As one of the most iconic waterways in the world, it is no surprise that Istanbul has a number of great restaurants along the Bosphorus. The variety of foods you can try at these establishments will have your mouth watering before you’ve even left home! This blog post will highlight some of our favorite Bosphorus restaurants in Istanbul, so be sure to read on!
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There are many restaurants in Istanbul with a Bosphorus view but they are not always near the water. However, the restaurants on this list do not only have an amazing view of the Bosphorus, but they are also right by the water where you can hear the sounds of the waves.
Every restaurant on the Bosphorus offers an extensive menu and serves modern Turkish cuisine as well as international cuisine all at once! With flavors from both sides of this incredible country converging in one place, you’re sure to find something new or delightfully familiar waiting around each corner—no matter what kind of tastes you have. Turkish and international cuisine, sushi bar, contemporary Mediterranean cuisine, modern Turkish meze fused with traditional Turkish cuisine as well as Ottoman cuisine is what you can expect to find in the Bosphorus restaurants of Istanbul.
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A family memory or a romantic dinner?
These restaurants are known for their elegant settings, stunning views, extensive wine list, excellent service, and of course expensive prices. As a result, making them fantastic places to impress your travel partner with a romantic dinner or creating a cherished memory for your Istanbul visit with family.
Which continent will your tastebuds take you to, Asia or Europe?
I will list the best Bosphorus restaurants in Istanbul in 2 categories, with their locations on either side of Bosphorus.
The first category is European-side and the second one is Asian-side. This categorization is purely about the transportation and accessibility of restaurants. The type of food served in these restaurants has nothing to do with it being on one side or another, but instead depends only upon how far away you are willing to travel for a delicious meal!
There is also a surprise at the end of this blog post, a restaurant that belongs to neither Europe nor Asia.
Do you need to make a reservation for these restaurants?
Yes, you will need a reservation for the restaurants on this list. Some of these restaurants will be fully booked weeks or even months in advance. If you love planning your travels, it can be even a better idea to make a reservation before you arrive in Istanbul.
If you are already in Istanbul and it seems like the restaurants are fully booked online, I recommend you give them a call and see if they had a last-minute cancelation.
I do not think that it would be a good idea just to walk into these restaurants without a reservation.
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What about the dress code?
The general dress code in Istanbul is smart casual. Ties are absolutely not necessary and most locals do not wear ties, so a nice jacket with a t-shirt or a button-down shirt would do the trick.
For women, a simple dress or skirt with a nice top is perfect. Even some people wear jeans- neat and tidy!
This doesn’t mean that these venues cant handle you if you will put your most stunning dress on. The vast array of dress codes at these venues will not make you feel like your outfit is out-of-place. From jeans to designer dresses, it’s all good!
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The list of the best Bosphorus restaurants in Istanbul
1. Tuğra Restaurant at Çırağan Palace Kempinski
Located on the first floor of an Ottoman palace that was built in 1871 and sits atop one of Istanbul’s most scenic views, this award-winning restaurant specializes in dishes inspired by Ottoman cuisine.
The restaurant takes its name from a seal used by the Ottomans which is also known as tuğra. This ring signified leadership and was only worn during formal occasions such as state visits or coronations. Dishes are served on plates designed after this symbol to convey that sense of formality for all guests visiting at any time – it’s not just reserved for special events like when sultans would wear their rings!
The Ottoman-era cuisine is a period of history that has been long forgotten by many. In the modern-day, with its rapid advancements in foods and cuisine from all around the world, it can be hard to remember what food tastes like before these new flavors came about. However, at Tuğra Restaurant they have done their best to bring back those old-fashioned dishes which are no longer well known or available on menus today such as “akıtma sakız böreği” or “mehir” soup.
These Ottoman recipes are cooked with organic products, palace-style copper pots and pans, earthenware pots, and casseroles to preserve their authenticity from the old times.
