17/06/2024

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15 Best Restaurants in Istanbul (Top Places to Eat)

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15 Best Restaurants in Istanbul (Top Places to Eat)

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I love Istanbul beyond measure; I should probably put that out there first. It’s probably safe to say too, however, that whenever I go, I always come back with a bigger waistline than when I left! This city is a foodie’s utter dream, and whether you’re into street food, fine dining, or something in between, the best restaurants in Istanbul are sure to blow your mind, and tastebuds.

I’ve made it my mission to eat my way around the best places to eat in Istanbul, and I’ve found many places that I go back to time and time again. This city has some of the most delicious food on the planet, and even if you have a slightly picky palette, you’ll find more than enough to fill your belly. But out of the huge number of eateries to choose from, you definitely need to know the best spots to head to.

15 Best Restaurants in Istanbul

Because food is such a big thing in Istanbul, I wanted to pinpoint the best places to try both authentic and international foods. After all, you don’t want to waste your time eating somewhere sub-par when there are so many amazing places available. So, I’ve put together a list of where to eat in Istanbul, using service, quality of food, location, reviews, and my personal experiences as the criteria.

I think you’re going to be impressed …

1. Mikla
(Best Restaurant in Istanbul Overall)

fine dining restaurant in istanbul

If you’re looking for one of the best restaurants in Istanbul, it has to be Mikla, which is located on the top floor of the upmarket Marmara Pera Hotel in Beyoğlu. Firstly, the views are something special, but the food is off the scale. I think this is the best experience for fine dining in Istanbul.

You can choose a 7-course tasting menu or a fixed 3-course à la carte option, they also offer a vegan tasting menu. I went for the fixed menu, and I had the dried beef, and the only word to describe it was “wow.” My husband had the octopus, and he was very quiet during his meal which definitely means he enjoyed it!

This restaurant is very well recommended, and since 2015, it’s been on the list of the world’s best 50 restaurants. The entire experience was something very special indeed, and the food coupled with the view means I rate this one the highest on the list.

Mikla Information

Address: The Marmara Pera, Meşrutiyet Caddesi 15, 34430, Beyoğlu, İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 293 5656
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday, 6 pm – 11.30 pm for food. The bar is open until midnight.
Must-Try Meals: Tasting menu, dried beef, Iskenderun Prawn
Average Cost: $170 for the 7-course tasting menu, $128 for the fixed menu, and $12 for a glass of wine.
Website: miklarestaurant.com

2. Turk Fatih Tutak (Best for Fine Dining)

It is meat, with a garnish of leaf and sauce with artistic design on the gray plate.

There are a few Michelin-star restaurants in Istanbul, and personally, I think this is the best. It’s the ideal spot for a fancy night out with friends or a partner. The design is so modern with wooden shelving and lighting with almost a magical, golden hue. Thanks to its popularity, I would recommend you reserve a table well ahead of time; this place is seriously in demand.

Many locals will tell you this is one of the best luxury restaurants in Istanbul and I can’t disagree. The restaurant also sources its ingredients locally, using sustainable practices, which adds to the allure. Of course, it’s not going cheap, but if you want a truly memorable gastronomical experience, you’re going to have to pay a little more than you might otherwise, and every dollar is worth it here.

Turk Fatih Tutak Information

Address: Cumhuriyet Hacıahmet Silahşör Cad, Yeniyol Sk. No:2, 34440 Şişli/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 709 5679
Operating Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 6.30 pm – 11.30 pm. Closed Sunday & Monday.
Must-Try Meals: Tasting menu, and their extensive wine list.
Average Cost: $150 for the 10-course tasting menu, $13 for a glass of wine.
Website: turkft.com

3. Sunset Grill & Bar (Best for Romantic Vibes)

Close up a big portion of sliced grill roasted beef chateaubriand tenderloin meat with thyme and herbs served on wooden cutting board, high angle view.

It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to head somewhere beautiful and enjoy a romantic meal, but this is one of the most romantic restaurants in Istanbul. Set in Ulus Park, you’ll have the most stunning view over the Bosphorus, and you can dine outside with heaters around you to keep you toasty in the winter months. I loved this restaurant, and while it’s high-end dining, it’s more than worth the cash.

