Kaktüs is where established Cihangir residents tend to go. It is a calm café / brasserie serving decent, easy fare and drinks. Kaktüs is not really a must-go spot for a short Istanbul visit. It’s rather where you’d take a breather before embarking on the second part of your day if your Airbnb is in the neighbourhood. Somehow there is always space here, as there should be in a casual neighborhood brasserie. For locals, it’s a conversational haven to escape the crowd of Cihangir amid low hanging trees and sleepy cats without the fuss and flair of chic cafés.
What to order: You can order classic cocktails and ask for alterations. Meaning, the bar is decent. Food-wise I wouldn’t point at anything special, but if you are looking for a quick snack nothing on the menu would make you sad to have read this review and chosen to stop by at Kaktüs.
What to know: More a fun fact about this place - it is the only establishment I’ve been to in Turkey where they bring a glass of complimentary still water without asking, similar to bars in Europe or the US. Istanbul tap water is not exactly drinkable. While the water provided is well-filtered and has the right amounts of chlorine, individual water systems or tanks in buildings can affect the cleanliness of tap water. I believe filtering it is enough but many friends still opt for private still water brands both outside and at home (in the form of 19 litre dispenser size demijohns).