TOP 25 Istanbul restaurants: what and where to try local food | Elena Kazantseva's travel blog

Before going to Istanbul, I worked on the “gastronomic” part of the trip for a very long time. In 4 days I didn’t manage to try anything I planned! Of course, I tried the delicious kebab, experimented with shawarma and visited 2 panoramic restaurants.

I hope that I will have more than one trip to Istanbul, when I can try more dishes and visit more restaurants. In the meantime, I give this opportunity to you and I heartily share with you all the information that I managed to get before the trip.

In this article I will write about Turkish fast food give you a list of of 25 cafes, restaurants and street stalls where you can try national Turkish cuisine.

Istanbul restaurants on the map

The map shows all the institutions indicated in this article. 

Turkish fast food: what to try in Istanbul.

Here is a list of fast food, or street food, as well as the names of the most popular Turkish sweets. Perhaps someday the article will replenish with a list of national dishes.

Simit is a traditional Turkish bagel with sesame seeds, which is sold everywhere. It tastes like a bun. Tasty good bun. In the center its costs 2 liras (0.30 euros), which means that in other places it is even cheaper. You can order a bagel with cheese or nutella – there will be a tasty snack.

what to try in istanbul

Boreks (Börek) – puff pastry cakes with different fillings: with cheese (Sigara), with meat (Kiymali), potatoes (Patatasli), spinach (Ispanakli).

Balyk Ekmek – literally “fish in bread”, outwardly it is a mixture of hamburger and shawarma, only with fish. The fish is fried in oil (normal such an amount of oil), you can try in any fish restaurant on the first level of the Galata bridge or nearby, on the pier Eminenu.

Kumpir  – baked potatoes with a filling inside. Something like our “potato crumbs.”

Doner Kebap – here, probably, no need to explain, this is a doner, i.e. which is cooked on large vertical grills and served either as an independent dish, or as a filling in shawarma.


turkish fast food


Kokoreç  – a kind of doner, only prepared not from meat, but from offal.

Salep (Sahlep) – a hot milk drink made from Salep flour with nuts, cocoa and coconut. Popular in winter.

Lokma  – Sweet Turkish donut in the form of balls. Usually watered with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Tulumba – a dessert dish, which is a tube of custard dough, deep-fried and soaked in sweet syrup.


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Kadayıf or Kataif – Turkish cake, which is prepared according to a special recipe. Ultra-thin dough in the form of the finest filaments, baked with syrup and almond crumbs and other confectionery seasonings. The most popular varieties of dessert are burmese and tel kadaif. Burmese is prepared in the form of curls, and tel – squares.

Baklava is a honey treat made from puff pastry, syrup and nuts. Cooking sweets consists of several stages. The dough is rolled out thinly, thinly, through it the lines of the pattern on the pastry table should be visible. For each crust, a filling of grated nuts in honey is added. Then the baklava is baked in the oven and served directly on the table in the form of rolls. Depending on what the filling is laid in the flour dessert, the baklava happens: with hazelnuts – fındıklı; with walnut – cevizli; with chocolate – chicolatals baklava (çikolatalı baklava), cocoa – cacaulu baklava (kakaolu baklava), pistachio – fistikli.

Pişmaniye is a halva of sugar fibers, very reminiscent of the cotton candy familiar to us, although it looks like a ball of dense woolen threads.

Turkish delight  – we all know sweets. Real Turkish delight is made from water, starch, sugar and essence from rose petals. The recipe has been around for over 500 years.


names of turkish sweets


Nougat – like halva, it is a product made of nuts and sugar or honey. Only here are roasted nuts, roasting and kozinaki used. ⠀⠀⠀

Künefe  – for the preparation they use the same dough as for kadaif. The peculiarity of the dessert is that in addition to sorbet add tender cheese to it.



Read also “TOP-35 Istanbul Attractions”


Cafes and restaurants of Istanbul: where to try the national Turkish cuisine.