The restaurant has its own wine and sushi bars, but they also serve amazing meat dishes. I had the yogurt kebab, which consisted of chunks of beef with the most delicious yogurt sauce over the top. I had to finish with the vanilla crème brûlée and trust me when I say it was the most mouth-watering thing I’ve tasted in a long time.

Sunset Grill & Bar Information

Address: Kuruçeşme Mahallesi Ulus Park, Yol Sokağı No:2, 34345 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 287 0357
Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday, 12 pm – 12 am, Sunday, 5 pm – 12 am.
Must-Try Meals: Grilled châteaubriand, sushi, vanilla crème brûlée.
Average Cost: $15 per starter, $35-60 per main, and $20 for desserts.
Website: sunsetgrillbar.com

4. Kıyı (Best for Seafood Lovers)

Grilled sea bream fish fillet with spinach and chili pepper.

One of the most famous restaurants in Istanbul, with a stunning view over the Sariyer marina, is Kıyı, a top place to go if you’re a seafood fan. This restaurant has been open for more than 50 years, and it’s often filled with locals as well as tourists, which should tell you a lot about its quality.

The thing I liked most about this restaurant is its cozy feel; with the waterside location, it feels quite upmarket but still extremely comfortable. It’s also one of the best places to eat in Istanbul if you want seriously fresh fish; it’s brought directly to the door from the sea. The meze list is huge, so make sure you load up on those, but the mains are on another planet; I had the monkfish, and it was divine.

Kıyı Information

Address: Tarabya, Haydar Aliyev Cd. No:186 D:A, 34457 Sarıyer/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212)262 0002
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 12 pm – 11 pm.
Must-Try Meals: Sea bream, meze, fresh halva.
Average Cost: $10 per starter, $40-60 per main, $6 for desserts.
Website: kiyi.com.tr

5. Deraliye (Best for Traditional Ottoman Cuisine)

Braised lamb shank served over garlic mashed potatoes.

You’ll find lots of so-called traditional restaurants in Istanbul’s old quarter, Sultanahmet, but most of them are sub-par and a little expensive. However, Deraliye is the exception. This is one of the best places for traditional cuisine, dating back to the earliest Ottoman era.

The decor is as traditional as the food, and if you want to learn more, they also hold cooking classes. However, I settled for eating myself into a stupor – I really enjoyed the Ali Nazik Kebab, which featured the most succulent chunks of lamb over a garlic and yogurt sauce. My husband had the lamb shank, and it was so huge I’m still amazed he ate it all.

Most people want to try traditional dishes in Istanbul, and so they should, but choosing the right restaurant to give you that experience is key. Otherwise, you’re left wondering what all the fuss is about. To avoid that, I highly recommend adding this restaurant to your list of must-visits.

Deraliye Information

Address: Alemdar Mahallesi Ticaret Hane Sokak Giriş Kat No 10, Sutanahmet, Istanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 520 7778
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 12 pm – 11 pm.
Must-Try Meals: Lamb shank, Ali Nazik kebab, fresh baklava.
Average Cost: $9 per starter, $30 per main, and $6 for desserts.
Website: deraliyerestaurant.com

6. Ulus 29 (Best for Bosphorus Views)

It's Turkish style baked rice pudding aka Sutlac in turkey.

Istanbul is packed with trendy restaurants where you’ll spot celebrities and some seriously rich people, but I like Ulus 29 because while it seems upmarket and has that special sparkle, it never makes you feel out of place. This is also one of the best restaurants in Istanbul with a Bosphorus view, and it has some of the most delicious cocktails in the city.

Located on a hilltop in Ulus Park, this is one of the best restaurants to visit in Istanbul for New Year as it turns into a nightclub after everyone has finished eating, and you’ll get to see the New Year fireworks. If you’re only interested in food (and I can’t blame you), definitely try the meze platter to start and the low & slow beef ribs—I can’t begin to explain how delicious they were.

Put simply, if you’re looking for the best outdoor restaurant in Istanbul, you’ve found it.

