The Ultimate Food Guide in Istanbul, Turkey

This Ultimate Food Guide in Istanbul, Turkey covers everything you need to know for your next vacation in Istanbul including foods to try, where to eat, drink, and what to do.

Istanbul has always been a dream destination of mine, and we enjoyed this trip thoroughly to explore a city with such a mesh of cultures and history. The food in Turkey was on another level and we thoroughly enjoyed every single meal we had.

12 Turkish Food/Drinks to Try:

Drinks

  • Turkish Tea (Çay) you will find this black tea all over Turkey and always in the same type of cup. The Turkish word “Çay” (pronoucned like “chai”) means tea so you can also say chai to request this traditional tea.
  • Apple TeaAs it sounds, this tea is made by steeping dried apple in hot water and is another Turkish specialty that you will find at most cafes/restaurants.
  • Pomegranate JuiceThere are spots all around the city that sell freshly squeezed juice at a super cheap price and it tastes so fresh & delicious! Definitely a must try in Turkey.
  • RakiRaki is the Turkish national drink made of twice-distilled grapes and anise. It is traditionally drunk mixed with water. I would say this was an acquired taste for me, but definitely worth trying at least once while in Turkey.

Savory

  • Turkish Breakfast ahh the love for Turkish Breakfast is so real after having it for the first time this trip. Come hungry for this one and it will vary slightly by restaurant but typically you will be served a wide array of cheeses, spreads, bread, pancakes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and more!
  • MuhammaraThis is an spicy dip made of walnuts, red bell peppers, pomegranate molasses, based dip that is popular at many mezze restaurants and tastes delicious!
  • Grape Leaves (Dolmas)These are a popular mezze dish as well in Turkey and consist of grape leaves wrapped around typically a rice and veggie filling, sometimes meat as well.
  • GozlemeTurkish stuffed flatbread that can be prepared in a variety of ways and typically savory.
  • SimitThis is a circular bread typically crusted with sesame seeds and is a very popular street food.

Sweet

  • Dondurma (Turkish Ice Cream)this ice cream has a slightly harder texture and is a bit stickier than your standard ice cream due to a thickening agent called salep that is added. The taste is still sweet!
  • Turkish Delight – this dessert is made with a gel of starch and sugar and typically consists of pistachios, chopped dates, hazelnuts or walnuts bound by the gel. Definitely a must try in Turkey
  • BaklavaThis Turkish dessert is one of the most popular treats in Turkey. It is a layered pastry that is stuffed with different nuts and flavors. You can also find gluten free baklava at a special shop noted further below.

Where to Eat Breakfast/Lunch in Istanbul

All of these restaurants were walk in friendly and no reservations needed. We never had issues getting a table within a reasonable amount of time.

Cafe Privato

  • Address: Şahkulu, Tımarcı Sk. No:3, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
  • Price: +90 212 293 20 55

If you can only check out one spot for breakfast for your trip in Istanbul, Turkey then Cafe Privato is it. Cafe Privato was the cutest cafe with quaint couches, friendly staff, and the best turkish coffee and breakfast. We came here multiple times during our time in Istanbul because we loved it so much! We had the omelettes, menemen, and the Traditional Village Breakfast (also known as Turkish breakfast) which is a must try.

The Turkish Breakfast comes with homemade jams & marmelades, churned butter, regional cheeses, olives, seasonal salad, village honney, hazelnut paste, walnut jam, ajuka, avocado paste, village egg, turkish flatbread, grilled halloumi cheese, and sweet + cheese pancakes. Come hungry for this one!!

Journey

We loved journey during our time in Istanbul so much that we came here multiple times. They have a ton of healthy breakfast options. The eggs on toast and Turkish breakfast (great if looking for something a bit heartier) were both delicious.

  • Address: Kılıçali Paşa, Akarsu Ykş. Sok. 21/A, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
  • Phone: +90 212 244 89 89

Kahve 6

Delicious food with healthy options and a cozy cafe vibe. We tried the gozleme as well which is a Turkish specialty which was very yummy!

  • Address: Cihangir, KILIÇALİ PAŞA MAH. AKARSU CAD, Anahtar Sk. NO:13/A, 34433 Beyoğlu, Turkey
  • Phone: +90 212 293 08 49

Payidar

This restaurant is another cute option and the staff was incredibly friendly! We were in a rush and not as hungry so we ordered the omelettes. However, I would recommend trying the Turkish breakfast if you have more time and go with a larger appetite.

