The 35 Absolute Best Restaurants in Istanbul Right Now

Mikla is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul
Mikla. Photo credit: Mikla Restaurant

Istanbul is one of the most unique and vibrant cities in the world, with its chaotic streets, incredible food, and fascinating culture. This vibrant metropolis is home to some of the best restaurants in the world and if you’re looking for the best food and restaurants in Istanbul, look no further – we’ve got you covered!

From fine-dine and trendy joints with an awesome foodie vibe that will leave your taste buds satisfied, all the way down to classic Turkish dishes prepared by experienced local chefs who have earned their reputation over time – there is a great restaurant for everyone in Istanbul.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best restaurants in the city and explore what makes them so special. So whether you’re visiting Istanbul or just looking for some inspiration for your next meal, read on for our guide to the 35 best restaurants in Istanbul!

Related content: The 14 Best Restaurants in Turkey Right Now (2022 Updated)

The list of 35 best restaurants in Istanbul:

1. Yeni Lokanta

On one of the side streets of Istiklal Street and surrounded by attractions, Yeni Lokanta is an Avant-Garde approach to dining. They have a luscious tasting menu that must be tried at least once.

The meze section of the menu is where you’ll find some awe-inspiring dishes. The green salad is phenomenal if you’re looking for a healthy dish. The walnuts and apples add a crunch, and the broccoli is cooked flawlessly. 

The Mersin prawns dish with almond sauce smoked celeriac, and zaatar (wild thyme) is captivating. It sets up the stage for the dazzling buffalo milk ice cream – made fresh in the restaurant. The tasting menu has more surprises like the manti – Turkish beef dumplings served with creamy yogurt.

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2. A’jia Restaurant

A’jia is a chateau-style restaurant that looks like it could be the next James Bond film set. Its Mediterranean tastes prepared by masterful hands are an excellent choice for those interested in a different ambiance.

If you love Mediterranian flavors, then A’jia is your new favorite restaurant in Istanbul. With an extensive menu that includes starters like swordfish casserole or bistecca alla fiorentina as well main courses such as risotto with shrimp and some dessert for good measure – they have something to satisfy every appetite! If you can’t decide, the ravioli is divine. Stuffed with dried meat and mushrooms, it pairs brilliantly with the Sevilen Centum Syrah.

On the Asian side of Istanbul, this hotel-based restaurant also offers one of the best breakfasts in Istanbul by the Bosphorus – which is a transcendent experience. All you have to do is sip your tea or coffee while listening to the dulcet sounds of the seagulls. A’jia has plenty of options for breakfast. If you like everything, the Turkish breakfast or the American breakfast may be ideal for you. Alternatively, homemade granola, French toast, omelet, and Turkish omelet (menemen) are offered.

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3. Neolokal

Neolokal is a neologism of the words ‘neo’ (new) and ‘local,’ so it’s no surprise that the famous chef Maksut Aşkar is lovingly renovating his mother’s traditional flavors.

Each dish is an artistic masterpiece, and it’s hard not to fall in love. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, the braised root vegetables will make you smile. Moreover, with six different fruits and vegetables, you’ll find it so much easier to get your 5-a-day. 

Mom’s Meatballs is an absolute delight and is served with bean salad, lavash (naan), and salad. However, what will blow you away is the frigo—the tea-smoked frozen ganache bar with popcorn ice cream and raspberry powder. You won’t find another dessert like it. If you struggle to choose, they do have tasting menus. 

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4. Chalet

A few minutes away from one of the most impressive palaces in Istanbul (the Dolmabahçe Palace) is a Swiss Chalet-style restaurant located in Swissotel The Bosphorus serving Swiss-inspired delicacies you may have never known existed – from rösti potatoes and späetzle to delectable chocolate desserts.

What would a Swiss restaurant be without cheese? There are two cheese fondues and three options for a raclette plate. You can have a light raspberry Swiss roll for dessert or a heavenly chocolate fondue. Either way, Chalet is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul and the ideal restaurant for a unique evening to remember. 