Ulus 29 Information

Address: Ulus, Ahmet Adnan Saygun Cd. No:71/1, 34340 Beşiktaş/İstanbul.
Phone: +90 (212) 358 2929
Operating Hours: Monday – Friday & Sunday, 7 pm – 12 pm, Saturday 7 pm – 1 am.
Must-Try Meals: Meze platter, dry-aged meat, Sütlaç (rice pudding, Turkish-style).
Average Cost: $17 per starter, $35-50 per main, and $15 for desserts.
Website: 29.com.tr

7. Tarihi Hocapaşa Pidecisi (Best for Pide)

Traditional Turkish Cuisine; pide with cubed meat / kusbasili pide.Turkish pita concept.

Pide is definitely one of the best things about Turkey; it’s the most delicious flatbread topped with all manner of different fillings, and it’s ideal for lunch or dinner (I’ve been known to eat it cold for breakfast, but that’s just me). One of the best restaurants in Istanbul Old Town for pide is Tarihi Hocapaşa Pidecisi – a small, no-frills spot that’s packed with locals and returning customers.

If you’re looking for cheap eats in Istanbul, head here. The pide is made fresh to order, and you can watch them making it and placing it in the huge hot stone oven. My favorite type is kuşbaşılı pide, which comprises chunks of beef with peppers and onions, but the kıyma (ground beef with spices) and cheese and egg ones are just as delicious.

Tarihi Hocapaşa Pidecisi Information

Address: Hoca Paşa, Ankara Caddesi & Hoca Paşa Sokak No:11, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 512 0990
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 12 pm – 8 pm.
Must-Try Meals: Kuşbaşılı pide, kıyma pide, yumurtalı kaşarlı pide.
Average Cost: $6-$8 per pide, $1-$2 per soft drink.

8. Karadeniz Döner Asım Usta (Best for Doner Kebab)

Doner kebab or shawarma sandwich on a wooden table.

I should start by saying that I do not like doner kebab, but I do like this one. That should tell you a lot about how good it is, along with the huge queue that forms outside this small yet mighty shop every single day (other than Sundays). For me, this is the best street food in Istanbul because not only is it cheap, but it’ll fill you up for hours.

Operating hours depend upon how long the doner meat lasts because once it’s finished, that’s it. For that reason, make sure you get there early. If you’re on the fence about doner meat, know that this one isn’t like the cheap, odd-smelling doner kebabs you sometimes see late on a Saturday night after the club. Oh no. This is prime beef doner that’s succulent and filling.

For me, this is the best cheap restaurant in Istanbul for its quality, and it’s a 100% must-visit.

Karadeniz Döner Asım Usta Information

Address: Sinanpaşa, Mumcu Bakkal Sokağı No:6, 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 261 7693
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10.30 am – 5.30 pm, or until the meat runs out. Closed on Sundays.
Must-Try Meals: Doner kebab in a wrap, bread, or pitta, Ayran drink.
Average Cost: $3.50 per doner, $1-$2 per soft drink or Ayran drink.

9. Eleven Brothers (Best for Turkish Breakfast)

Turkish breakfast with simit, pancake, cheese, cherry tomato, cucumber, and tea on a table close-up view, selective focus.

Beşiktaş has a full street of restaurants serving just Turkish breakfast; it’s literally called ‘Breakfast Street,’ or ‘Kahvalti Sokak.’ Considering the fact that Turkish breakfast is my favorite thing in the world, you can imagine how happy I was to find this street, but for the best breakfast in Istanbul, head right to the end, to Eleven Brothers.

You can either choose individual dishes, or you can just ask for the full village breakfast and try everything. I’d definitely recommend you do that because I discovered so many things I never knew existed just by doing so. It’s also a great spot to sit and watch the world go by as you slowly munch away.

I think this is one of the best local restaurants in Istanbul. The staff is so friendly, the food is homemade on the spot, and all of it is so delicious you’ll no doubt want to go back again.