  • Address: Bereketzade Mahallesi, Buyuk Hendek Caddesi No: 35 Beyoglu, Istanbul 34420 Turkey
  • Phone: +90 212 900 26 33

Additional Breakfast Restaurants to Try

The following are additional restaurants recommended by a local that we did not get a chance to try while in Istanbul, Turkey.

Van Kahvaltı Evi

Close to many of the other breakfast spots recommended including Kahve 6 and Journey on the Galata side of turkey. 4.5 star reviews on Google.

  • Address: Kılıçali Paşa, Defterdar Ykş. 52/A, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
  • Phone: +90 212 293 64 37

Mangerie Bebek

Beautiful views on the water and a slightly pricier option. 4.1 stars on Google.

  • Address: Bebek, Cevdet Paşa Cd. No:69, 34342 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
  • Phone: +90 212 263 51 99

Where to Eat Dinner in Istanbul

I would recommend making reservations in advance for dinner plans as many of the higher end restaurants fill up very quickly.

Mikla

  • Address: Asmalı Mescit, The Marmara Pera, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:15, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
  • Price: $$$$

Mikla is a must try restaurant while you are in Istanbul, Turkey. It even made the World’s 100 Best Restaurants list (at #60). The service was top notch, the food was to die for, and the views were unreal (see photo below). We did the full 7 course tasting (which I highly recommend) and our server went above and beyond as well to accommodate dietary needs and he even allowed us to mix and match from the tasting menus to try the dishes that sounded the best to us.

Make sure to make a reservation far in advance as Mikla fills up very fast! Make sure to also head up to the Rooftop of the Marmara Pera Hotel for a cocktail after dinner to enjoy the stunning views.

Duble

There are 2 Duble locations, one is Duble Mezze Karaköy and the other is Duble Bar Address. We ate at the Karaköy location and had a great experience (can’t speak for the other but supposed to be very similar vibes and reviews).

  • Karaköy Location Address: Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Kemankeş Cd. No:31, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
  • Bar Location Address: Palazzo Donizetti Hotel, Asmalı Mescit Mah Meşrutiyet Caddesi, İstiklal 7 No:85, 34400 Beyoğlu, Turkey
  • Number: +90 549 822 30 11 (This was the only restaurant we were able to successfully communicate via WhatsApp to make reservations)
  • Price: $$$

This is very much a viby restaurant and people will start to get up and dance around their tables around 10-11pm. The music progressively got louder and louder very early on in our meal, so if you are hoping for a more intimate dinner prior to dancing, then this may not be your spot.

The music was primarily Turkish hits such as Isyankar (Oriental Remix). After dinner, the servers brought out a ton of sparkler cakes to a bunch of tables (so make sure to tell them prior you are celebrating an event)! The menu is fixed and all came out very quickly. We very much enjoyed our meal here and had such an amazing time!

Would definitely encourage you to experience this type of Turkish dancing dinner at least once in Istanbul or at Firuze summarized below.

Firuze

Very similar vibes to Duble as it also turns into a dance party at night. However it was a bit more of an intimate, cozy dinner vibe prior to eventually people getting up and dancing. We ordered a bunch of dishes for the table and make sure to try Raki (national drink of Turkey) while here. The views outside are stunning as well!

  • Address: Nejat Eczacibasi Binasi Sadi Konuralp Caddesi No: 5, Istanbul 34433 Turkey
  • Price: $$$$
  • Phone: +90 212 238 50 50

Aret’in Yeri Nevizade

The food here was incredible and so affordable! This restaurant is perfect if you are looking for a more low key night with mezze style, high quality dishes. The grape leaves and basil sea bass were unreal! We sat outside but would recommend trying to get a seat upstairs for a bit of a view.

  • Address: Huseyin Aga Mah Balikpazari Kameriye Sk, Nevizade Sk. No:9, 34435 Beyoğlu, Turkey
  • Phone: +90 212 292 10 10
  • Price: $$

Ficcin Mutfak

This is a more casual restaurant with a great ambiance and affordable prices. The dips were all delicious! Make sure to try the grape leaves and the muhamarra dip.

  • Address: Asmalı Mescit, Meşrutiyet Caddesi & Kallavi Sokak 12/A, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
  • Phone: +90 212 293 37 86

Additional Dinner Restaurants to Try in Istanbul

The following are additional restaurants that were recommended by a local or ones that were discovered through further research prior to our trip in Istanbul.

