights to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Flights currently cost around Dhs1,200 return.