Where: Istanbul’s Taksim square
Plug sockets: No
Price of a Turkish coffee: TL6.50 ($3.25)
Open: 8am – 1am
Privacy points: 3/5
In a divided society such as Turkey, arranging where to meet can involve plenty of pitfalls. When picking a venue in Istanbul, you should avoid sending any unintentional messages. Some places, for example in the glitzy Bebek area, are playgrounds of the secular elite now fallen from power. Others, such as hotels along the Bosphorus, may be simply too decadent.
But if one place is convenient, central and reasonably immune from misinterpretation, it is the Kitchenette restaurant and café on Taksim square. While not quite the multi-species bar from Star Wars, it attracts people from many walks of life.
There are branches throughout Istanbul, but this location could not be bettered: Taksim is Istanbul’s main square, just across from Gezi Park – the centre of this summer’s protests. During that time, Kitchenette’s owner, the Dogus Group, was criticised by both government and protesters and some of the conglomerate’s companies were boycotted. But Kitchenette seems to have since recovered.
The place itself has a vaguely brasserie-style feel, with lamps aplenty, tiled and mirrored walls and back-to-back sofas that serve as booths. Drinks range from the ayran yoghurt drink favoured by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
The noise level is manageable. As for the food, the sea bass sandwich is always a treat.
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