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Online reservations: https://www.kempinski.com/en/istanbul/ciragan-palace/dining/tugra/
Location of Tuğra Restaurant:
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2. Chilai Restaurant
Chilai restaurant is not your regular spot. With an eclectic menu, a modern aesthetic design, and live jazz music; it’s the perfect place to spend quality time with friends over drinks by day and dinner in an atmospheric evening atmosphere at night while enjoying spectacular views of one side of Istanbul across the Bosphorus strait on its other side.
Chilai’s all-encompassing venue knows no bounds! Amidst great food alongside high-end wines, this restaurant offers more than just delicious dishes – there are also fantastic cocktails made exclusively for Chilai that will get you buzzing until late hours of the night as well
You might find it difficult to choose the perfect dish from a Chilai’s fine dining menu because while there are not many dishes on the list, each one reads absolutely mouth-watering.
The food at this restaurant is outstanding and they have 8-10 main courses depending on the season. One dish that stands out to me in particular, which I would highly recommend for anyone who visits the establishment is “Chilai Kebab”. It’s served with roasted eggplant and Adana kebab topped off with eye-fillet, potatoes, and yogurt sauce. The presentation on it alone makes you wonder what flavor awaits inside!
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Online reservations: https://www.chilai.com.tr/rezervasyon/
Location of Chilai:
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Taste of Two Continents Tour
-Secret local restaurants & one-of-a-kind boutique markets
-Visit locals favourite Kadikoy market
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-It is not just food, it's Turkish culture with an expert's insider view
3. Banyan Restaurant
Banyan is definitely one of the best Bosphorus restaurants in Istanbul and it’s menu is a unique blend of Thai and Asian spices, perfect for those looking to dine by the Bosphorus. The open-air terrace provides an unforgettable view on two sides: one overlooking the water, another through a magnificent fireplace built specifically for wintertime revelry.
The food is excellent, and the décor will make you feel like royalty. The waitstaff is attentive without being overbearing, and each dish they bring out is a work of art in its own right. For dinner, I would recommend one of my personal favorites from the menu: 8 spice and Szechuan orange beef served with rice cake.
Don’t be afraid to ask your server about other dishes that may suit your taste buds better because there were many delicious options on offer!
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Online reservations: http://banyanrestaurant.com/reservation/?lang=en
Location of Banyan:
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4. Yeniköy Kaşıbeyaz Bosphorus Restaurant
Kasibeyaz has 7 branches in Istanbul all serving good food, but we will focus on the Kasibeyaz Bosphorus branch which offers one of the most stunning views of both sides of this historic waterway on its huge terrace.
The Bosphorus branch of Kaşıbeyaz, located in Yeniköy on the European side of Istanbul, offers a magnificent view of the Bosphorus bridge for those looking to enjoy delicious traditional Turkish cuisine with their meal. The menu is heavy on traditional Turkish food like traditional kebabs, meze, and on some selected days traditional homemade Turkish food. A meat lovers menu and the dishes are all worth trying out at least once!
Our favorite thing about this location would have to be its mouthwatering katmer dessert that we recommend you do not miss while dining here.
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Online reservations: http://www.kasibeyaz.com.tr/kasibeyaz-bosphorus
Location of Kaşıbeyaz Bosphorus:
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5. IST TOO at Shangri-La Istanbul
IST TOO is a mecca for international cuisine in Istanbul serving international pasta dishes, sandwiches, pizzas, salads, appetizers, and of course main meals. Their diverse menu which includes dishes from around the globe also offers traditional Turkish kebabs and pides. If this is not enough, you will find middle east and Asian flavors on their menu in addition to an amazing vegetarian & vegan selection.
Head chef Ercan Yamantürk and his team deserve a Michelin star with their sublime food, unique flavors, exemplary service, high-quality ingredients, and a professional kitchen that is dedicated to making the customer experience as memorable as possible.
IST TOO also has an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy your meal while overlooking Istanbul’s skyline with views of both the European and Asian shores of the Bosphorus.
Be sure to check out their express lunch menu, a special curation created for a relaxing lunch with family and friends.