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5. Summit Bar & Terrace

There is nothing quite like winding down with stunning views of the Istanbul skyline and a sip of the Caramel Apple Pie mocktail. Wine lovers may find themselves bowled over with the Kiss from A Rose (rose wine, Chambord, and lemonade) cocktail. If you’re not sure what drink to order, the menu is in both Turkish and English. Moreover, the menu hints at the flavor and mood of the drink. 

The food is no joke either. The Cuban Salmon a la plancha is flavored with pineapple and chili pepper. It also comes with potato puree. If you’re into Asian food, the Indian Butter Chicken is creamy. If you’re planning on a more classical drink, like a whiskey, the mini hamburger is the perfect match. 

On a lucky day, you can enjoy live music at Summit Bar & Terrace. The world-class service is one of its best traits where nothing is too much bother for the staff. Even if the menu is a little pricey, it’s worth every penny.

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6. Tuğra Restaurant

Tuğra is the most perfect restaurant in Istanbul to feel like a sultan. It’s located in one of the Ottoman Empire’s last palaces. It serves Ottoman cuisine with authentic Ottoman recipes. Moreover, you have an unparalleled view of the Bosphorus Strait. What more can one expect? 

Is there anything quite like a pomegranate sorbet following the organic chicken Topkapı – a chicken stuffed with rice, nuts, and herbs. Tuğra is the ultimate restaurant in Istanbul for a special occasion. 

Related content: Istanbul’s Top 8 Döner Kebab Places: A Complete Guide w/ Maps

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7. Spago Istanbul by Wolfgang Puck

Award-winning restaurant owner, chef Wolfgang Puck was once described by The Infatuation as the “only chef your grandma knows by name.” And his restaurant in Istanbul has several different menus: cocktails, sushi from the sushi bar, pasta & rice, red meat, seafood, and desserts. 

If you plan to eat dinner here, the lobster linguine is sublime. The duck spring rolls with fresh mango and ten spices-sweet chili sauce are unmissable. The sauteed cauliflower is served with raisins which might encourage you to add raisins to every dish to see if you can capture the same kind of magic. 

With its chic setting and exquisite food, Spago Istanbul is not only one of the best restaurants in town but also it has earned a reputation for being one of the best restaurants Wolfgang Puck has opened.

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8. Pandeli

Almost next door to the Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar, this eatery has the Orient Express vibe that has captured imaginations for centuries. Their dishes are no less exotic either. The celeriac and quince in olive oil starter have a fresh, earthy yet sweet flavor. The Ottoman classic Chicken Topkapı is chicken stuffed with rice, and it’ll inspire you for next Christmas. 

The Sultan’s delight (Hünkar Beğendi) will help you understand why the Orient Express and Istanbul have captivated the west for so long. 

The compote with seasonal fruit is a lovely, elegant finish for dessert.

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9. Aheste 

Aheste is an intimate restaurant with modern decor. They have tasting menus for both omnivores and vegetarians. You may find yourself bowled over by the chicken confit with kepse pilaf. If you’ve been craving a savory dish, the cured bonito on bread with tomato sauce will hit the right tastebud. 

The vegetarian options are no less impressive. The green salad with cheese and pear is enough to tempt anyone, but the celeriac rolls with Jerusalem artichoke are a delicate, nutty wonderland. As a dessert, if you have the opportunity to try the crispy pumpkin with tahini & clotted cream, you may never want to leave. 

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10. Ali Ocakbaşı

Close to the Golden Horn and the Galata Tower is an unassuming, hard-to-find restaurant with some of the best grills and kebabs in Istanbul. Although they serve the stereotypical Turkish cuisine, they do have options for vegetarians. The kaşarlı pide (cheddar pide) is a glorious gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly option. The güveç starter is a selection of sauteed vegetables, and it’ll warm your soul. 

