The best restaurants in Istanbul

Istanbul is not only fragrant kebab, hot roasted chestnuts and tart pomegranate juice. In the city where Europe and Asia meet, you can taste dishes from many cuisines of the world. The hallmark of Istanbul restaurants is the view of the Bosphorus. Contemplating a magnificent panorama while enjoying a delicious dinner in a cozy atmosphere in a city with a long history is a real pleasure.

We have collected a variety of establishments in our list of the TOP 10 restaurants in Istanbul: with and without a view of the Bosphorus, with European and Turkish cuisine, on the Asian and European side of the city, where you will meet tourists and those that only locals know about.

Things to keep in mind when choosing a restaurant in Istanbul

Remember that restaurants overlooking the Bosphorus or located near the sea will always be more expensive than establishments without such a panorama. This does not mean that a good restaurant in the city will be much cheaper, but for such a bonus as a view of the Bosphorus, you will always have to pay a little more.
We always ask for a menu (in some restaurants of traditional cuisine they may not bring a menu until you ask), we get acquainted with the prices so that there are no surprises when paying the bill. We do not hesitate to clarify the cost of dishes if you do not understand what volume it is and whether there is a side dish for it
In most restaurants, tea and coffee is offered free of charge (marked ikram on the bill). Sometimes, you may also be offered some kind of dessert (sweets or fruits), indicating that this is a compliment from the restaurant
Smoking is prohibited indoors in Istanbul. The exception is partially closed terraces (in winter they can look like a glassed-in room with infrared heaters). For smoking where it is prohibited, you can be fined (the fine is 109 lire)
In fish restaurants where you choose seafood yourself, pay attention to the weight and price of what you have chosen – it should be weighed in front of you
Most often, tips in Turkish establishments are not included in the bill, otherwise it will be indicated on the check with the line servis hizmeti
In order to return back to the hotel, you can ask the administrator or the main waiter to call you a taxi (the cost will be the same as if you caught a taxi on the street, i.e. according to the meter + landing cost)
If you have an important event planned, it is better to book a table in advance. This can be done on the websites of most institutions. Oddly enough, even on weekdays, cafes and restaurants in Istanbul can have a sufficient number of visitors.
To book a table, use all available means – if you cannot book directly by phone, fill out the online booking form on the restaurant’s website or write on the Instagram page in direct.
If you have already tried a Turkish dish while relaxing in a resort, you may be in for a surprise when ordering a similar meal in Istanbul. This is due to the fact that many dishes that are tried in the buffet concept are adapted for tourists from different countries. In Istanbul, the same dish may differ in ingredients and taste (often for the better)

Features of Turkish Restaurants

Turkish sweets are an integral part of the cuisine of almost every restaurant in Istanbul

Istanbul is distinguished by a wide variety of establishments for every taste and budget – from street eateries to luxury restaurants. Even classic fish restaurants, of which there are a great many, can differ in the way seafood is prepared, snacks, serving dishes and their cost.

Read more about what kind of food and where you can eat inexpensively in Istanbul (with prices) in our article, and about street delicacies – here.

Today, Istanbul is a huge modern metropolis that combines the flavor of the East and European trends. This was reflected in the variety of restaurants in the city, so today, here you can try Turkish, Italian, Lebanese, European, Japanese, Chinese, Mediterranean, Ottoman and many others.

Of course, it is worth trying Turkish cuisine, as well as at least one or two dishes that have come down to us from the time of the Ottomans. A similar menu, with Ottoman dishes, can be found in restaurants: Deraliye (a little further from the Sultanahmet stop), Matbah Restaurant (near Hagia Sophia), Hacı Abdullah Lokantası (Beyoglu, Istiklal), Kanaat Lokantası (Uskyudar, Asian part) Pandeli ( in the building of the Egyptian Bazaar).

One of the richest choice of cafes and restaurants is Istiklal Street. What can you taste without going far from the avenue?

For example, Lebanese cuisine in the Falafel Tyros cafe, and not reaching the Galatasaray Lyceum, here, Japanese and Chinese cuisine in Çin Büfe.

For Italian cuisine and juicy pizza with a crispy crust, you should go to Pizzeria Pera, which is located in an alley next to Istiklal, the landmark is the Church of Mary Draperis (Santa Maria Draperis Kilisesi).

We should not forget about Turkish sweets – opposite the wax museum Madame Tussauds – one of the oldest Turkish pastry shops Hafız mustafa. Here baklava with pistachios and walnuts, bulbul yuvasy, kadaif, kunefe, shekerpare, tatlysy tavern. You will find out what all this is by looking into one of the pastry shops of Hafiz Mustafa.

Greek-inspired dishes and seafood flavored with great views can be sampled at Eleos Restaurant. To find a restaurant, walk along Istiklal towards the Church of Mary Draperis (before reaching the Şişhane metro station).