Istanbul Travel Guide

Turkey  #12 in Best Cheap European Vacations
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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
    Divella Bistro Restaurant
    #1 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 456 reviewsTripAdvisor (456)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Steakhouse, Seafood, Mediterranean, Turkish
    Cankurtaran Mah. AkbIyIk Cad. Adliye sok. No:11/A, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #2
    Lotiz Lounge & Hookah
    #2 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1357 reviewsTripAdvisor (1357)
    $ | Steakhouse, Bar, European, Turkish
    Vidinli Tevfik Pasa Cad. No:14 Balabanaga Mahallesi, Istanbul 34134 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #3
    Kucukoglu Barbecue Restaurant
    #3 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 2037 reviewsTripAdvisor (2037)
    $ - $$ | Mediterranean, Barbecue, Turkish, Grill
    Prof. Kazim Ismail Gurkan cd. no:2 kat:2 Alemdar Mh, Istanbul 34110 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #4
    Three Partners Cafe & Restaurant
    #4 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 785 reviewsTripAdvisor (785)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Mediterranean, Barbecue, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Central Asian
    Kucukayasofya Mahhalesi Kaleci Sokak No 5 Fatih, Istanbul Turkey
    Read More »
  • #5
    Antique Terrace Restaurant
    #5 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 303 reviewsTripAdvisor (303)
    $ - $$ | Mediterranean, Turkish, Barbecue, Wine Bar, Middle Eastern, Healthy
    Fatih Sultanahmet Cankurtaran Mah Kutlugün Sk. No:51-4, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #6
    Buhara Ocakbasi Restaurant
    #6 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 3917 reviewsTripAdvisor (3917)
    $ - $$ | Seafood
    Alemdar Mah. Nuruosmaniye Cad. No: 7 Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34440 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #7
    Istanbul Kebab Cafe & Restaurant
    #7 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 948 reviewsTripAdvisor (948)
    $ | Seafood, Barbecue, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean
    Divanyolu Caddesi Bickiyurdu sk. Divan center No:5, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #8
    Ziya Sark Sofrasi
    #8 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1195 reviewsTripAdvisor (1195)
    $ - $$ | Barbecue, Turkish, Middle Eastern
    Hocapasa Mah. Hocapasa Camii Sok. No: 15/A Fatih-Sirkeci, Istanbul 34110 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #9
    Novas Hagiasophia
    #9 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 408 reviewsTripAdvisor (408)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Mediterranean, Turkish, Grill, Healthy
    Kucuk Ayasofya Mahallesi Kucuk Ayasofya Medresesi Sok. Huseyin Medresesi IshanI No:21, Istanbul 34123 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #10
    Bitlisli
    #10 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 2385 reviewsTripAdvisor (2385)
    $ - $$ | Turkish, Grill, Middle Eastern, Barbecue
    Hocapasa Mah. Hocapasa Camii Sok. No:2/B Sirkeci-Fatih, Istanbul Turkey
    Read More »
  • #11
    Fish Home Restaurant
    #11 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1174 reviewsTripAdvisor (1174)
    $ - $$ | Seafood
    Cankurtaran Mahallesi, Ahir Kapi Sokak, No 36 Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #12
    Istanbul Anatolian Cuisine
    #12 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 955 reviewsTripAdvisor (955)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Mediterranean, Barbecue, Turkish, Middle Eastern
    Kadirga Liman Caddesi, Cami Sokak No:7 Kucuk Ayasofya Mahallesi, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #13
    Erhan Restaurant
    #13 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1760 reviewsTripAdvisor (1760)
    $ - $$ | Mediterranean, European, Turkish, Middle Eastern
    Binbirdirek Mahallesi, Klodfarer Caddesi No: 29/E Fatih, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #14
    Istanbul Kitchen Cafe Restaurant
    #14 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 247 reviewsTripAdvisor (247)
    $ - $$ | Turkish, Seafood, Mediterranean, Barbecue, Wine Bar
    Alemdar Mahallesi Yerebatan Caddesi No:30 Fatih, Istanbul 34000 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #15
    Myterrace Cafe & Restaurant
    #15 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 458 reviewsTripAdvisor (458)
    $ - $$ | Cafe, Mediterranean, European, Turkish, Middle Eastern
    Kucuk Ayasofya Mah. Sehit Mehmetpasa Yks. No: 9 Fatih, Sultanahmet, Istanbul Turkey
    Read More »
  • #16
    Rainbow Fish & Meat Restaurant
    #16 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 241 reviewsTripAdvisor (241)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Turkish, Mediterranean, Barbecue
    Mimar Mehmet Aga Caddesi No 33/1, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #17
    Byzantion Bistro & Restaurant
    #17 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 896 reviewsTripAdvisor (896)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Steakhouse, Seafood, Barbecue, Turkish
    Ordu Caddesi,Yesil Tulumba Sok, No.9/1 Laleli / Fatih, Istanbul 34134 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #18
    Garden Mezze
    #18 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 995 reviewsTripAdvisor (995)
    $ - $$ |
    Binbirdirek. mah. Peykhane. Cd. no 16 Sultanahmet binbirdirek, Istanbul 34122 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #19
    La Romantica Fish & Meat House
    #19 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1103 reviewsTripAdvisor (1103)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Mediterranean, Turkish
    Kucuk Ayasofya mahallesi Mustafapasa Sk No 18 Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34120 Turkey
    Read More »
  • #20
    Vamos Estambul Cafe & Restaurant
    #20 of 14,985 Places to Eat in Istanbul
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 873 reviewsTripAdvisor (873)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Mediterranean, Barbecue, Turkish, Grill
    Ticarethane Sokak No 39/42 Alemdar mahhalesi, Istanbul 34120 Turkey
    Read More »

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