There is a selection of grills and lovely salads. Still, the peynirli irmik tatlısı is one of a kind (cheesy semolina dessert served with ice cream. 

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11. Sarnıç Restaurant

Sarnıç restaurant is located in a 1500 years old cistern in Sultanahmet. It’s within walking distance of tourist attractions like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, and Topkapı Palace. 

The Venetian in the Harem is bursting with flavor. The Venetian dish is beef medallions served with earthy oyster mushrooms, creamy goat cheese, roasted potatoes, and a delicious secret sauce. Their flour halva with walnut, hazelnut, and caramel sauce is nothing short of amazing. 

With its dim lighting and exquisite dishes, you may feel transported back to the day of Ancient Greece! With its delicious food and its unreal romantic atmosphere, this restaurant is one of the most amazing restaurants in Istanbul.

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12. Beyti

The home of the original Beyti dish, this meat-based restaurant has been entertaining VIPs since the 1970s and is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul to try kebabs. Mr. Beyti, the founder, has been cooking since the 1940s. Perhaps that’s why his name is synonymous with meat in Turkey. He created the famous ‘Beyti’ dish. The original didn’t have ground meat but instead chopped. 

Although this is a meat restaurant, there are some exquisite dishes in the ‘zeytinyağlı’ (olive oil) section that your vegetarian friends can try. If you’re not interested in trying the original landmark dish (beyti), try a tender t-bone steak. The stuffed vegetables (dolma) and the imam bayildi (stuffed aubergines) shouldn’t be missed by anyone.

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13. Karaköy Lokantası

This family-run tavern (meyhane) is a place to lose yourself to the night. Order a rakı – an aniseed-based alcoholic drink – and try all the dishes on the meze menu. Adventurous people may enjoy the boiled veal brains (beyin salatası) or the dil söğüş (boiled veal tongue). Suppose you can’t bring yourself to try that. In that case, the spicy muhammara dip paired with the meyhane cacığı (tzatziki) ‘s cooling sensation is perfect. You may also want to order marinated fish, stuffed mussels, or samphire in olive oil. 

If you don’t feel like sharing, the meze may not suit you. However, this restaurant will surprise you with grilled meatballs (ızgara köfte) and the Dana Çökertme (veal strips and shoestring potatoes served with yogurt and tomato sauce).

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14. Mürver

Mürver is the very definition of good food. Their menu changes to capture the spirit and ingredients of the season. Each dish seems to be a celebration of the seasons and of nature. 

A special shout-out has to be given to the vegetables from the brick oven because it’ll make anyone fall in love with vegetables! It accompanies the dried beef starter excellently. The dried beef starter is a magnificent dish made from beef smoked with juniper and it comes with charred peach and Sürmene cheese. 

Normally a şekerpare is a small yet overwhelming Turkish dessert. Mürver’s vegan version isn’t as overpowering. Moreover, it’s served with pistachio, pear ice cream, and cherry compote. Each item on that list is wonderful on its own but combined together, it makes an outstanding gastronomical experience. 

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15. Turk Fatih Tutak

Fatih Tutak is a swashbuckling adventurer, at least in the kitchen. His menu changes according to the season, but the atmosphere is the same. This is an amazing restaurant with relaxing bamboo-inspired modern decor. Tutak’s menu is like a modern Turkish meze fused with an innovative, daring streak. You find yourself excited at the arrival of each dish. 

The menu is in Turkish and simply lists the ingredients. You’ll find yourself bowled over by the yumurta (egg), pastırma (beef pastrami) dish. You may wish to enjoy his midye dolma (stuffed mussels) with a relaxing glass of Kastro Tireli orange/amber wine which is a fantastic Turkish wine from the Aegean region.

