Turkey’s largest metropolis has a peculiar geographical position! Istanbul is split into two halves by the Bosphorus Strait, and its shores house the urban sprawl on both sides. All this translates to a diverse culinary scene. So, whether you approach the street-food carts selling cheap and tasty bites, or visit any of the restaurants in Istanbul serving skewers of kebab, the city is home to affordable, comforting food for those on the go. It’s a place where you will never run short of opportunities to eat, so come hungry! Istanbul’s cuisine offers a fine amalgamation of settled and nomadic communities. Some would say the food mimics the culinary flavors of Central Asia with that of the Arabs and the Balkans. In fact, its cuisine has inevitably diversified over the many decades,
All due to its rich cultural diversity. And this culinary vastness quite reflects in the menus of the modern restaurants in Istanbul. But enough with the introductions, let’s have a look at what’s on offer in Istanbul and the restaurants you should definitely visit if your budget permits.
Why are rooftop Istanbul restaurants so popular?
The idea of digging into a sumptuous meal while also enjoying the amazing night-time vistas of the Bosphorus is simply too tempting to refuse. Restaurant 24 at the Georges Hotel Galata, 5. Kat, the Seven Hills Restaurant, and the Spago Istanbul are some of the most amazing rooftop Istanbul restaurants. These not only offer magical views of the city but also dish out signature Istanbul delicacies in a contemporary setting. Needless to say that these are perfect venues for those willing to spend a magical romantic evening or perhaps looking for a fine mix of tasty food and a striking view of the city around.
Salt Bae Restaurant – A must-visit for all steak lovers
You may not have heard of Nusr-Et but chances are you have definitely come across the Salt Bae meme. The flagship Istanbul steakhouse is famous its fresh well-made steaks and its warm, inviting ambiance. The Salt Bae restaurant is one of the top restaurants in Istanbul and rightly so. You may either visit to relax in the sun during the daytime or for a more vibrant setting at night. That said, getting a table at the Salt Bae restaurant is no easy feat. If you do get lucky, don’t forget to try the Dallas steak and the Toscana steak. Both are perfectly seasoned and would practically melt in your mouth.
Mikla Restaurant in Istanbul – The hub of magnificent Anatolian cuisine
With a sleek décor and a stunning 360-degree view of the city from its perch, the Mikla Restaurant in Istanbul offers a magnificent gastronomic journey. Its Turkish and Scandinavian fusion dishes offer unique flavors that you would rarely find in traditional Turkish cuisine. Regarded as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, each meal here is a work of art. The rooftop bar and the rooftop pool add to its mellow vibes and stylish setting.
Istanbul kebabs – Quality deserves the long road
Istanbul is a meat lover’s paradise, particularly for men and women in love with kebabs. Served with peppers, rice, or braised tomatoes, Kebabs are one of the famous items. You would also like it rolled in a wrap or in a sandwich. The most famous of these are the şiş kebab – skewered and grilled lamb, and the Adana kebab – skewered minced lamb mixed with spices.
Here’s a lowdown of the places where you’d find the juiciest Istanbul kebabs:
- Hamdi: Operational since 1960, it nestles atop a building next to the Egyptian bazaar. People like the place for its exceptionally tender kebabs, baked until the exterior turns golden and flaky.
- Beyti: Though situated a bit far from the city center, the restaurant is worth the visit! It is one of the oldest kebab restaurants in Istanbul and is a bit more expensive than most other kebab restaurants.
- Zubeyir: Located close to the famous Taksim Square, Zubeyir has an open grill as its main attraction. Start with ordering some appetizers, and then try a sebzeli kebab – skewered meat with spices and vegetables, accompanied with some cold raki – an anise-flavored alcoholic beverage.
