Restaurants in Istanbul
Istanbul not only bridges the cultural and geographical gap
between Europe and Asia, but also blends its culinary offerings.
Eating out in Istanbul restaurants gives diners a taste of the
splendid fusion that can be created by combining the traditional
cuisine of these two vast continents.
Dining options abound in Istanbul and if in doubt, head for the Sultanahmet area which has the most restaurants. Traditional Turkish fare such as turbot with saffron and raspberry, or cinnamon flavoured chicken kebabs, can be enjoyed at restaurants in the Edirnekapi and Ortaköy areas, while the best seafood is in Kanlýca. Istanbul restaurants serving a fusion of Turkish, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine are found in Beyoglu and Sisli, while Taksim and Ortaköy are home to some excellent cafés.
With so many restaurants in and around the city, diners will find somewhere to eat any time of any day. Menu prices are generally quite fair and essentially you get what you pay for! A tip of at least 10% is customary. At most Istanbul restaurants, reservations are either required or strongly recommended.
An aptly named restaurant, 360 is situated on a rooftop terrace and has beautiful views and a sleek concrete and glass design. The menu offers fusion cuisine featuring Turkish, Mediterranean and Oriental ingredients. Signature dishes include the '360 Alternative pizza' and their 'Death by Chocolate' is phenomenal! Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, and dinner only on weekends. Reservations required.
Address: Misir Apartmani K8, 311 Istikal Caddesi, Beyoglu
Telephone: (0) 212 251 1042
Cezayir serves Turkish cuisine with an international influence; Indian spices are used in a Turkish samosa, and other menu favourites include the salmon carpaccio and the 'börek' grilled spinach and cheese pastry. With wicker chairs and pale yellow walls, the mood in this restaurant is very calm and relaxed. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations essential.
Address: Hayriye Cad. 16, Beyoglu
Telephone: (0) 212 245 9980
Set in a 19th century mansion overlooking the Golden Horn, Asitane (one of Istanbul's Ottoman Empire names) serves authentic Ottoman cuisine, featuring Central Asian, Anatolian, Middle Eastern and Balkan influences and 500 year-old recipes. Veal in apple sauce and cinnamon flavoured chicken kebabs are just two of the delicious menu options. Open daily for lunch and dinner, and brunch on Sundays. Reservations recommended.
Address: Kariye Camii Sokak 6, Edirnekapi
Telephone: (0) 212 534 8414
Çintemani is both chic and laid-back, yet functions with all the efficiency of its Ritz-Carlton host. Its varied menu features cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian tastes, as well as local favourites. Try the pistachio crusted lamb loin with sautéed spinach and pestil sauce and keep space for the rice pudding with homemade ice-cream. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations required.
Address: Ritz-Carlton, Askerocagi Cad. 15, Sisli
Telephone: (0) 212 334 4444
The House Café (Ortaköy)
Boasting two terraces on the Ortaköy's waterfront, this trendy restaurant's décor blends beautifully with its seaside location. While the menu features excellent seafood dishes, the pizza with pears, honey and Roquefort is also sublime. Open daily, reservations required.
Address: Salhane Sokak 1, Ortaköy
Telephone: (0) 212 227 2699
The Körfez lies nestled in a cove on the Asian side of the Bosphorus Straight, with tables set on a deck right over the water and a view of the bridge. Körfez is often purported to be the best seafood restaurant in Istanbul; start the meal with Turkish vegetable starters or from a selection of seafood appetisers. Fish meals are salted lightly and grilled to perfection. The restaurant provides a ferry for customers coming to dine there from the European side of the straight. Open daily except Mondays. Reservations essential.
Address: Körfez Cad. No:78 Kanlýca
Telephone: 90 216 413 4314
The Feriye Lokantasi is a multi-purpose venue with its own bar, café, conference hall and two separate seasonal venues for the one restaurant. The best way to enjoy this facility is on the outdoor terrace on a balmy summer evening. The menu, like the venue, is flexible and based on what is seasonal, offering Turkish cuisine cooked in the ottoman tradition. The menu offers delicious meals such as grilled turbot, with saffron and courgette balls, in raspberry puree. Open daily for lunch and dinner, reservations required.
Address: Çýraðan Cad. 40 Ortaköy
Telephone: (0) 212 227 2216
Located on the top two floors of the 18 storey Marmara Pera Hotel, this gourmet restaurant offers a glorious 360º vista of the lights of Old Town. Chef and owner Mehmet Gürs prepares Turkish and Scandinavian meals such as sautéed scallops with vegetable risotto, and ragu beef cheeks with porcini mushroom soup. An absolute favourite is the lamb escargot for mains, followed by a tachio and tahini ice-cream dessert. Reservations essential.
Address: Mesrutyiyet Cad. 167, Tepebasi
Telephone: (0) 212 293 5656
Saf cuisine can be enjoyed at Hayal Kahvesi in Club Sporium Akatlar, perfect for a light meal after a good workout or an afternoon by the pool. The menu offers fresh organic food such as a 'Taco Trio' with Mexican pâté, guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and supper, reservations recommended.
Address: Club Sporium (Mayadrom Arkasý), Cumhuriyet Cad. 4/8 Akatlar
Telephone: (0) 212 282 7946
Become our Istanbul Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Istanbul travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Istanbul or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.