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16. Banyan Restaurant

Nothing quite beats both Banyan’s winter soup and the Tom Yam Kung soup on a cold day in Istanbul! This elegant Asian fusion restaurant with fantastic Bosphorus views has all the classics and it’s so hard to choose. 

The steak tartar roll with red wine reduction is incredible if you want a sushi roll. The caramelized pineapple with grilled sirloin and wok vegetables will introduce you to new flavors. 

If that wasn’t enough, you could enjoy the magnificent views with the gluten-free bitter chocolate ganache with passionfruit compote. Is there a better way to end the day? 

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17. Nicole

Nicole is a stylish establishment serving contemporary Mediterranean cuisine without the typical pretentiousness of a fine dining restaurant. While it has an extensive menu, if you stick with the classics and order the fish of the day, you might end up begging the chef for the recipe for the smoked Çerkez cheese & lemongrass puree.

A vibrant dish that must be tried is the Quail’s Hole. Accompanying the meat is a delicious cornelian cherry sauce, a smooth chestnut puree, and crunchy chips. Their Künefe is a modern take on the Antakya dessert if you want another vibrant approach to the classics. Especially the rice pudding ice cream that accompanies the Künefe is an absolute delight.

Located at Tomtom Suites, Nicole is truly one of the best restaurants in Istanbul.

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18. Çiya Sofrası

Çiya Sofrası is a place where you can experience the flavors and smells of authentic Turkish cuisine at its best. Aside from really high-quality food made from the best seasonal ingredients, Çiya serves Turkish dishes that reflect the food culture in all of Turkey. The menu changes daily depending on what’s seasonal. However, there are some usuals. 

If you’re vegan, you may want to stick to the olive oil dishes of which the kereviz tavası is supreme. There’s a muted sweetness that’ll have you craving for more in this celery-based dish. Our meat-eating friends may drool over enticingly sour lamb meatballs with quince (Ayvalı Köfte). 

Their desserts are also all unique, with flavors that you won’t find anywhere else. Traditional Turkish food never tasted this good. 

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19. Yeniköy Kaşıbeyaz Bosphorus

Panoramic view of Kasibeyaz restaurant and Bosphorus. One of the best restaurants in Istanbul.
Photo credit: Yeniköy Kaşıbeyaz Bosphorus

A favorite of the local socialite and celebrities, Yeniköy Kaşıbeyaz Bosphorus is one of the most picturesque restaurants in all of Istanbul, with its huge terrace providing an unparalleled view combined with exquisite dishes.

The Gavurdağ salad is colorful and has the ultimate blend between savory, sweet, and acidity. Anyone who loves spice needs to try the Adana Kebab here. If spice isn’t your thing, don’t miss out on the classic Ali Nazik. Ali Nazik is meat in a tomato sauce served upon a creamy, buttery eggplant mash. However, the eggplant has a touch of smoky BBQ flavor as it’s usually roasted on an open flame. The Ali Nazik originates from Gaziantep, a city in the UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy.

As for the dessert, one of our favorite thing about this location would have to be its mouthwatering katmer that we recommend you do not miss while dining here.

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IST TOO restaurant at Shangri-la Istanbul
IST TOO. Photo credit: IST TOO

A seamlessly fusing international cuisine, it’s hard to find something that doesn’t fit your palate here. It is a haven for all your Turkish and international cuisine needs in Istanbul. They offer dishes from around the globe, with an emphasis on pasta and sandwiches – but don’t forget about their seafood dishes, kebabs or pides!

If you only want to eat Turkish food, you may want to start your meal with the classic Turkish appetizers, known as meze, and finish with the fantastic kebabs. 

If Mediterranean cuisine is more your thing, the risotto mushroom is a decadent dish that shouldn’t be missed. For dessert, the Turkish katmer is a crispy, flaky pastry served with clotted cream, chewy Maraş ice cream, and pistachios. 

If you want excellent food by the Bosphorus strait, don’t miss out on IST TOO. 