Istanbul Doner Kebap – Food lovers’ Delight
If you search for the national dish of Turkey, undoubtedly the result will be Kebap. A variety of Kebaps have enriched the culinary culture of Istanbul, the largest metropolis in Turkey, and Doner Kebap is a signature dish. Originated from the famous Cag Kebab, Doner Kebap got its original shape in the 19th Century. It’s all about meat cooked in a different style to infuse the authentic taste in the dish.
The word Doner comes from ‘donmek’ which means ‘to turn’ and it refers to the special style of cooking. For Doner Kebap, both minced meat and pieces of meat get placed on a large skewer and get the meat cooked while spinning it next to the grill. Wrapped wonderfully in Lavas, when Doner Kebap is served with some juicy tomatoes, fresh Lettuce, fried potatoes, and pickles, it tastes simply out-of-the-world. So, don’t miss out on this traditional Turkish recipe while enjoying your vacation in Istanbul.
Istanbul Street Food – Lip-smacking Delicacies
If you walk along the streets of Istanbul, you can explore the authentic taste that lies in its street foods. An array of mezze to stews slowly and gently cooked in the traditional clay pots, baked fish, and many more are there in the lists. No matter whether you are a food lover or not, the delicious taste and aroma of these foods will make you fall in love with them.
Kofte Ekmek ( meatball sandwich), Kokorec, Balik Ekmek (fish sandwich), Dolma ( stuffed delicacy), Midye Dolma ( stuffed Dolma), Tursu (pickles), Islak Hamburger, Simit ( crispy roll), Misir (sweet corn), Midye Tava ( fried Mussels), Sis Kebap, Pide (Turkish Pizza), Kibbeh ( stuffed fried balls), Turkish Tea & Coffee, Dondurma (Ice-cream) are some of the names of street foods that not only satiate one’s hunger pangs but also linger on the taste buds forever. So, don’t miss out to take part in the culinary trip to make your Istanbul vacation an unforgettable one.
Istanbul Foods – What makes a city an iconic destination
Besides transcendent beauty, glorious culture, and unrivaled history, Istanbul has exceptional cuisine. A treasure trove of heavenly delights, Istanbul can offer you a lot. From mouthwatering street foods to royal breakfast dishes, & luscious Kebaps to delicious desserts, the city offers you some of the world’s best taste. Simit, Kofte, Borek, Baklava, Lahmacun, Pide, Icli Kofte, Kuzu Tandir, Menemen, Durum, Meze, Manti, Artichokw Hearts, Doner, Su Boregi, Mozaik Pasta are the famous foods of Istanbul that make Istanbul call ‘Food lovers’ Paradise’.
Indian Restaurants in Istanbul – To explore the culinary delicacy of India
Istanbul is the home to many Indian restaurants that offer a chance to get into the Indian kitchen and find out delectable dishes. Below are the names of some best Indian restaurants in Istanbul-
- Taj Mahal Hint Restaurant – Established in 1997, this restaurant is the perfect dining destination for those romantic weekends.
- Musafir Indian Restaurant – Situated in Taksim, Istanbul, it offers a wide array of authentic Indian dishes. For the Vegan also, it’s the best destination as their menu consists of Vegan choices. Visit here and experience a vibrant ambiance along with scrumptious foods.
- Tukuaz Gurme Restaurant – Located at Sultanahmet, Istanbul, this restaurant showcases the traditional Middle-Eastern ambiance along with a variety of menus.
- Tandoori Indian Restaurant – It’s the first Indian restaurant in Besiktas, Istanbul. It makes you get introduced to the culinary culture of India.
Apart from these, there’re numerous Indian restaurants in Istanbul. Count on them also while visiting the land of monuments for the taste that you want to relish.
What do we recommend?
Istanbul is a melting point of cultures. Its food reflects its rich royal culture. So, we will recommend you to give international fast-food chains a miss for once and instead experience real Turkish food. It’s the Mecca of food!
Check out a few restaurants in Istanbul, and dig into some of the authentic local delights. We are sure you’ll love every bit of it, and find it one of the most appetizing and rich cuisines around the globe.