Restaurants in Istanbul, Turkey

Last Updated on September 7, 2022

Istanbul is a wonderful place for restaurant dining, no matter what your budget.

From simple workers' eateries and sidewalk cafés to posh culinary palaces with uniformed waiters, Turkish cuisine is savory, flavorful, not over-spiced, and the value-for-money good. (Drinks prices are inflated, however.)

If you have a food allergy, click here.

Old Istanbul Restaurants

Restaurants in Sultanahmet cater mostly to foreign visitors with more European-style preparations—and prices. Although the food can be good and the prices moderate, there is less authentic Turkish food here than elsewhere. I often walk for 10 minutes to SirkeciHocapaşa or Eminönü.

Balikci Sabahattin Fish Restaurant

Located in historical and tourist-filled Istanbul’s Sultanahmet where great food is hard to come by, Balikci Sabahattin Fish Restaurant has been a local favorite for decades. For 55 years the founder Sabahattin Korkmaz has put an emphasis on excellent fresh fish with an atmosphere that is just as magical. 100% of the fish is bought fresh from local fisherman, many of whom are spearfishing just nearby on the waters edge.

Sultanahmet Fish House 

Sultanahmet Fish House is home to some of the most delicious Turkish cuisine in Istanbul and is the only fish house in Istanbul. The excellent location and atmosphere simply add to the experience. The staff is friendly and hardworking and serves tourists from around the world every day.

Lale Restaurant & Pudding Shop

The Pudding Shop is one of the most historic tourist stops in Eurasia. The restaurant has remained a popular stop for tourists who are looking to eat traditional Turkish cuisine for a good price en route to other destinations. The Pudding Shop is known for its travel bulletin full of notes and delicious pudding.


Sirkeci Restaurants

Near Sirkeci railroad station, the ferry docks, Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar and Galata Bridge, some of the best restaurants are—surprisingly—in hotels. More...

Hocapaşa Restaurants

This neighborhood just south of Sirkeci station near the Neorion Hotel has a dozen small eateries patronized mostly by locals, with good food, friendly service and low to moderate prices. More...

Eminönü Restaurants

One quite fine, popular restaurant with a view here, and plenty of inexpensive eateries, including a prime place for the famous Istanbul fish sandwichMore...

Kumkapı Restaurants

This district south of the Grand Bazaar near the Sea of Marmara shore has been a seafood mecca since Byzantine times. You can enjoy an excellent fish dinner here if you follow these tipsMore...

Want a cheap fish dinner? Here it is!

Beyazıt Restaurants

The district around the Grand Bazaar and Süleymaniye Mosque has lots of interesting places to eat, from refined Ottoman court cuisine to simple but delicious plates of beans. More...

Fatih Restaurants

Want an Ottoman-style meal where everyone sits around a huge tray laden with succulent kebap, salads, and vegetables and scoops up morsels with flatbread? Then you want to head for Fatih, among the most traditional areas of IstanbulMore...

Beyoğlu Restaurants

The 19th- and 20th-century city north of the Golden Horn is the more upscale part of the city, but has the better bargains in food. The little side-streets off İstiklal Caddesi are packed with basic eateries, smooth restaurants, trendy bistros, artsy cafés, jolly meyhanes (tavernas), and pastry shops. This is where Istanbul's young, hip, well-heeled and not-so-well-heeled come to promenade, sip, chat and dine. More...

Kadıköy Restaurants

Kadıköy, on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus south of Üsküdar, has a vibrant restaurant scene in its colorful market area only a few minutes' walk from the Kadıköy ferry dock. More...

The Bosphorus

The European and Asian shores of Istanbul's marvelous maritime highway are dotted with excellent sea-view restaurants, many of which specialize in seafood. Although the price of fish has escalated, and many diners now opt for kebap instead, everyone enjoys the great variety of meze (hors d'oeuvres)winebeerrakı, and camaraderie. More...

BelTur Restaurants

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality operates numerous restaurants in prime locations around the city, many of the historic locations first rescued from deterioration by Mr. Çelik Gülersoy and his team at the Turkish Touring and Automobile Association. Known as BelTur restaurants, they include the imperial pavilions in Yıldız Parkı and Emirgan Forest, the hilltop Khedive's Villa (Hıdiv Kasrı) overlooking the Bosphorus, the Gülhane Parkı restaurant, and one on the Golden Horn.

Moderately-priced, with good service and attractive surroundings, they are popular with local Muslim families because of the atmosphere and because no alcoholic beverages are served.

Restaurant Tips

Turkish dining has traditions, practices, and etiquette that differ in some ways from European dining. Read these tips to enjoy your dinner. More...

—by Tom Brosnahan

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