Some people have a strange obsession with hamburgers. They will stop at nothing to find the best burger wherever they are in the world, and it’s not just for the taste. There is something about holding a juicy beef patty between two slices of bread that makes everything better. The air smells different when you walk by a place where someone is grilling burgers on the street, and your mouth waters while you watch them flip them over carefully to make sure they are cooked evenly on both sides. You know there’s no turning back once you start eating one of these bad boys!
So, you’re in a country where it’s famous for its cuisine but still craving that burger and searching for the best one in Istanbul. It shouldn’t feel bad!
After demolishing your way through the diverse range of ethnic Turkish food, you might just want to give your taste buds a sense of home. That’s normal. Or perhaps you have that one person who refuses to eat anything but the familiar. That’s cool too. However, we wouldn’t recommend you settle down anyway. Nope. We got a list to help you find the best burger in Istanbul.
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A taste of home – international burger chains in Istanbul
Istanbul may let you down if you are looking for international boutique burger chains.
You won’t have any problems bumping into a Mcdonald’s or Burger King. They’re scattered around evenly. The interior décor, as well as the menu, haven’t been localized. Sometimes, in certain countries, the menus can change to suit the tastes of the locals. But not here.
There are also a couple of Carls Jr. in Istanbul, located in Beşiktaş and Kadıköy.
New York’s Shake Shack is a bit harder to find. There are two on the Anatolian side (Üsküdar and Ataşehir, located inside shopping malls) and on the European side, there’s one in Sarıyer in İstinye Park shopping mall.
Unfortunately, these chains couldn’t make it to our “best burgers in Istanbul” list.
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A local delicacy – The Wet Burger
For those that want a little extra adventure, 2010’s European Capital of Culture won’t let you down. The Islak Burger (pronounced: ee-sir-lack) is drenched in seasoned tomato sauce. Typically, you’ll find a hint of garlic in the sauce. Then, it’s steamed.
Although the burger isn’t filled with the millions of ingredients that you would find in a gourmet burger, its minimalistic style combined with the juiciness of the wet burger gives it a different type of succulent taste. The best part? Considered to be a student food, it’s much cheaper than the gourmet styles.
If you’re in Istanbul, find out what everyone’s raving about. You may even find that this will become the most OK burger you’ve ever tasted. Kızılkayalar Hamburger at Taksim square serves one of the best wet burgers in Istanbul.
Best burger in Istanbul – local places
If you’re searching for the type of burger you’ll never forget, you may want to join the Istanbulites and visit some Turkish burger restaurants:
1. Virginia Angus, Fatih
A favorite amongst locals, you may find it difficult to get a place in this busy, American-style diner. The quaint, unassuming style may create the wrong impression but the burgers at Virginia Angus is one of Istanbul’s best. While it boasts of gourmet burgers from around America, they do have a selection of steaks too.
If you’re struggling to pick from the menu, they have the “Fantastik Four” option with four different types of mini burgers. They do have a vegetarian option if you go with a friend.
If you feel like Clint Eastwood, they tend to be less busy at dinner times and on Sundays.
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Location of Virginia Angus:
2. Route Burger House, Karaköy
The rich menu is filled with a hundred different varieties from the Caribbean Queen to Indian Burger to Mexican Burger. You can alter the burger bun type and customize it with additional ingredients. And when we say customized, we mean it. Throw a fried egg or try four different types of cheese or even walnuts. Yep. Walnuts.
There’s only one veggie burger on the menu, but it will satisfy the vegetarians. There’s no way you’re walking away from here without being stuffed. If the best burger of Istanbul isn’t here, you’ll find the second-best.
That’s not all. Tucked away at the entrance of a small passageway, both the interior design as well as the passageway will spark your imagination. You’ll feel like a rebel eating here. Open until midnight; we’d recommend getting there early.
Related content: The 10 Best Karaköy Restaurants (2021 updated)
Location of Route Burger House:
3. Nusr-et Burger, Beşiktaş
Their slogan: “We don’t make meat. We make art.”
It’s absolutely true. Although it’s a shame that Nusr-et doesn’t brag about their remarkable salad collection, they do have a selection of steak, sushi, prawns, and a variety of lamb and veal dishes. Moreover, if you like to drink with your meat, alcohol is served here.
An upmarket restaurant with some of the best burgers in Istanbul, we’d recommend grabbing lunch as it gets super busy in the evenings.
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Location of Nusr-et Burger:
4. Zula, Harbiye
If you’ve found yourself a local date or you’ve traveled as a couple, this is the perfect place for date night. With the elegant décor combined with a minimalistic menu located in the upper-class section of Istanbul, Zula is a place to impress. Do not worry, the burger will be still one of the best in Istanbul.
Zula’s tasty burgers are topped with bacon if you’re a bacon lover. If you’ve never tried a gourmet hot dog, or you want to see how the Turks do a taco, then make a reservation now.
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Location of Zula:
5. Muhit, Karaköy
Muhit offers the most extensive menu on this list; it’s not just burgers but toasts, salads, pasta, to breakfasts. Even the coffee menu is expansive. You can try red-eye here or even a menengiç coffee (made from something that’s genetically close to the pistachio).