Good restaurants and cafes

Guney Restaurant (Şahkulu Mahallesi, Şahkapısı Sk. 2 / B). Nice restaurant near the Galata tower. By the standards of Istanbul, of course, the prices are not the lowest, but the restaurant can be said to be in the center. Compared to Europe, you can say for free 🙂


where to eat in istanbul


Two-course lunch (look only, what a huge sea bass I have !!!), home-made lemonade and coffee (snacks and bread for free) – 150 lire (22 euros).

Makbule Meyhane and Meyhane Efendi – Restaurant (s) near the RixosPera Hotel . Good food, friendly waiters. True, coffee and tea are very Turkish, we are not used to such strong ones. A plate of grilled meat – 69 liras (about 10 euros), coffee – 6 liras, tea – 2 liras, halva (see the second photo, this mass is hot and very interesting to taste) – 12 liras (1.80 euros), beer poured for free. The bill for a light dinner is 90 lira (13.5 euros).


where to eat in Istanbul is tasty and inexpensive

where to try turkish cuisine in Istanbul


Münhasir Döner Kebab (Hüseyinağa Mahallesi, İstiklal Cd. No: 62) – kebab on st. Istiklal. On the window at the entrance lies the meat, and beckons, therefore, could not pass by. The upper floor is a garden, but closed. It’s nice to sit there. The only negative (in all restaurants in Turkey) is smoking.

Shot a menu with prices (clickable):

food prices in istanbul


Kebab (very tasty with pistachio) – 50 lira (7.5 euros), doner (or something like kebab, kebab tastier) – 48 lira (7 euros), freshly squeezed orange and pomegranate juices (18-20 lira / 2, 5-3 euros). Total for dinner 150 liras (22 euros).


where to try kebab in Istanbul


Hafiz Mustafa and HakkıZade (different addresses in the city) are perhaps the most famous pastry shops. Some restaurants have an outdoor terrace. There are always a lot of people. On the first floors there is a pastry shop where Turkish sweets can be bought to take away (90-120 lire per 1 kg). In the cafe, prices are 5.50-7 lire (about 1 euro) for one small “thing” and 12-14 lire (1.5-2 euro) for a large one (see photo)


Istanbul where to eat


Taka balik Yeniköy (Yeniköy Mahallesi, Köybaşı Cd. No: 44) – a fish restaurant on the Yeniköy ferry pier near the Bosphorus (far from the center). The menu includes seafood and balyk Ekmek (fish in bread).

Peşrevzade (several cafes in the city) – delicious pastries with cheese and Turkish sweets.

Horhor Street (Horhor Cd.) In Fatih is considered the street with the best kebabs in the city. You have the opportunity to verify this.

Bakery Şirin Fırın (Şahkulu Mahallesi, Büyük Hendek Cd. No: 16 / A) near the Galata Tower. Locals recommend it as a great place for a Turkish breakfast or for coffee with a view of the tower.

F’ROSÈS (Arnavutköy Mahallesi, Bebek Arnavutköy Cd No: 26 / A) – Instagram cafe with a wall of roses. There are only a few tables, therefore, for the sake of an instagram shot, you have to wait. And getting to it is not very easy: there is a cafe in the Arnavutköy area (about 10 km from Taksim Square). Prices are high.


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Publication byF’ROSÈS (@frosesfloralcafe)


Restaurants with panoramic views

Seven Hills Restaurant (Cankurtaran Mh., Tevkifhane Sk. No: 8 Kat: 3). A popular restaurant with a terrace and panoramic views of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The menu – traditional Turkish cuisine, there is meat, fish, seafood. Fish and vegetables and a hot seafood appetizer + beer (bread and olives for free) – 190 liras (28 euros).


panoramic restaurants in istanbulthe best restaurants in istanbulrestaurants with a view of Istanbul


Turkart Terrace (Cankurtaran Mh., Tevkifhane Sk. No: 12) is located next to SevenHills. The terrace offers views of Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Strait. The reviews are good. At prices of about 100 lire (15 euros) for two without alcohol.

N Terrace (Alemdar Mh., Sura Design Hotel, Ticarethane Sk. No: 13 D: kat 5) is another panoramic restaurant in the center. View also on Sofia, the Blue Mosque and the Bosphorus. The average bill is 100-150 lire (15-23 euros) for two.

