Simit, or Turkish bagel, is a circular Turkish bread topped with sesame seeds. On every street corner of Istanbul, from the moment the sun comes up, you will see people waiting in line for the simitci (the simit seller) to set up his cart and start selling simit.
As someone who usually skipped breakfast in the Netherlands, I learned in Istanbul to savor this important moment of the day. Breakfast is more than just a meal for the Turkish people. This is the time to come together with family and friends and enjoy a full table with bowls and trays filled with a variety of hot and cold breakfast dishes. One of my favorite breakfast dishes is menemen.
Turkey has many brands and stores that the Dutch have never heard of but would appreciate. A good example is Mado restaurant, a restaurant that started making and selling ice cream in 1850. The restaurant developed into a chain and has become a huge franchise with over 250 cafés and restaurants across the globe.
Reina, one of the most prestigious clubs of Istanbul, and very well known outside of Turkey, is the perfect place for dancing with the rich and famous. I prepared well for my first visit to this club getting my hair done at the local hair salon (you can find one on every corner of the street)and my makeup up taken care of by a good friend.
Leb-i Derya has two different locations in Taksim, one is on a small side street (Kumbaracı Yokuşu) off of Istiklal Caddesi. We went to the one in the Richmond Hotel right on Istiklal Caddesi. Take the elevator to the top floor where the famous restaurant Leb-i Derya is located. After a long day of shopping, my girlfriend and I decided to wrap up the day with a fancy dinner.