Eleven Brothers Information

Address: Sinanpaşa, Çelebi Oğlu Sk. No:26, 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 236 0875
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 6.30 am – 7 pm.
Must-Try Meals: Full Turkish breakfast, menemen, pişi.
Average Cost: $2-$4 per starter, $6-$10 per main, $3 for desserts (average)

10. Bi Nevi Deli (Best for Vegans)

best restaurants istanbul vegan restaurant

The great thing about restaurants in Istanbul is that there’s something for everyone. Bi Nevi Deli is a major contender for the best vegan restaurant in Istanbul, and even if you’re not vegan, it has some seriously tasty treats on the menu. This is a great spot for anyone on a gluten-free diet too, and their menu is very clearly marked so you can make sure you know what you’re ordering.

I have a vegan friend who lives in Istanbul, and she swears by this restaurant. I went there with her and I have to agree; the flavors are so fresh, and the decor is comfortable yet sleek. I’d go back again in a heartbeat, and I can highly recommend the beetroot tacos—super tasty.

For me, this is the best vegetarian restaurant in Istanbul because it’s not only stylish and caters to so many people with different dietary needs, but the food is incredibly flavorful.

Bi Nevi Deli Information

Address: Etiler, Dilhayat Sk. No:10/1, 34337 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 358 6032
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 10 am-10 pm.
Must-Try Meals: Beetroot tacos, green curry zucchini spaghetti, flourless chocolate cookie.
Average Cost: $5-$8 per starter, $12-$20 per main, $3-$8 for desserts.
Website: binevideli.com

11. Şehzade Cağ Kebap (Best for Famous Street Food)

A firewood-cooked meat roll

One of the most traditional Turkish restaurants in Istanbul is a simple affair with low prices, but I promise it will give you the tastiest experience. You can spend a fortune in fancy restaurants, but sometimes the simple things are the best. This is a street food restaurant I go back to time and time again; in fact, it’s often one of the first places I go after arriving.

Cağ kebab is made up of layers of marinated lamb cooked over a high flame horizontally. It’s then cut and served on a skewer, and the traditional way to eat it is with salad inside a soft flour wrap, a little meat, and if you want, some dips. For me, this is the best food in Istanbul. It’s always difficult to find a table, but if there isn’t one, it’s worth waiting.

Şehzade Cağ Kebap Information

Address: Hoca Paşa, Hoca Paşa Sk. No:6 D:4, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 520 3361
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10.30 am – 10.30 pm. Closed on Sundays.
Must-Try Meals: Cağ kebab, ezme, salad.
Average Cost: $4 per kebab, $3 per meze, and $2 per soft drink.

Lasagne meal made from pasta and minced meat with tomato sauce.

I love Italian food, and I think Wama’s has the best Italian food in Istanbul – their menu is huge and serves all manner of delicious meals. You’ll find this restaurant halfway down Istiklal Street, and it’s a three-story spot that’s sleek, with an open kitchen, so you can see everything that’s going on. You can also opt to sit outside with heaters to keep you toasty in the cold weather, which is something I love doing.

The salads here are something else, and their lasagne is the best I’ve tasted outside of Italy. I also really enjoyed the fresh pizzas here and the chicken and vegetable noodles. I think this is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul for no-fuss dining in a comfortable yet sleek environment; it’s also a great spot for families as no alcohol is served here.

Wama’s Information

Address: Kuloğlu, İstiklal Cd. No:157, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (543) 249 2622
Operating Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 9 am – 1 am, Friday & Saturday, 9 am – 1.30 am.
Must-Try Meals: Lasagne, any of their steak meals, fresh-to-order salads.
Average Cost: $7-1$0 per starter, $9-$20 per main, and $7-$10 for desserts.

13. Öz Kilis Kebap ve Lahmacun Salonu (Best for Lahmacun)

Delicious Turkish Pizza Lahmacun. This Lahmacun is tasty and delicious

If you’ve never tried lahmacun, this spot is the best place to try it, but you can also sample some delicious Turkish grilled meat kebabs. You’ll find that locals often head to salons like this because of the high quality and low prices, so these are the best places to eat in Istanbul if you want to try something authentic and stick to a budget.