Hamdi Restaurant Eminönü, Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Rüstem Paşa Mah Tahmis Caddesi, Kalçin Sk. No: 11 – a restaurant with panoramic views of the Bosphorus, Suleymaniye and the Rustem Pasha Mosque. The main advantage in the offseason is the covered terrace. Tables next to the window must be booked. There is a chance to sit in the center of the hall without reservation. Kebabs (50-55 lire / 7-8 euro per serving) are very tasty. Tea, bread, water are included in the service fee (5 liras).


Bosphorus View RestaurantsIstanbul cafe with a beautiful viewwhere to eat in Istanbul for tourists

Bab-ı Âli Kahvesi (Demirtaş Mahallesi, Fetva Ykş. 16 / A) – a panoramic cafe with a terrace and views of the Suleymaniye Mosque, the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. Good feedback.

Dürbün Cafe (Hobyar Mahallesi, Yalı Köşkü Cd. No: 22 D: No: 22) – a cafe with panoramic windows and gorgeous views of the Bosphorus. Large portions and a good hookah.

Roof Mezze 360 ​​(Hoca Paşa Mahallesi, seres old city hotel, Hüdavendigar Cd. No 25) is a good (not cheap) restaurant overlooking Topkapi Palace, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. 200-300 liras (30-45 euros) for two with wine.


Read also “Istanbul areas and hotels: where tourists can stay”


Cheap and tasty, turkish fast food

Taksim Hamburger – fast food in Taksim Square, near McDuck. Google maps are not marked. Normal eatery, delicious shawarma (14 liras / 2 euro) and freshly squeezed juice: pomegranate (13 liras / 2 euro), orange (8 liras / 1.20 euro).


shawarma in istanbul Price


Famous Ice Cream Ali Usta (Caferağa Mahallesi, Moda Cd) – the famous ice cream, in no way inferior to the Italian gelato. Located in the Asian part, in the region of Fashion. Horn with two flavors – 12 liras (about 2 euros)


interesting cafe istanbul


Maraş ice cream kiosks (several in the city) offer traditional Turkish Dondurma ice cream


turkish dondurma


Koska is a Turkish sweets company store. Delicious Turkish delight and baklava. You can buy souvenirs home (both in sealed boxes and fresh by weight). For a large sealed box, the price is on average 30 liras (4.5 euros), small from 8 liras (1.20 euros). Baklava by weight is about 90 liras (14 euros) per 1 kg. There are definitely 2 stores on Istiklal, I saw the same store in the Asian part in the Kadikoy district.

Ortaklar Kebap Lahmacun (Binbirdirek Mh., Peykhane Cd. No: 27) is a simple, budget Turkish restaurant with good recommendations in the Sultanahmet area. The average bill is 40 lias (6 euros) for two.

Ziya Baba Turk Mutfagi (Küçük Ayasofya Mah, Kadırga Limanı Cd. No: 136) is a family-run restaurant serving traditional Turkish dishes. A check of 30-40 liras (6 euros) for two.

Tarihi Çesme (Küçük Ayasofya Mh., Küçük Ayasofya Cami Sk. No: 1) – a budget restaurant in the historical center. “Food is fresh, portions are large, staff are friendly.” There is a hookah. Check: 50-60 liras (9 euros) for two, wine 10 liras, beer 15 liras(1.5-2 euro).

Dürümzade (Hüseyinağa Mahallesi, Kamer Hatun Cd. 26 / A). The menu includes doner kebab, liver and traditional “street” food. The price for the dish is 9-15 liras (1.5-2.5 euros).

Şehzade Cağ Kebap (Hoca Paşa Mahallesi, Hoca Paşa Sk. No: 6 D: 4). The menu has only 7 items: lamb, lentil soup, salad, creamy dessert. Check 35-45 liras (7 euros) for two. Cheap, tasty and traditional.

Here is a list. You have a great opportunity to look into these places and taste the local cuisine, to appreciate the view from the window. I would be glad if you write your impressions of the restaurants that you managed to visit, or add a list of your favorite places in Istanbul! Write the name, address and your impression in the comments, I will supplement the article with your impressions!

Well, do not forget to add the article to your bookmark and share it with your friends on social networks!

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