WORDS & PHOTOS – Tanya KryukovaIstanbul, Turkey

THE ZEST OF THIS CITY is in its insatiability. You cannot get enough of it at either your first encounter nor in a lifetime: it is like a delicacy you can have on your plate for decades and still crave for more.

I first arrived in Istanbul in the summer of 2011 and my life was split into two chapters — before Istanbul and after. The city’s natural beauty and history go back centuries, but the friendly attitude of locals and my prompt interactions with them gave me a true sensation of euphoria. Small talks with people that last seconds leave my mood elevated for the rest of the day.

I AM A CERTIFIED LINGUIST AND TUTOR, so the 7 years following my arrival here were devoted to teaching Russian as a foreign language. This wonderful experience gave me an understanding that sharing knowledge is my calling; in March 2015 I came up with a series of city tours which I named “Girl About Town”. This project depicts the city through my eyes, where in a span of a day I show visitors my favorite unique and delicious spots that are typically missed by the unknowing eye, no matter how well you did your homework prior to the trip.

PLACES FEATURED IN GIRL ABOUT TOWN are the serpentine of business cards out of a torn envelope that I diligently put together following my beloved discoveries from my first day in the city: drinking proper coffee, surfing through authentic antique pieces, waving at Bosporus from a private balcony with 14th century finishings, mingling with local painters, visiting art galleries, ancient houses, universities, and home decor stores. I invite guests to see all that there is during their walks, and nowadays the city is filled with similar experiences, but I sincerely haven’t laid my eyes on any of their routes. My inner critic, as well as my wanderlust and passion for the exquisite, continues to give me a firm belief that I am conducting exciting routes and creating a time well spent. Needless to say, I have had the opportunity to meet with many beautiful souls working on this project.

THIS MARCH, MY COLLEAGUE AND I wrote a city guide (Russian only for now) in order to give people who tour Istanbul an insight on where to go, what to do, and where to shop. This project’s format targets the audience of people who like to follow their own vibe and avoid stereotypical locations. As of today, the guidebook contains over 100 spots, which locals unarguably have not heard of. Running down the stairs of royal apartments, drinking wine at the French Institute, indulging in candlelit dinners in a former prison, feeling original murals of an ancient mansion at your fingertips, sipping coffee in a tiny coffee room, and melting from the genuine smile of the city’s oldest painter, is our area of expertise. It is important to acknowledge that all of the Istanbul city guides become irrelevant before they go into print. Our main focus is to be up to date at every moment, so the risk of bumping into a closed down spot with our guide is out of question.  

top 5 breakfast places in Istanbul

from Tanya Kruykova


Mediterranean Restaurant

Address: Akarsu Cad. No:21/A, Cihangir, İstanbul, Turkey

Phone: +90 212 244 89 89


Breakfast & Brunch Restaurant

Address: Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa mah., Mumhane Cd., Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey

Phone: +90 532 430 07 12

Instagram: neckodan

Kahve 6

Breakfast & Brunch Restaurant

Address: Kılıçali Paşa Mahallesi, Akarsu Caddesi Anahtar Sokak 13/A, Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey

Phone: +90 212 293 08 49

Instagram: kahve6cihangir

Privato Cafe

Breakfast & Brunch Restaurant

Address: Sahkullu mah., Galip Dede cad., Timarci sok. 3, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey

Phone: +90 532 763 56 70

Instagram: privatocafe

Smelt & Co

Gastrospot & Kombucha Bar

Address: Balat Mahallesi, Kiremit Caddesi, No:16/A, Istanbul, Turkey

Phone: +90 538 286 54 65

Instagram: smeltandco


Translation – Taisiia Kotova

Editor – Nika Levando

Executive director – Julia Latkins