The gentrification of Karaköy continues and has turned the area near the Istanbul Modern museum (Liman Isletmeleri Sahasi Antrepo No. 4; istanbulmodern.org) into a must-stop. Vault Karaköy, The House Hotel (rooms, from $220; Bankalar Cad. No. 5; 90-212/244-3400; thehousehotel.com) just opened with 63 guest rooms in a neo-Renaissance former bank. Interiors mix historic details like columns and vaults (one has been turned into a wine cellar) with contemporary art and furniture. The best rooms have views of Topkapi Palace.
The place to eat: Hosaf (Lüleci Hendek Cad. No. 46B; 90-530/920-0170), a new Turkish spot run by Burak Sirmaçekici, who previously worked at Anissa in New York. There’s also Naif (Mumhane Cad. No. 52; 90-212/251-5335), a bistro serving Anatolian cuisine prepared with local farm-fresh ingredients. Next to Hosaf, Turkish contemporary painter Ismail Acar (Lüleci Hendek Cad. No. 50; ismailacar.com.tr) works out of his home and gallery, which can be rented for events; the rooftop terrace faces the Bosphorus.
The housewares store Hiç Crafts (Lüleci Hendek Cad. 25; hiccrafts.com) stocks modern Turkish items, from Suzani-inspired bed coverings and silk ikat pillows (pictured) to delicate ceramic dinnerware. Also new: Magnolia Culture (Lüleci Hendek Cad. No. 49B; 90-212/243-1042), a bookstore with a seductive selection of coffee-table books, like Istanbul lensman Ahmet Ertug’s Ephesos and Chora. The 16th-century Kiliç Ali Pasa Hammam (Kemankes Mah. Hamam Sk. 1; 90-212/393-8010; kilicalipasahamami.com), originally designed by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, reopened in 2012 after a seven-year renovation. It’s the best hammam in town for those who want to bathe somewhere more historic than a hotel.
In other Istanbul news: The Spice Bazaar area, across the Galata Bridge from Karaköy, finally has fine dining. Chef Vedat Basaran opened Surplus (Rüstempasa Mah. Ragip Gümüs Cad. 54; 90-212/520-1002), which offers regional cuisine and an unbeatable view of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the silhouette of the Old City.