Istanbul is not an early-rising city, but by 07:00 am several cafés and restaurants are open for breakfast on İstiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu, particularly between Galatasaray Square and Tünel Square:
Dilek Restaurant-Café, İstiklal 179, an appealing modern, high-ceilinged place just south of Galatasaray Square, Eski Çiçekçi Sokak and the big Catholic church of St Anthony of Padua, has a breakfast buffet: all you can eat from a spread of eggs, sausages, fruit, rolls, croissants, pastries, cold meat, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, salad, plus tea or coffee, for TL14. Free Wifi!
On the other side of İstiklal from Dilek are a Starbucksand a Gloria Jean's Coffees.
Sultanahmet Köftecisi, İstiklal 166-C in the Suriye Pasajı building at the corner of Gönül Sokak, also has an open buffet breakfast from 08:00 to 11:00 am on weekdays, 08:00 am to 14:00 (2 pm) on Saturday and Sunday, for only TL10.
For those delicious Turkish puddings (my favorite is fırın sütlaç, a baked milk-and-rice pudding), go to Bolulu Hasan Usta Süt Tatlıları ("Master Hasan from Bolu's Dairy Desserts") just south of Galatasaray Square at İstiklal 114, to the right of the Hazzopulo Pasajı entrance.
Barcelona Restaurant Café & Patisserie has all its name implies at İstiklal 126-A—especially the pastries.
For Turkish simit (sesame seed rolls), Simit Sarayı(Simit Palace) at İstiklal 104, facing Galatasaray Square, has more variety than anywhere else. There's another Simit Saray in Tünel Square.
I often crave fresh Turkish börek (flaky pastry) for breakfast or a snack. The place to find it is Börek Center, İstiklal 167-C. Point to what you'd like, then climb the stairs to the larger, quieter dining room on the upper floor.
Finally, a hideaway with a secluded open-air terrace and even trees: Mihrimah Sultan Bahçeli Café is just off İstiklal Caddesi on Kumbaracı Yokuşu. Walk down the hill on Kumbaracı and look for a sign and doorway on the right side. Climb the stairs to discover a terrace overlooking the massive Russian Consulate, service hot and cold drinks, breakfast, light meals and, in the evening, full dinners.
—by Tom Brosnahan