Fener and Balat
Expect a wait on weekends for the ample Turkish breakfast spreads and stone-oven-baked pizzas, pide, and lahmacun served up in this cheery, casually stylish spot.
Forno Balat, Fener Kirechane Sokak 13, Balat, Fatih, Istanbul, 34087
This former generator factory now produces edgy contemporary art exhibitions, often solo shows by emerging artists. Only a small white sign above the door sets the building apart from its industrial neighbors.
The Pill, Murselpasa Caddesi 181, Ayvansaray, Fatih, Istanbul, 34087
Glass artist Yasemin Aslan Bakiri has converted a historic stone building (next to the Bulgarian church, along the waterfront) into a workshop and exhibition space for her own elaborate pieces, including life-size glass caftans, and works by other artists.
Camhane, Murselpasa Caddesi, Balat, Fatih, Istanbul, 34087
Daily auctions at the area’s many antique shops — think yard sale, not Sotheby’s — see lively bidding on an eclectic array of knickknacks, retro appliances and the occasional treasure. Look for the signs giving “mezat” (auction) hours. Saklibahce is a good starting point.
Vodina Caddesi 160, Balat, Fatih, Istanbul, 34087
Decorated with colorful wood products — chairs, trays, bowls and more — made and sold on-site, this brick-walled cafe stays open later than most places in Balat and hosts occasional acoustic-music performances, usually on Friday nights, and other events.
Atolye Kafasi, Abdulezelpasa Caddesi 75, Cibali, Fatih, Istanbul, 34083
Bulgarian Church of St. Stephen
Better known as the “iron church,” this neo-Gothic landmark was assembled from 500 tons of prefabricated iron parts, cast in Vienna and shipped down the Danube River. The gilded interior gleams after a 2018 restoration.
Bulgarian Church of St. Stephen, Murselpasa Caddesi 10, Balat, Fatih, Istanbul, 34087
It may have “fisherman” in its Turkish name, but this cozy meyhane (tavern) on the edge of Balat prides itself most on its meze, or savory small dishes meant for sharing, including many recipes you won’t find elsewhere.
Cibalikapi Balikcisi, Kadir Has Caddesi 5, Cibali, Fatih, Istanbul, 34083