I like this restaurant because it’s relaxed and the menu is easy to understand if you don’t speak Turkish. The staff is very helpful, and you’ll see pictures next to everything so you can choose the meal you want with ease. I always have the lahmacun and salad, and for me, it’s the best lunch in Istanbul without breaking the bank. You’ll find countless places around the city like this, but I rate this one very highly.

Öz Kilis Kebap ve Lahmacun Salonu Information

Address: Akşemseddin Mah, Bedrettin Simavi Sk. 5/A, 34080 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 523 4457
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 12 pm – 9 pm.
Must-Try Meals: Lahmacun, chicken shish kebab, Adana kebab.
Average Cost: $6 per starter, $5.50-$15 per main, and $5 for desserts.

14. Tatbak (Best for Quality Kebabs)

A sweet pastry made of layered phyllo dough, honey, and chopped pistachios and walnuts.

There are lots of kebab restaurants in the city but if you want one with a more upmarket feel, head to Tatbak in Şişli. This restaurant is ideal for a fancy dinner in stylish surroundings when you’re keen to try traditional food. This is probably one of the best restaurants in Istanbul for dinner without heading to a really expensive rooftop spot, and it feels relaxing without falling into the street food category.

If you’re not sure what you want to try, I recommend going for the mixed kebab (karişik kebab); that way you can sample a few different things without committing to only one. The salads here are delicious too and are made fresh to order from local seasonal produce – the flavors will burst in your mouth. Of course, make sure you finish off your meal with some baklava.

Tatbak Information

Address: Teşvikiye, Akkavak Sk. 38/B, 34365 Şişli/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 246 1306
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday, 11 am – 9 pm. Closed on Sundays.
Must-Try Meals: Mixed kebab, baklava, mixed salad.
Average Cost: $10-$12 per starter, $15-$30 per main, $10 for desserts.
Website: tatbak.com

15. Asmalı Cavit (Best for Meze & Raki)

Turkish Appetizer Haydari with yogurt on a white plate on a wooden surface.

Meze and raki is a tradition in the whole of Turkey, not just Istanbul, and this is one of the best places to try it. The range of different meze on offer is mind-blowing, and you’ll be spoilt for choice as you try and choose a selection. I always go for haydari, which is a yogurt and garlic-style dip, and ezme, which is a red pepper dip, as well as several others that usually catch my eye.

If you’ve never tried raki before, know that it’s a strong alcoholic drink. You can choose other beverages, but if you want to try it, go slowly and eat plenty of food at the same time! The idea is that raki is a sociable drink that you sit sipping while eating meze and talking to friends for several hours.

This restaurant is located in Beyoğlu, so it’s in a tourist area and is easy to find. I like how friendly it feels, and the staff is so attentive; they’ll help you choose the best meze according to your preferences, and from there, it’s up to you to sit back and enjoy the traditional vibe.

Asmalı Cavit Information

Address: Asmalı Mescit, Asmalı Mescit Cd. 16/D, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 292 4950
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday, 5 pm – 11.45 pm. Closed on Sundays.
Must-Try Meals: Haydari, acili ezme, şakşuka.
Average Cost: $6-$10 per meze, $8 per glass of raki, $5-$8 for other drinks.

Must-Try Meals in Istanbul

Lahmacun Turkish pizza with melted cheese, fresh parsley, and lemon.

Istanbul is a melting pot of different cuisines, but some are extremely popular and found almost everywhere. So, when you’re in Istanbul, make sure you tick these must-try meals off your list:

Lahmacun

You’ll often hear lahamcun called ‘Turkish pizza’ which I think sells it short. Basically, this is a very flat bread, often crispy, which is covered in a fine lamb, pepper, onion, and tomato mixture, either spicy or not. It’s then cooked in a hot stone oven and you eat it rolled up with greens, onions covered in sumac, and tomatoes — just don’t forget a squirt of lemon.

Pide

One of my favorite foods in the whole of Turkey, and definitely the best brunch option in Istanbul as you can grab it on the go. This is a boat-shaped bread that comes with a variety of different fillings. My favorite is minced meat and onions, but you can have meat and peppers, cheese, pepperoni, and even egg.