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21. Lacivert Restaurant

Lacivert is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul for a romantic dinner simply because of how close the Bosphorus strait is. Aside from the stunning views, the food is just heavenly. 

The Thai-style warm shrimp salad is a citrusy dream. The grilled lamb chops are juicy and pair well with the sauteed porcini mushrooms. 

Everything on the dessert menu is delectable. However, if you can only pick one, don’t miss the Hatay style semolina dessert with cheese and ice cream. It’s so soft and fluffy that you’ll feel like you’re eating a cloud. 

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22. Nusr-Et Steakhouse Etiler

Photo credit: Nusr-Et Steakhouse Etiler

Meat lovers will already know that this is the home of the legendary Salt Bae. A steakhouse that needs no introduction, Nusr-Et is one of the best steakhouses in Istanbul to get your meat fix.

The steaks here are top quality and come in all different cuts and sizes. The New York strip is a classic for a reason. It’s flavorful and juicy, with just the right amount of fat.

The tomahawk is a juicy, tender bit of meat. It pairs well with the Nusr-et salad. The lokum is as soft as a Turkish delight, but the sushi option is genius. Make sure you order French fries as they have a seemingly unlimited amount of sauces. You may find yourself falling in love with honey&mustard or truffle mayo if you haven’t already!

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23. Frankie

Frankie has three different tasting menus: Smart, Chic, and Lux. Each tasting menu has several choices for the starters and main courses, making it so much harder to choose! You may never look at leeks again if you choose the rock bass option in Lux. Accompanied with squash, walnut pesto, and a fermented melon sauce, you’ll find an explosion of flavor.

In the Chic option, the 72-hour roasted beef pulled ribs in a creamy cheese sauce with vegetables will feel like a glamorous approach to meat. The free-range chicken option in Smart with burnt cauliflower puree, broccoli, and chicken liver jus will dance on your tastebuds. 

Frankie also delivers with its modern, stylish decor and live music. In other words, Frankie is amongst the best restaurants in Istanbul to create a memorable night. 

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24. Sunset Grill & Bar

Sunset Grill & Bar has a menu filled with healthy options and a variety of international cuisine options. We particularly like the fusion of Japanese cuisine and, in particular, the sushi! If you’re willing to take a risk, this may be one of the best restaurants in Istanbul to introduce yourself to escargot. The herby, garlicky butter gives such a burst of flavor that eating snail becomes less intimidating and way more delicious than expected. 

They have gluten-free options like their ravishing beetroot, carrot, and pumpkin ravioli. What takes the cake, however, is the steak tartare. The truffle oil adds a lusciousness, the lime adds a zesty zinginess, and the cheese creates a creamy texture. 

This is one of the best fine dining restaurants in Istanbul, and it’s not to be missed!

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25. Mikla

Mikla serves up one-of-a-kind dishes in their award-winning Istanbul restaurant in the Marmara Pera Hotel. Though the menu has slight variations depending on what’s in season, you’ll find yourself blown over by the Cheese & Honey dish for two. Combining spicy mustard with the sweetness of flower honey and prunes, then adding crunchy walnuts and savory cheese is a stroke of culinary genius. Pair it with a wine from the local wine producers making for an exciting, daring culinary experience. 

The Iskenderun Prawn with rock samphire, cherry vinegar, hazelnuts, green olives, and sweet bean paste is nothing short of heavenly.

Mikla also adheres to a vegan diet. If you are vegan, Chef-owner Mehmet Gürs has a special vegan tasting menu that’ll hit that sweet spot in your palace. Especially the quince dessert with chili and sour apples will make you drool long after it’s finished. 

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26. Meze by Lemon Tree

Photo credit: Meze by Lemon Tree

Meze by Lemon Tree has mastered the fine art of small yet tasty dishes for those following the healthy Mediterranean diet. The meze is a collection of Turkish appetizers – like a Turkish version of the tapas. Consequently, you may find that the meze menu operates a bit like a tasting menu and is a fantastic option if you’re just looking to snack. 

