A Guide to the Top Restaurants in Istanbul



A Guide to the Top Restaurants in Istanbul

Istanbul is the biggest city in Turkey and has over 15 million residents. Located on the Bosphorus Strait between Asia and Europe, the historic city dates back to 660 BC. Shopping and dining are the most popular activities in Istanbul with many malls including the Grand Bazaar, which has been in business since 1461.

The cuisine in Istanbul is a combination of Armenian, Eastern European, Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Balkan, and Mediterranean. The main meal is typically some kind of meat like beef, lamb, or fish as well as a blend of spices and vegetables. Leave your large bags and heavy backpacks in a bag storage locker in Istanbul and go eat.  


Breakfast Bistros

  • Kosk 1981 Cafe & Restaurant

Start with acma bread or börek, then enjoy some of the milky Turkish cheeses like kasseri or Ezine peyniri. Try some sucuklu yumurta (eggs and sausage) with tomatoes and peppers and then enjoy jams, preserves, and jellies with more bread. But do not miss the baklava for dessert, which Kosk 1981 is known for.

  • Yiğit Sofram Gözleme ve Kahvalti

Yigit serves the best Turkish breakfast in the city with six types of menemen, sucuklu sausage, homemade breads served with honey and cream, and a variety of jams and spreads. You can also choose from six kinds of omelets and eight flavors of pancakes. The chocolate pancake is a fantastic dessert.  

  • Çiğdem Pastanesi 

Whether you just want a pastry and coffee or a sit-down breakfast meal, you can get it at Cigdem Pastanesi. They have flaky and delicious baklava, decadent börek, and the bread pudding is unbelievable. Or try the breakfast plate with all the sides, omelet with veggies, or the Yuvarlak Pizza. 


Lunch Cafés

  • Esmer Café

You can get anything from lahmacun (pizza) to döners (sandwiches) at Esmer Café. Burgers and fries? They have it. Köfte meatballs? They have those too. And the staff is so friendly and fun. The manti (mini ravioli) is something you really have to try. And the kunefe and lokum are perfect for dessert.

  • Last Ottoman Cafe & Restaurant

With eight salad choices, seven kinds of pasta, four pages of entrees, and two pages of seafood dishes, you may have a hard time choosing. But that’s okay. You can always come back. They have kebabs of all kinds, several kinds of steak, seabass, shrimp, swordfish, and salmon. And don’t miss the baklava for dessert.

  • Three Partners Cafe & Restaurant

At Three Partners, they serve you as a part of the family. Your first item is a French baguette with balsamic oil, then a spinach salad with parmesan, followed by roasted sweet potatoes, zucchini, and carrots, then tuna tataki with cherry tomatoes. Argentine rolls stuffed with ricotta and nutmeg are the final course. 


Dining in Style for Dinner

  • Mikla

Mikla is possibly the finest restaurant in Istanbul with a tasting menu that will astound by giving your eyes and your taste buds a thrill. A sample menu includes braised artichoke, boiled octopus, dried tenderloin, seabass with beans and capers, braised lamb, and black mulberry ice cream with hemp seeds.

  • Foodie-Ist Café 

Foodie-Ist Café can even make a burger and fries look like a masterpiece. And it tastes like nothing you have had before. But they also have tacos, quesadillas, pizza, pasta, and steaks. Seafood is also a popular choice with seabass and grilled octopus high on the list. And the desserts are as exquisite as the view. 

  • Aqua

Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Aqua is one of the finest Turkish restaurants in the city. Start with duck prosciutto or fried squid and add oysters, caviar, sushi, or prawns. Move on to the soup or casserole and then try one of their hot pot meals, so unique and flavorful. Other choices include sole,  grouper, and flounder.


Cheap Food on the Go

  • Anas Chicken

Looking for some chicken? Try Anas Chicken! This is the best place to get chicken shawarma, döners, and fried chicken. Served up on a huge platter with fries, veggies, and slaw or served as an individual wrap or a sandwich. You can even get hummus, pasta, pizza, fish, or a burger. Or try the French fry sandwich! 

  • Pidem

Pide is a special Turkish flatbread with meat and other stuffings. They bake it in an oven, and it comes out similar to a pizza but smaller and oval instead of round. Pidem is the place to get pide in Istanbul. Fast service, delicious food, and friendly staff. They have a nice selection of toppings to choose from, too. 

  • Kizilkayalar Hamburger 

You have to try the wet burger at Kizilkayalar while you are in Istanbul. If you have never had a wet burger, it is a steamed burger with a bun soaked in special sauce. They serve other things there too like döners, wraps, and toasted sandwiches like sausage and cheese, fried meat and cheese, and white cheese. 

Dessert Diners

  • Cafe Mendel’s Chocolatier

This is the place to go in Istanbul if you like chocolate. They have delicious coffee, too, but chocolate is the main dish at Mendel’s. Try the chocolate bomb full of melted chocolate in a chocolate shell, the sizzling brownie served warm and coated with chocolate sauce, or the chocolate fondue fountain.

  • Acemoglu Baklavalari

Acemoglu Baklavalari is known for their Turkish Delight and they have 18 delectable varieties to choose from. But as the name says, their baklava is what many of the locals come for and they have over 20 flavors. Try the chocolate baklava or one of the many walnut and pistachio flavors. 

  • Hafiz Mustafa 1864

For even more of a variety, head to Hafiz Mustafa where they have over 30 kinds of baklava, 12 kinds of Turkish Delight, and 33 types of cake. The strawberry pistachio cake is heavenly, and the Baton chocolate banana cake is totally delicious. They also have kadayif, pudding, and breakfast food. 

Whether you are in Istanbul for business or pleasure, make sure you take the time to try some of these delightful eateries. Turkish cuisine is something you do not want to miss while you are in town. The flavors are unlike any other country. And be sure to take some photos to share on your favorite social media sites.











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