Adana Kebab

Although this kebab is originally from Adana, you’ll find it all over Istanbul, either in a wrap (durum) or on a plate with bulgur rice and salad. Adana is a mixture of beef and lamb, and it’s a little on the spicy side. It’s a must-try if you like exploring authentic cuisines.

Iskender Kebab

Iskender kebab comes from nearby Bursa, and it’s a favorite all over the country. Slices of beef doner kebab sit on top of pitta bread, which is then covered in a hot, buttery tomato sauce. It’s usually served with yogurt and salad on the side.

Güvec

Güvec is one of my favorite winter dishes, and when you find a good one, you’ll never want to eat anything else. This is essentially a stew made with chunks of tender beef, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and aubergine, and it’s cooked for several hours. It’s usually served with rice and crusty bread, ideal for mopping up that delicious, thick sauce.

Islak Hamburger

I have to admit that I was on the fence about this famous Istanbul street food, but it’s definitely worth a try as it’s very popular, especially late at night. It’s a rather soggy burger in slightly less soggy bread, and while it sounds horrific, it’s surprisingly nice, and the spices give it a real kick. Go on, I dare you, trust me on this one.

Çiğ köfte

Çiğ köfte is one of the healthier types of Istanbul street food, and you can eat it in a tortilla wrap or in lettuce leaves. This dish comprises ground bulgur wheat, spices, tomato paste, onion, and hot pepper, and is served with lemon juice over the top. You’ll find it in a meat and non-meat version, and it’s a real taste explosion.

Cağ kebab

I’ve already mentioned one of the best places to eat in Istanbul that serves Cağ kebab and nothing else, and it’s always busy for a reason. This type of kebab is like doner meat, but it’s marinated lamb instead, and it’s cooked horizontally over a hot fire. It’s served with a soft flour tortilla and salad, and there’s no way you’ll stop at just one.

Food Tours in Istanbul

15 Best Restaurants in Istanbul (Top Places to Eat)

One of the best ways to explore the gastronomical delights of Istanbul is by taking a food tour. The first time I ever visited the city I went on a tour like this, and it opened my eyes to just how much amazing food there is on offer. Without a guide, it’s really easy to stick to international menus or not understand the best things to try.

Here are some of the best food tours to take in Istanbul; I highly recommend you book at least one of these:

Taste of Two Continents Istanbul Food Tour

This is one of the most popular food tours in Istanbul, and it’s always in demand. You’ll spend time on both the European and Asian sides of the city, starting with a delicious Turkish breakfast and trying out nine different restaurants. I like that there are only eight people on the tour at any one time; it made it fun to meet new people while sampling amazing food. Click here to learn more and book.

Guided Food Tour of Street Food & Markets

Turkey is famous for its street food, and this tour will show you some of the best things to try, with 20 samples waiting to tickle your tastebuds. You’ll visit eight different eateries on both the European and Asian sides of the city, and while you’re walking around, you’ll see some of the main sights. This is a great way to sample the snacks that locals eat daily. Click here for details.

Guided Food & Culture Tour

Food is such a huge part of Istanbul’s everyday life and culture, and this tour explains and links the two together really well. A local guide will take you around some of the best spots on either side of the Bosphorus, with eight food stops on the itinerary. Make sure you’re hungry for this one; I was so full by the end, I didn’t eat for the rest of the day. Click here for information.

Guided Istanbul Food Walking Tour

Traditional Turkish food chicken doner and beef doner kebab on street

This three-hour tour provides a great sample of the gastronomical delights in the main touristic hub of Istanbul—Taksim. From ice cream to kebabs, nuts to pastries, you’ll sample all manner of delicious delights from some of the most famous eateries in the area. And of course, you’ll work up an appetite while walking around. Click here to book.

Istanbul Foodie Tour by Night

The Beyoğlu is busy and vibrant at night, and the street food scene is so important to this area. This tour is a great way to explore more, try new foods, and ask questions of your local guide. You’ll make several stops at markets, restaurants, cafes, and stalls, so you certainly won’t need dinner before, or after. Click here to learn more.