It is located in a busy alley with a million other eateries; it stands out for its modern vibe, the vast menu, delicious burgers, and even the cute little cats that wait to roam the streets. It has an awesome-looking bar if you are tired of discovering Istanbul and want to grab a drink.
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Location of Muhit:
Taste of Two Continents Tour
-Secret local restaurants & one-of-a-kind boutique markets
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-Taste the world famous Turkish ice-cream & baklava
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6. House of B, İstinye
Visiting here is almost like stepping into a parallel universe. The American vibe here permeates through every pore. Consequently, we can’t fault you for thinking you’re back in ’50s America. It has a sense of ‘family’ woven through the walls. Although there aren’t any vegetarian options, what’s available is the type of taste that’ll make you nostalgic for an era you may not have personally experienced.
The most popular burger at House of B is the Original Hot Chicken Burger. Fries are also recommended here.
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Location of House of B:
7. The Grungy, Teşvikiye
If freshly baked buns, onions that have been caramelized for 4 hours, high-quality meat, and a touch of an elite sauce that’s a little sweet and sour sounds good to you, this is the place.
Pay no attention to the name; the owner’s passion for burgers comes through in this impressive artisanal joint. They do serve pork/bacon, which is prepared separately from the other ingredients.
It’s not just the burgers; even the fries are something special. The Brits who crave their salt and vinegar and the Americans who miss the Cajun seasoning can pop by. If you’re a burger connoisseur, make sure you visit The Grungy and meet the owner and burger lover Alex Dekesoglu. He will sure to serve one of the best burger in Istanbul.
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Location of The Grungy:
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8. Biber Burger, Beşiktaş
Although there’s an attractive choice of burgers, the cheesesteaks are comparable to none. The inviting vibe tends to welcome a crowd of youthful and middle-aged faces. If you feel like a salmon burger or a meal-deal, we won’t stop you, but the Monster Burger is ideal if you’re looking for a challenge.
The cheese fries are a dish on their own. If you want that bacon experience without eating pork, they have a ‘bacon’ option made from beef. The service is great and the menu offers a couple of desserts.
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Location of Biber Burger:
Related things to do
9. Akali, Akaretler
Akali is the home of the customizable burger. Pick the size of the patty, pick the sauces, pick the ingredients, and voila: you now have a tailor-made dish. There’s a western touch as you can choose extras like pineapple, aubergine remoulade, bacon, hazelnut creole, and various new and exciting fillings.
If you’re an HP sauce addict or feel like a beer with the perfect burger, this is your spot.
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Location of Akali:
10. Zapata Burger, Kadıköy
The young, free-spirited foodies gather round and listen: you have burgers with bacon, pineapples, tartar sauce, spicy jalapenos, aubergines – you name it.
The vibe is a lot more casual and low-key than some other burger joints in Istanbul, but each dish has a hint of artisanal creativity. While they do have the traditional condiments, the sauces are handmade. Many reviewers described their food here as the best burger they’ve ever had in Istanbul. The service at Zapata is also great.
If you’re hanging out with a younger crowd and you need something to fill your belly, stop by. Though if you are going to visit, get there early as there tends to be a crowd of people trying to get in!
Related content: 10 Best Kadıköy Restaurants: A Complete Guide w/ Maps
Location of Zapata Burger:
11. Mr. Hamza PLUS, Nişantaşı
Hamza is a typical Turkish name, but for this burger restaurant, it means more than a guy’s name; HAM from hamburger and ZA from pizza; these guys are making burgers with pizza crust rather than a bun and call it HAMZA!
They have a great selection of fusion HAMZA’s (burgers), including vegan ones. Vegan food options are a rarity in Istanbul. But not here. Mr. Hamza PLUS possesses a menu that could make any restaurant owner brag. You may be paralyzed by the innumerable choices on the menu or you might be adventurous enough to keep coming back. After all, the restaurant will invite you in with its low lights, mouth-watering fusion food, and warm atmosphere.
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Location of Mr. Hamza PLUS:
12. Noa Burger Food, Dikilitaş
From tasty burgers to wraps to veggie bowls to its cute souffle, Noa is one of those hidden treasures tucked away in a quiet neighborhood. With its artsy design, it’s a family-friendly restaurant. If you want happy kids and happy adults, try the rib burger. It exists!
Zula serves one of the best burger in Istanbul.
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Location of Noa Burger Food:
Istanbul is a city that inspires creativity and adventure. There’s something for everyone in this bustling metropolis, from tasty burgers to international cuisine to the lip-smacking traditional Turkish food.
There are plenty of burger joints to choose from in this city. We’ve outlined our top picks in the article, and we hope you find it helpful in your quest to find the perfect spot for your next burger in Istanbul! These restaurants have a variety of burgers that will satisfy any craving you may have for this quintessential international dish.
If you’re interested in tasting traditional Turkish food or learning more about Turkish culture with an expert guide, join us on one of our food tours around Istanbul. Your tastebuds will thank you!
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