Of the warm starters, the hummus with pastrami is a spicy treat to whet one’s appetite. All the mains are lovely, but the sea bass filet in paper with apricots and almonds has an exotic twist that you won’t forget. 

The bananas with honey, nuts, cream, and chili sauce dish is incomparable. The spicy, savory kick seems to make everything that much sweeter. 

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27. Ulus 29

Ulus 29 is a chic eatery that focuses on creative approaches to international cuisine. The diverse menu makes it incredibly easy to pick something that you like. If you love octopus, you can choose the Galician-style octopus dish or the Portuguese-style octopus risotto. Alternatively, if you love Asian food, you might go wild over the crispy duck spring rolls or the extensive sashimi plate. 

There are a few dishes that you really can’t miss. The homemade nachos with guacamole hit all the savory tastebuds with a luscious creaminess. The popcorn shrimp with sweet and spicy aioli is what you’ve been missing all your life. Ulus 29 is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul if you want to go out of the ordinary.

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28. Mükellef

Photo credit: Mükellef

If you visit this lovely rooftop restaurant at night, you may find yourself attracted to the fantastic combination of meze, fish, rakı, and meat dishes. However, this is also one of the best restaurants in Istanbul for brunch. 

The rest of us might enjoy the serpme kahvaltı (breakfast), which is nothing less than an endless supply of delicious food. The best part is that the food isn’t just about breakfast but reflects the local contemporary Mediterranean cuisine that’s ever-present in the Turkish kitchen. You may be surprised by the three different types of cheese, the chili jam, the apple jam, and, of course, the crunchy tahini-walnut pumpkin dish. And that’s just a sample. 

Mükellef is centrally located in the historic district Karaköy and is now a staple of Turkey’s contemporary restaurant scene.

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29. Alaf Restaurant

This terrace restaurant selects its suppliers carefully from all over Turkey and focuses on traditional Turkish street food. The quality of the ingredients means that there’s nothing on the menu that falls short of excellence. Although the chef does take a more innovative approach to the dishes served in South and Eastern Turkey, the food is mixed between various cultures, including Kurdish, Assyrian, and Turkish. 

Every visit is a little different, but if you have the opportunity to try the fiery yet slightly sweet and sour çiğ köfte (raw meatballs), don’t miss it.

You won’t find jumbo shrimp served on a plate of eggplant rice, nor will you find food presentation as beautiful as the dishes served in Alaf.

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30. Asitane Restaurant

Asitane is a sophisticated restaurant serving Ottoman cuisine. The Ottoman recipes originate from the Topkapı Palace and Edirne Palace kitchens, so you’ll be eating a feast fit for a king or, at least, a sultan. 

You may lose yourself in the starters with options such as the almond soup (badem çorba). Perhaps you may want to excite your palate with the fragrant Hums Lokması: chickpea puree with raisins, cinnamon, and pine nuts. The Levrek Biryan is an absolute revelation due to the combination of walnuts, sea bass, and saffron. 

Asitane is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul for a romantic dinner, especially if you sit on the patio. Therefore, you may need to make reservations to avoid disappointment. 

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31. Kandilli Borsa Restaurant

Photo credit: Kandilli Borsa Restaurant

Although this terrace restaurant has unbelievable views, Borsa’s star is the menu. It’s comprised of traditional Turkish cuisine and flavors from Ottoman cuisine. Their vegetable dishes, which are labeled as zeytinyağlı (‘olive oil dishes‘), are extraordinary. 

One of the many Ottoman recipes passed down to contemporary Turkish cuisine, and served in Borsa, is Imam Bayildi. Imam Bayildi is simply stuffed eggplants, but Borsa has found a way to elevate this vegan-friendly dish. 