Istanbul Restaurants: FAQs

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about the best restaurants in Istanbul:

What are the best restaurants in Istanbul?

Istanbul’s top restaurants are dotted all around the city, but for the Michelin-star standard restaurants, you need to head to the Beşiktaş district, specifically Etiler, Sariyer, Bebek, and Levent.

Mikla is often mentioned as one of the top restaurants in the city, but while you’ll find many high-end eateries in the city, street food can definitely hit your taste buds in a delightful way too.

What time is dinner in Istanbul?

There’s no hard and fast time for dinner in Istanbul, but most people tend to sit down for their evening meal between 6.30 pm – 9 pm. If you’re looking for pub food in Istanbul, this tends to be served until very late in the evening, as people tend to snack as they’re drinking.

What time is lunch in Istanbul?

For most people, breakfast tends to run into lunch, but in general, lunch is around 12 pm – 2 pm. There are so many nice restaurants in Istanbul serving a full village breakfast, so make sure you sample this important feast at least once during your visit.

What time is breakfast in Istanbul?

Breakfast can often be an all-day affair, and when you see the size of a traditional breakfast, you’ll understand why. Most people eat breakfast between 8 am – 1 pm, however, you’ll see many restaurants serving breakfast until as late as 4 pm.

Do you tip in Istanbul?

You don’t have to tip in Istanbul, but it’s customary to tip around 10% of the bill if you enjoyed the meal and service. However, do check on the bill to make sure that a service charge hasn’t already been added, as this is often the case in high-end restaurants.

What neighborhood has the best restaurants in Istanbul?

If you’re looking for the best restaurant in Istanbul with a view, you’ll need to head to Beşiktaş’ Ulus Park, the Golden Horn, or the Galata Bridge.

Where is the best pub food in Istanbul?

Istanbul’s best pub food restaurants can be found in both Beyoğlu and Kadıköy, which have a more laid-back dining vibe.

What’s the best restaurant in Istanbul with a view?

Ulus 29 in Beşiktaş is one of the best rooftop restaurants in Istanbul, with a trendy vibe and amazing views over the Bosphorus.

What food is Istanbul famous for?

Istanbul is famous for its street food, especially işlak hamburgers. The Ortaköy area is also famous for kumpir, or a huge jacket potato with as many fillings on as you want. Despite that, you’ll find every type of Turkish and international food in this huge city.

Where do locals eat in Istanbul?

Locals tend to go to small restaurants, not the huge touristic ones. You’ll see restaurants called lokanta that serve Turkish dishes already cooked and displayed in large containers under a warmer; this is where many locals go for lunch and dinner while they’re working.

You’ll find these types of restaurants all over, but mostly in Beyoğlu and Beşiktaş: look for the phrase ‘ev yemekleri,’ which means ‘home food.’ You’ll also notice that pide salons are always busy with locals.

Is Istanbul a foodie city?

Istanbul is the ultimate foodie city. Everywhere you go, the delicious smell of food is in the air; it’s impossible to resist!

Where do celebrities go out in Istanbul?

You’ll often find celebrities at exclusive rooftop bars in Istanbul, usually along the banks of the Bosphorus. Bebek, Sariyer, Beşiktaş, and Ortaköy are all common places to spot celebrities. There are some large and exclusive clubs around these areas, which is often where the rich and famous choose to party.

How much does dinner cost in Istanbul?

The cost of food in Istanbul varies depending on where you go. If you opt for a restaurant in Istanbul with a sea view, you’re going to pay a considerable sum for dinner, perhaps as much as $180 per person in some cases. However, you can eat cheaply too, with street food costing as little as $5. Mid-range restaurants typically cost around $30 per person.

In Conclusion

Along with history and general sightseeing, food is one of the main reasons that people visit Istanbul. Once you’ve been and smelled the food in the air, you’ll understand exactly why. You’ll find everything you’re looking for and more, and it’s one of the best places to try traditional Turkish food for the first time.

The best restaurants in Istanbul are dotted all over the city, and range from very expensive, high-end spots to street food vendors. So, if you’re a foodie or someone who just wants to try something new, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for in Istanbul—it’s impossible to resist.

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