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Location of IST TOO:
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6. Lacivert Restaurant
When you’re in Istanbul, be sure to visit Lacivert which is sure to be one of the best restaurants in Istanbul. Located on the Asian side of the Bosphorus and boasting one of the most amazing views over the strait, this fine dining establishment is a must-see for anyone who’s up for an evening out with their family and friends.
Many people find themselves staying on the European side of Istanbul’s famous waterway so that they can be within the walking distance of the most famous Istanbul sights such as Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul old city, Golden Horn, Grand Bazaar, Galata Tower, and Topkapi Palace. However, some of the best Istanbul restaurants will remain tantalizingly inaccessible due to their location; now this is not the case for Lacivert restaurant. They offer a free and private boat 4-minute long boat charter from the European side exclusively for Lacivert guests.
Lacivert offers some of the freshest seafood dishes wrapped up with a modern touch. The grilled sea bass and sea bream here are our favorites as the flavor of these two types of seafood really shines through. Inspired by Turkish cuisine, their fish is sourced from local fishermen and prepared to perfection on your plate thanks to Chef Hüseyin Ceylan’s years of experience as an executive chef.
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Online reservations: https://www.lacivertrestaurant.com/en.html#/home
Location of Lacivert:
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7. A‘jia Restaurant
A’jia restaurant with its Mediterranean tastes prepared by masterful hands is an excellent choice for those interested in a different ambiance.
A’jia has an extensive menu, which includes starters, main courses, and desserts that are traditional Mediterranean dishes like their swordfish casserole, bistecca alla fiorentina, or shrimp risotto. The food here may not be Turkish but it’s hard to find better tasting Mediterranean cuisine in Istanbul than this!
A’jia restaurant is also the perfect place for brunch on Sundays, especially if you want to sit on a luxurious terrace overlooking Bosphorus.
Delicious food, modern decor, spectacular views, and imported varieties of wine make this restaurant a great choice for everyone.
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Online reservations: https://www.ajiahotel.com/restaurant
Location of A‘jia:
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8. Villa Bosphorus Restaurant
One of the best panoramic view of the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul is from Villa Bosphorus restaurant, and its taste is equally legendary.
Villa Bosphorus is one of the best restaurant on the Anatolian side, and it’s also a great place to watch Istanbul from. The restaurant has incredible seafood dishes-I have no doubt you’ll want to go back for more!
Villa Bosphorus hosts special occasions such as marriage proposals and birthdays with unparalleled consistency every year–you will not regret your decision if you choose this beautiful waterfront venue.
From daily fresh fish and seafood of all kinds, to seasonal appetizers and world cuisine, Villa Bopshorus is worth the visit.
Online reservations: https://www.villabosphorus.com.tr/
Location of Villa Bosphorus:
The middle of Bosphorus
9. Kiz Kulesi Restaurant (Maidens Tower)
The tower’s original building dates back to 12th-century medieval times. It was originally commissioned by Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus as a wooden watchtower, but it has since served many purposes besides just that – from prison to state-of-the-art villain lair in the ’90s James Bond movie “The World Is Not Enough.”
Now, the tower houses a restaurant with spectacular views of both continents, Istanbul old city and Hagia Sophia.
The restaurant serves international cuisine and has a romantic atmosphere. You’ll be surrounded by the sounds of music playing in the background as well!
Kiz kulesi restaurant does not offer an ala carte menu, but there are two different tasting menu priced accordingly and all drinks must be paid separately.
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Location of Kiz Kulesi:
In this blog post, we’ve provided a list of the best Bosphorus restaurants in Istanbul for you to enjoy. Whether it be Turkish cuisine or international, seafood or steak that you’re craving, there’s something on this list for everyone!
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And if you’re looking to take your culinary experience one step further by exploring the city with someone who knows their way around – join us on one of our food tours and let us show you everything from ancient Turkish cuisine to modern fusion dishes. We hope these tips help as much as they have helped ourselves when searching out new places to try!
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