Istanbul is the home to perfectly prepared Turkish classics as well as unexpected treats from further afield. It is a mix of high and low cuisine. Some of your best culinary experiences may well be crunching a fresh simit on a ferry or sipping orange juice as you walk the streets.
We suggest that you try the following restaurants during your next visit to Istanbul:
A spin on a traditional restaurant run by husband and wife duo Oral Kurt and Aylin Okutan. Its crisp white tablecloths host lunching locals and an ever-increasing crowd of architects and designers setting up shop in Karakoy. karakoylokantasi.com
Founded in 1950, this upmarket lokantasi (tradesmen’s restaurant) is run by a friendly team. Specialties include Hunkar Begendi (aubergine puree topped with lamb) and kofte. For dessert, try the candied pumpkin or a glazed pear. hunkarlokantasi.com
The low lighting and modern covered wooden ceilings found in this popular spot are the work of local architect Autoban. The menu is down to co-owner Ferit Sarper; try his riff on baked white cheese with truffle. munferit.com.tr
Three floors above the busy streets of Bebek, this airy bolthole hosts the city’s well-heeled set. The ever-popular haunt dishes up fresh Turkish-inspired fare with the Bosphorus as a backdrop. For a light bite try the wild rice salad with artichokes and black-eyed peas, topped with prosciutto. Bebek is a popular breakfast spot at weekends so take a late-morning stroll in the park and retreat here for eggs benedict and coffee on the terrace. mangeriebebek.com
Istanbul’s gastronomic restaurant, Nicole, is a boutique restaurant that appeals to refined palates with seasonal menus consisting of local and fresh ingredients, a focus on castle-style wines and an experienced service team.
Located in Tomtom Suites’ Italian Consulate garden and its terrace with the view of old Istanbul stretching all the way to the Islands, the restaurant takes its name from Agnès Marthe Nicole, the manager of the historic building , where Franciscan nuns heal patients .
Open: Tuesday to Saturday, Service start 18:30 – Final order 21:30. nicole.com.tr
More to See in Istanbul