  • Aheste (Pera) – Highly recommended spot near Soho House by a local. Slightly upscale, with a cute interior showing exposed brick. Tasting menu is highly recommended.
  • Sur Balik/Mira Balik (Arnavutkoy) – Worth checking out if around Arnavutkoy. Great quality food and on the water.
  • Aliye (Cihangir) – This is a local, casual meze spot recommended by a local. If the weather is nice, you can sit outside!
  • Demeti (Cihangir) – A great local spot close to Journey restaurant recommended further up. Very cozy inside with a couple of tables outside with an amazing view. Will need a reservation for those but great date night spot.
  • Yakup 2 (Asmali) – A more casual/cheaper option. You can sit outside to hear the musicians that come perform class Turkish music around 9pm.

Where to Drink in Istanbul

Mortender’s cocktail (Sisane)

This was by far our favorite cocktail bar in the city with a cute interior and fun, upbeat music. The cocktails were great with very friendly bartenders as well! Try the Cursed Vespucci cocktail.

Address: Asmalı Mescit, Müeyyet Sk. No:5, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

Additional Bars

We couldn’t check out all of the bars, but the following are additional bars recommended to us by a local:

  • Joker No:19 (Besiktas) – Large Beer Garden style in the middle of Besiktas, where the main dolmus pickup spot is near the carsi.
  • Alexandra (Arnavutkoy) – Cool 5 story cocktail spot with beautiful views of the water. Turns club like in the evenings.
  • 5 Kat (Cihangir) – Amazing view of the Bosphorus. Great spot for a drink either during the day or at night.
  • Korto Istanbul (Kurucesme) – Newer spot and check out the “Roof” highlights on Instagram to see this trendy bar that brings in a variety of DJ’s to perform at night.

Turkish Sweets

Hafiz Mustafa 1864 Sirkeci

One of the most famous spots in Istanbul to try the famous Turkish Delight and Baklava. It can get a bit chaotic in there but the treats are worth it! They can also vacuum seal your bags to prepare for travel. I brought a variety pack of both types home to share with my fam, and they absolutely loved it!

Address: Hocapasa Mahallesi, Muradiye Caddesi NO:25B Sirkeci, Fatih, Istanbul 34420 Turkey

Karaköy Güllüoğlu

This spot had delicious baklava and is a perfect option to buy gluten free baklava if you have gluten intolerances.

Address: Kemankeş Cad. Katlı Otopark Altı No: 3-4, 34425 Beyoğlu, Turkey

Bena Dondurmalari

Dondurma is specialty Turkish ice cream so I wanted to try this at least once during our trip. It has a stickier type of texture. We found a spot in the south side of Turkey close to the Blue Mosque after walking around the Grand Bazaar in the evening.

I was honestly underwhelmed with both the ice cream shop and the ice cream. However the owner was incredibly sweet and actually gave me my cone for free as I did not realize it was cash only and had no cash on me.

In my opinion, you’re better off sticking to Turkish Delight or Baklava in Turkey, but if intrigued in trying Dondurma then worth a stop!

Address: Gazi Mahallesi, Atik Ali Paşa Camii Sokak, Çemberlitaş No:17, 34120 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

Cafes to Visit in Istanbul:

Nova Santiye Cafe

Address: Süleymaniye, Siyavuş Paşa Sk. No:24, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

We came here for the views and they did not disappoint! We were in awe watching the sunset from here with the most perfect view of the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. Much to our surprise the photo you see below is entirely staged but makes for the most beautiful photo. If you want to take photos of yourself on these couches, you will have to pay a small fee.

What to Do in Istanbul, Turkey

I won’t get as in depth on these but the following are all places worth checking out during your time in Istanbul. The TikTok video below summarizes many of these places.

  • Hagia Sophia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Bosphorus Cruise to Asia
  • Umbrella Street
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Egyptian Bazaar
  • Dolmabahce Palace
  • Cihangir Neighborhood
  • Istiklal Cadassi
  • Topkaki Palace

Save on TikTok

@thefitdelish 🇹🇷 11 MUST SEE spots in ISTANBUL (save for later)📍#istanbul #istanbulturkey #istanbulturkey🇹🇷 #turkey🇹🇷 #traveltiktok #travelguide #bucketlist ♬ original sound – TikTok Philippines

I hope you found this Istanbul food guide helpful for planning out your next vacation in Turkey. I am always a DM or email away if you have any other questions.

Also make sure to check out some additional if planning a trip to Europe:

xx,

Katya Ann Signature

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hi, I'm Katya -- former D1 tennis player, certified CorePower Yoga Sculpt teacher, & soon to be IIN Certified Health Coach. Welcome to my page where I share all things wellness, real food recipes, and fitness. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to explore all things recipes, travel, yoga sculpt, wellness hacks, & shop all of my faves!

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