The Moda Aile Çay Bahçesi (Moda Family Tea Garden) is as local as it gets. Waiters walk around with trays of Turkish tea, sparkling water and lemonade, asking around if anyone desires a beverage. With quick movements they step around the tables, without paying much attention they leave tea glasses, collect empty ones, charge customers and put the money in their fanny packs. On to the next table.
Situated perfectly at the end of a stroll through the busy streets of Kadikoy leading up to Moda, the view here is beautiful, stretching all the way to the horizon with the Prince’s Islands in sight. On sunny days the sea shimmers while the tall trees (a rare delicacy in Istanbul) cast the perfect shade over the tables. It’s one of those where time slows down and the dopamine secretion speeds up.
Context: Tea gardens as these places are called are the social gathering places of Turkey. It’s the natural habitat of retired elderly to convene. But it’s also normal for anyone of any age and social class to come and have a glass of Turkish tea. They usually cater to their local communities, in this case the Moda Aile Çay Bahçesi serves the well-off Moda community and weekend visitors.
What to order: Grab a seat on the edge, put your feet on the railings and wait for the waiter to pass by with a tray of Turkish tea, or order your Turkish coffee. The coffee comes in the small cezve pot it was cooked in, just pour it in the small cup provided. The foam is what makes a good Turkish coffee, like the crema on top of an espresso.