No. 41, the only Beşiktaş cafe you need to know

On weekend mornings, I’m always at No. 41 Beşiktaş, a favorite cafe of mine tucked away on Yıldız Caddesi, parallel to Barbaros Boulevard and not far from Abbasağa Park. Everyone needs a coffeeshop that’s their home away from home, and for me, that’s No. 41. Even when moving from Dikilitaş to Beşiktaş, No. 41 was my anchor, with delicious coffee and friendly conversation with owners İbrahim and Kazım. There’s also a sly one-eyed cat lurking around that I’ve taken a particular liking to.

outside pic

İbrahim and Kazım opened No. 41 in April 2014 and it’s been a labor of love. High school friends from Afyon and later roommates while studying at nearby Yildiz Technical University, İbrahim and Kazım know the area particularly well. Their customer-base is vast including employees from nearby corporates,  neighborhood families with pets in tow, foreigners grabbing their coffee to-go, and couples and groups of young people relaxing. After the marathon, I even caught a group of runners getting their caffeine fix.

No. 41 serves all the standards from espresso to pour overs, lattes to Turkish coffee. Customer favorites include the chemex, syphon and cortado.  I wasn’t familiar with the cortado – espresso cut with milk – which İbrahim described as more sert than the latte. I gave it a whirl and it paired perfectly with the Nutella cake, my personal favorite. The cafe offers a rotating selection of boutique cakes as well as pizza every Wednesday. In the summer, you can find salads and the cafe’s signature watermelon slush, served on vintage pink plates and in mason jars.

Chemex

Preparing coffee with the chemex, similar to a pour over

cold brew con traption

The cold brew coffee contraption

From concept to execution, İbrahim and Kazım have done it all themselves and are very humble about the talent and passion they have poured into No. 41. The design and decor are the work of their hands. They set the vibe with a great music selection, sometimes Bon Iver, sometimes old school jazz, sometimes French, but always, very, very good. And, since it’s just İbrahim and Kazım working the barista bar, you can always be sure you’ll find one of them at the cafe. The two make a point of remembering their customers and catching up with them even when their Turkish is dismal like mine (& for that I am very appreciative!). İbrahim describes the cafe as a samimi bir yer with arkadaşlık sıcak. In other words, you know you’re in good hands when warm friendship is at the core of the owners’ philosophy.

Next time you are in the Beşiktaş area, skip all those franchises.  Head up Barbaros for No. 41’s friendly spirit and yummy coffee. It’s so good you might end up like this guy:

cat pic

The one-eyed cat sunbathing after a coffee binge.

No. 41 has an amazing social media presence so be sure to check them out on Instagram & Twitter.

How to get there? 

Get off at the Yıldız University bus stop, walk up the small flight of stairs to the large veggie/fruit stand, continue down Yıldız Caddesi and you will see No. 41 on your right. If you don’t mind hills, get off at the Barbaros Boulevard bus stop, and walk up the incline directly to the right of Cheya Hotel until you get to Yıldız Caddesi, then turn right onto Yıldız Caddesi and you’ll find yourself in front of No. 41. The cafe is also easily accessible from Abbasağa Park, just follow Yıldız Caddesi. If you hadn’t guessed, No. 41 refers to the cafe’s street address. There’s also a great sahaf (second-hand bookstore) across the street with early editions of Turkish classics and ephemera.

coffee newspaper

Hours of Operation

Weekday hours: 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Weekend hours: 9:30 am – 7:30 p.m.

All photos used with permission of No. 41.

 

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Twins Coffee Roasters, bringing latte art and the flat white to Istanbul

The place: Twins Coffee Roasters 
The offerings: latte, cappuccino, espresso, filter coffee, Turkish coffee, and more
Price range: 4-8 TL
The pros: A real cup of coffee in the center of Istanbul complete with freshly ground espresso and lovely latte art
The cons: The location is a bit strange but must be a hit with the nearby consulates


Twins Coffee Roasters had only been open for 5-6 weeks and I already had it on my list of my places to-go. Instead of celebrating Çocuk Bayramı (Children’s Holiday) on April 23 like everyone else in Turkey, Gürkan and I headed up to Gümüşsuyu to try out Twins. An easy walk from either Beşiktaş or Taksim, it’s located right next to the Asker Hastanesi on Gümüşsuyu Caddesi.

