Istanbul Travel Guide

Turkey  #8 in Best Cheap European Vacations
Credit

Courtesy of Leonardo Patrizi/Getty Images

What to Eat in Istanbul

Turkish cuisine can be described as a fusion of Middle Eastern, Asian and Mediterranean flavors. In Istanbul in particular, kebabs and mezes (small, tapas-like plates) are well-known and popular. Dishes are generally heavy on meats, beans, fresh vegetables and nuts. Yogurt is also a main component of much Turkish cuisine and can usually be found as a companion to many meat entrees and breads. Street food, including döner (commonly made from lamb meat) and simit (a bagel-like bread that serves as a convenient portable snack), is also very popular among residents and out-of-town visitors. Turkish coffee will keep you going strong for all of the sightseeing, and for dessert, try some Turkish Delight candies.

A wide variety of dining establishments can be found in Istanbul, from high-end restaurants run by well-known chefs to chaotic meyhanes (traditional restaurants and bars in Turkey) and no-frills, hole-in-the-wall kebab joints. Meyhanes are typically loud and boisterous places where alcohol flows along with mezes. While you're here, be sure to try raki, the national licorice-flavored drink made from the anise plant and served with a glass of chilled water. When the two liquids make contact, it forms a milky white color, giving the drink its nickname, aslan sütü (or lion's milk).

For the most authentic experience, avoid the Sultanahmet area. The tourist-heavy neighborhood's restaurants, in general, serve overpriced and mediocre food. Take a short trip on the tram north across the Golden Horn to Beyoglu, where you'll find a mix of simple home cooking, as well as some of the trendiest options in the city. Popular Turkish restaurants in Beyoglu include Babel Cafe & Restaurant, Nicole and Meze by Lemon Tree.

Find the Best Restaurants in Istanbul

  • #1
    Lotiz Lounge & Hookah
    #1 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 275 reviewsTripAdvisor (275)
    $$ |
    Vidinli Tevfik Pasa Cad. No:14 Balabanağa Mahallesi, Istanbul 34134 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #2
    Three Partners Cafe & Restaurant
    #2 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 296 reviewsTripAdvisor (296)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Mediterranean, Barbecue, Wine Bar, Central Asian
    Kucukayasofya Mahhalesi Kaleci Sokak No 5 Fatih, Istanbul Turkey
    Read More »
  • #3
    Istanbul Anatolian Cuisine
    #3 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 482 reviewsTripAdvisor (482)
    $ - $$ | Mediterranean, Turkish, Seafood, Barbecue, Middle Eastern
    Kucuk Ayasofya Mah Kadirga Liman Cad Camii Sk 7 Sultanahmet Fatih, Istanbul Turkiye, Istanbul Turkey
    Read More »
  • #4
    Byzantion Bistro & Restaurant
    #4 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 467 reviewsTripAdvisor (467)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, Seafood, Barbecue, Turkish, Italian
    Ordu Caddesi,Yesil Tulumba Sok, No.9/1 Laleli / Fatih, Istanbul 34134 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #5
    Seher Kebab Meat House
    #5 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 262 reviewsTripAdvisor (262)
    $ - $$ | Barbecue, Turkish
    Ibni Kemal Cd. no.18 Hoca paşa mahalesi, Istanbul 34110 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #6
    Garden Mezze
    #6 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 695 reviewsTripAdvisor (695)
    $ - $$ | Fusion
    Kucuk Ayasofya Mahallesi Sehit Mehmet Pasa Sokak No 5 Sultanahmet Kucuk Ayasofya Fatih, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #7
    Istanbul Kebab Cafe & Restaurant
    #7 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 227 reviewsTripAdvisor (227)
    $ | Seafood, Barbecue, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean
    Divanyolu Caddesi Bickiyurdu sk. Divan center No:5, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #8
    Hanzade Terrace Restaurant
    #8 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 596 reviewsTripAdvisor (596)
    $ | Seafood, Barbecue, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Grill
    Emin Sinan Mah. Piyer Loti Cad. No: 35 Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34126 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #9
    Buhara Ocakbasi Restaurant
    #9 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 3276 reviewsTripAdvisor (3276)
    $ - $$ | Seafood
    Alemdar Mah. Nuruosmaniye Cad. No: 7 Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34440 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #10
    Kucukoglu Barbecue Restaurant
    #10 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1454 reviewsTripAdvisor (1454)
    $ - $$ | Mediterranean, Barbecue, Turkish, Grill
    Prof. Kazim Ismail Gurkan cd. no:2 kat:2 Alemdar Mh, Istanbul 34110 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #11
    Mesopotamian Terrace Restaurant
    #11 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 83 reviewsTripAdvisor (83)
    $ | Mediterranean, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Soups
    Akbiyik Cd, Kutlugun Sk. No.23 Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34400 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #12
    Istanbul Enjoyer Cafe & Restaurant
    #12 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 176 reviewsTripAdvisor (176)
    $ - $$ | Turkish
    Alemdar Mahallesi, Divanyolu Cad. Ticarethane Sok. No: 19 Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34110 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #13
    La Romantica Turkish Kitchen
    #13 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 428 reviewsTripAdvisor (428)
    $ - $$ | Turkish, Seafood, Mediterranean, Pub, Wine Bar
    Kucuk Ayasofya mahallesi Mustafapasa sk no 18 Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #14
    Sultanahmet Ottoman Fish Terrace House
    #14 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 485 reviewsTripAdvisor (485)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Turkish, Mediterranean
    Cankurtaran mah. Kutlu Gun Sk. No:49, Sultanahmet Istanbul, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #15
    Istanbul Ottoman Kitchen
    #15 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 751 reviewsTripAdvisor (751)
    $ - $$ | Barbecue, Turkish, Mediterranean
    Alemdar Mh. Yerebatan Cd. no 37/31 Fatih, Istanbul 34100 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #16
    Saltanat Fish & Kebab House
    #16 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1097 reviewsTripAdvisor (1097)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Barbecue, Turkish, Steakhouse, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
    Alemdar Mh. Catalcesme Sk. No: 19 Sultanahmet fatih, Istanbul 34410 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #17
    Cozy blue corner & cafe restaurant
    #17 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 80 reviewsTripAdvisor (80)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, Seafood, Mediterranean, Barbecue, Turkish
    Adliye sokak no 7-7 Cankurtaran Mahallesi, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #18
    Mivan Restaurant Cafe
    #18 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 406 reviewsTripAdvisor (406)
    $ - $$ | Mediterranean, Turkish, European, Middle Eastern, Soups
    Piyerloti Caddesi No: 34 Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34126 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #19
    By Kinyas Restaurant
    #19 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 69 reviewsTripAdvisor (69)
    $$ | Cafe, Seafood, Mediterranean, Turkish, Healthy
    Kutlugun Sokak No:18 Cankurtaran Mah., Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #20
    Gulhane Sark Sofrasi
    #20 of 16,285 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 2425 reviewsTripAdvisor (2425)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Mediterranean, Barbecue, Turkish, Middle Eastern, International
    AlayKosku Cad. No: 22, Istanbul 34110 Turkey
    Read More »

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