At the opposite end from Taksim, 2 kilometer long İstiklal Caddesi terminates in a small square called Tünel square, from where you can catch a steep short metro ride down to the harbor at Karaköy.

Tünel square

Directly opposite the entrance to the metro is the Tünel geçidi which ties Istiklal Caddesi to Sofyalı Sokak. This open top arcade houses a whole bunch of cafes, serving cafe food, some adaptations of Istanbul food and pastries and all types of coffee. All of them also serve wine, beer, cocktails and raki. The cost will go from 15 to 20 Euros for a meal with soft drinks, alcohlolic drinks should be added to this cost.

Asmalı Mescit

Asmalı Mescit is a warren of streets to the north of İstiklal Caddesi, which are located very closely to Tünel square. One of Istanbul's nicest live music venues Babylon (site here >>>) is also located in Asmalı Mescit. There are lots of places to eat and drink here, however the well known old taverns in Asmalı Mescit are Refik, Sofyalı and Yakup.

Until a few years ago this area actually used to be a favorite meeting place for us, my colleagues and my students, however these days it has become somewhat over crowded, especially in the summer when the crowds spill out onto the narrow streets. So, nowadays we tend to go in the winter ;-).

Refik is the tavern that we always go to. And please do not let the empty tables confuse you - this photo was taken in the afternoon, well before raki time: Refik is a very popular place where you are unlikely to get a table between 19.00 to 23.00 hours on any night of the week, unless you make a reservation. A meal at Refik (and also Sofyalı) will cost from 45 to 60 Euros.

Added should be that the area around the Galata Tower is also very close to Tünel, and there are some very pleasant cafes and taverns on the square, right underneath the shadow of the colossal tower itself. The area also houses a very well known Jazz club, Nardis (site here >>>).

View Tünel food places in a larger map

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