We were somewhat surprised to see the place mostly empty, but then again it was a national holiday and trying out Istanbul’s newest coffeeshop probably wasn’t on most family’s Çocuk Bayramı to-do list. We walked inside and met Yosrie who whipped up a beautiful flat white and macchiato for us. Both drinks were undeniably delicious and  I was reminded of the down-to-earth, no-frills coffee shops at home where the coffee speaks for itself. Yosrie, originally from Cape Town, was also extremely personable and didn’t mind me snapping pics and asking him questions about the cafe. 

The day was warm and sunny so we enjoyed our drinks outside. Despite the great weather, I hesitated momentarily. With  a coffee bar along the wall and a large wooden picnic-style table in the middle, the one room cafe had a great feel to it. I could definitely see myself whiling away the time here reading, blogging, or catching up with friends. Yosrie even mentioned the possibility of opening another cafe in Beşiktaş, and if so, I’d certainly become a regular.

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Twins Coffee Roasters

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Serving up a variety of espresso drinks including the ‘flat white’

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Simple furnishings & vibrant accents

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Lovely latte art from Yosrie

How to get there: From Taksim Square, take Gümüşsuyu Caddesi past the German Consulate. Turn left as you get to the Asker Hastanesi and you’ll find Twins on the left-hand side of Miralay Şefik Bey Sokak.

 

The original Fazil Bey’s Turkish Coffee

 

The place: Fazil Bey’in Turk Kahvesi (Fazil Bey’s Turkish Coffee) in Kadikoy, the original one located in the fish bazaar
The offerings: Turkish coffee, sahlep, filter coffee and more
Price range: 4 – 7 TL
The pros: Traditional Turkish coffee and yummy sahlep served with lokum in an authentic atmosphere
The cons: It’s really small so it can be difficult to find a place to sit & there is no credit card machine


Fazil Bey’s has been one of my favorite cafes since my days at Sabanci University  – the days when I spent a lot of time on the Asian side and trips to Europe were few and far between. Now, that I live in Besiktas, it’s quite a treat to spend some time in Kadikoy, but it also takes a bit of planning.

This week’s occasion was meeting up with my good friend, Alia, who I met while doing my Master’s with Sabanci University. The last time Alia and I had been to Fazil Bey’s was a couple years ago right after I had finished my coursework and before I moved back to the US (momentarily). That day was a snowy one, and I remember climbing the narrow stairs of Fazil Bey’s, shaking off the snow, and sitting down only to fall in love with Fazil Bey’s sahlep. The upstairs was a cozy one with a few disparate tables squeezed into the small area, and the servers had had no shame when it came to telling us when we had overstayed our welcome. To be fair, with very limited seating, I can see how they want to move people in and out as quickly as possible, but to our Midwest sensibilities, this seemed quite the affront!

That’s why this past weekend we decided to check out Fazil Bey’s newer cafe, but it was packed to the brim, and there was no hope of finding a table especially since neither of us wanted to be stuck on the balcony with the copious amounts of second-hand smoke. After a quick stop at Beyaz Firin to grab some acibadem cookies to take home for later, we went to the old Fazil Bey’s and found a prime spot right inside on the first level. We were able to catch up over a round of sahlep and then coffee which are both served with lokum, and the drinks were just as good as I remembered. This time we sat for a couple of hours and it didn’t seem to be an issue at all. We chatted about blogging, recipes, home, work – all the stuff you talk about with a good friend.

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Evening falls on Fazil Bey’s

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Looking down on Turkish coffee preparations

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Coffee nostalgia at Fazil Bey’s. Check out MK drinking his Turkish coffee in the black and white picture center top.

*If you are looking for a real Turkish coffee in a traditional Turkish coffee shop, this is definitely the place to go. I always make it a point to bring guests to this cafe for a Turkish coffee experience, and in my many visits in the last few months, I haven’t felt rushed at all. Must have been a one-time thing!