Borsa’s desserts are in a league of their own. The semolina dessert (Irmik helva) is done in the Mardin style (a city in eastern Turkey) and the fragrant dish is delectable. If you want something that tastes luxurious, the fig and date pudding (hurmalı incir tatlısı) made Borsa style and served with ice cream shouldn’t be missed. 

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32. Ayaspaşa Rus Lokantası

Photo credit: Ayaspaşa Rus Lokantası

Ayaspaşa is a fine example of a beautiful world cuisine restaurant in Istanbul. The warm atmosphere might make you feel like you’ve visited Russia before the October Revolution. However, what makes this one of the best restaurants in Istanbul is the menu and the quality of the food. If you’re feeling adventurous, the brain salad as a starter may pleasantly surprise you. 

The sea bass whiting has potato, cheese, egg, sea bass, and sauce for those who feel less adventurous. Though it tastes just as you’d imagine Russian food to taste, it’s exceptionally satisfying to the palate. However, the Duck Alorange Russian style is just out of this world: duck with orange sauce and seasonable vegetables. 

The Napoleon dessert replaces the Medovik on Fridays and Saturdays. Although the Napoleon dessert is quite tasty, the delicate tenderness of the Medovik honey cake has to be tried at least once. 

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33. Le Fumoir

Tucked in the gardens of Çırağan Palace, one of the last from the Ottoman Empire, this chic bar has just about everything. The beautiful palm trees and the breeze from the Bosphorus transport you to another world. However, the senses that they seem to capture are your olfactory (smell) and taste. 

If you like to smoke shisha/hookah, you must try the agave, kiwi, and apple flavor. The hint of sour complements the sweet notes of agave particularly well. If you want something a little sweeter than cashews and hazelnuts with your drink, why not go for baklava with Turkish tea

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34. The Townhouse

The Townhouse is a trendy bar on the Asian side of Istanbul in Kadıköy. Considering there are whiskeys from Scotland, Japan, India, and Taiwan, you really can’t go wrong. This is still one of the best restaurants to visit, even if you’re a teetotaler for the food alone. You don’t have to drink cola or kombucha if you’re a teetotaler. The Pure Bellini mocktail is almost like a Christmassy pear drink.

The food, however, is extraordinary. It’s easy to over-indulge here because the menu sounds like you’ll be getting small, thin slices but the portions are massive, and the food is too good to stop eating! The popcorn shrimp is a crunchy, spicy delight. If you order the vegan bowl, be careful: your companions will try to steal your food. 

Related content: 10 Best Kadıköy Restaurants: A Complete Guide w/ Maps

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35. Asmalı Cavit

Photo credit: Asmalı Cavit

This intimate restaurant/bar is hidden in one of the many streets surrounding the famous Istiklal street and one of the iconic Istanbul restaurants. It’s also close to the Golden Horn, Salt Galata. It feels like a whole new world inside. 

The menu is based on the concept of the traditional mezes served with rakı, an aniseed-based Turkish liquor… Although, the dishes seem to pair excellently with Turkish wine and Turkish beers as well. The award-winning DLC Kalecik Karası is an elegant wine that pairs wonderfully with the sirloin steak (bonfile) as well as the chocolate souffle. 

The stuffed chard leaves (pazı sarma) melt in your mouth, and the garlicky semizotu salatası (purslane with yogurt) will wake you up. Still, the börek is just an indescribable treat. If you try the börek, you’ll find a hot explosion of flavor in your mouth. 

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Final words

Istanbul is a city of endless culinary possibilities. We’ve given you our top 35 picks for the best restaurants in Istanbul, but there are countless other fantastic restaurants waiting to be discovered in this fascinating city.

If you want to explore more of the best food Istanbul has to offer, join one of our food tours. Our experienced guides will take you on a delicious journey through some of the most renowned eateries in the city. With us, you’ll get an insider’s look at Turkish cuisine and learn about the culture and history behind each dish. Ready for a taste of the best that Istanbul has to offer? Book your food tour today!

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