The 10 Best Italian Restaurants in Istanbul [2023 Guide]

Tired of kebabs and pide? Crave a real Italian pizza? Or want to try Italian dishes other than pasta and pizza? Do not worry, you will be relieved to know that Istanbul has a collection of excellent Italian restaurants offering authentic & delicious Italian dishes.

Whether you want to discover new Italian dishes or you’re craving a good pizza or a handmade pasta, you may wish to visit the restaurants below. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your favorite Italian restaurant in Istanbul, serving the most amazing Italian food, on our list below. 

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1. Trattoria La Scarpetta

Trattoria La Scarpetta is one of the best Italian restaurants in Istanbul
Image credit: Trattoria La Scarpetta

Located in Beşiktaş, Trattoria serves some of the most delicious Italian dishes in Istanbul. The fish and lamb dishes, for example, are sublime. Costicine di Agnello is a 3 hour baked lamb dish that’s like no other. Paired with a Pablo Satsuma beer, it will blow you away.

As for the pizza options, there are so many styles that you might mistake this lovely spot for a pizza restaurant. The Quatro Formaggio pizza with white sauce instead of tomato is a refined dish that shouldn’t be missed. Alternatively, the calzone with salami, winter vegetables, mozzarella, and tomato sauce is delicious. Reserve your table here.

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2. Cecconi’s Istanbul

Image credit: Cecconi’s Istanbul

Cecconi’s central location means you can visit a local museum, walk to Taksim Square or even check out modern art at Istanbul Modern before or after your meal. Despite its location, it’s not on the overly popular street, making this warm and elegant place easy to access. This classical Italian restaurant, designed stylishly, is located in the 19th century Palazzo Corpi building and if it’s not too cold, you can sit by the olive trees while eating dinner. 

Of the delicious Italian dishes on the diverse menu, the chili spaghetti lobster is a perfect way to end the evening. Their pizza’s are also one of a kind in Istanbul. One option has black truffle, zucchini flowers, and ricotta.

All this delicious food is served with great service. There is a large selection of wine choices, of which the Terra Rose Pinot Grigio is our favorite.

This is one Italian restaurant you really can’t miss. 

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3. Da Mario

Image credit: Da Mario

Where does one start with Da Mario? If Da Mario is not the first Italian restaurant in Istanbul, it was one of the first bunch, and their passion does show. Da Mario has that relaxing, rustic vibe that restaurants that aren’t located on a lively street have. The served dishes are incredibly creative; however, the dishes at Da Mario change depending on the season. They make their pizza in an oven that cooks with wood fire and is available in Bran dough. 

The menu is in Italian, Turkish, and English. Therefore, it’s easy to find the options you want. Try the extra-virgin olive oil ice cream with cherries if you have the opportunity. The black lentil salad (Insalata di lenticchie nere) is nothing short of divine. Another dish not to be missed is the Scialatielli Alle Erbe Con Gamberi Zucchine E Dragoncello (Basil Scialatielli with shrimps and zucchini flower). 

This might be the best Italian restaurant in Istanbul and is a treat to visit. This place is ideally suited for birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions. 

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4. Paper Moon

Image credit: Paper Moon

Paper moon is famous for being one of the few Italian restaurants that draws in celebrities and high society. One of the few places where the fish and lamb dishes are out of this world. If Swordfish carpaccio doesn’t satisfy your tastebuds, you probably weren’t a fan of seafood to start. 

This Italian restaurant is far from the usual touristic attractions like Taksim Square or the Blue Mosque. However, their calzone (with mozzarella and ham) will ensure that the trip is worth it! Paper Moon has branches worldwide, and its Istanbul branch is located in Etiler.

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5. Aida – vino e cucina

Image credit: Aida – vino e cucina

Aida is an Italian restaurant with an elegant atmosphere. They have a fantastic whiskey collection that pair well with all their dessert. Particularly the chocolate capresse cake with whipped coffee cream and whiskey caramel. The chestnut cake with a chocolate ganache and tangerines are mouthwateringly heavenly with The Singleton whiskey. It has a full bar with Turkish, Italian, and rare wines.

Aida is in Kadıköy, the cultural highlight of the Asian side of Istanbul. If you’re visiting a bookshop or a cinema in this area, you might not want to miss out on the Vellutata di spinaci dolci – which is cream of parmesan with rosemary and spinach veloute. The beetroot risotto is one thing, but the Insalata di finocchio (fennel salad with oranges, grapefruit, and olives) will have you falling in love. 

Aida is known for its good food delivered with great service.

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6. il Padrino Ristorante

Image credit: il Padrino Ristorante

In 2013, the Italian Chamber of Trade and Commerce gave il Padrino an authentic Italian Restaurant award celebrating their Italian Kitchen. Therefore, you can rest assured that this is one of the best Italians in Istanbul. 

The rich menu is in Italian and Turkish, allowing Padrino’s patrons to access real Italian delicacies. There is a diverse list of vegetarian options of which the crespelle agli spinichi is hard to stop eating. That’s cream and spinach in a pancake. The best pizza on the menu might even be the vegetarian one – artichokes, spinach, broccoli, and asparagus. The Cafe de Paris (beef with cafe de Pairs sauce) pairs excellently with the Karma Shiraz-Bogazkere wine. 

If you want to eat Italian food after a fun day at sea, il Padrino is within walking distance of the Caddesbostan beaches. 

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7. Eataly

Image credit: Eataly

Eataly is located in Zorlu shopping center, and high fashion brands surround it. Eataly is not just a restaurant; it is a full Italian food complex with an Italian market and Italian cooking classes. Importantly, if you want to make Italian food, they sell ingredients in their market.

The wine choices in the shop/restaurant are extraordinary. This modern-style eatery has an unbelievably delicious Vitello Tonanato. The succulent beef tenderloin is carefully cooked at 54C with a salsa tonnato mousse, demi-glace sauce, and crispy capers. If you’re vegan or have dietary requirements, there are so many dish options!

We’re also huge fans of blending Italian cuisine with the local Turkish Kitchen. A great example of this is the cannoli a Gaziantep, a cannoli with pistachio (“Antep”) ice cream, and saffron creme Anglaise. Yum!

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8. Serafina

Image credit: Serafina

Serafina has more than one Istanbul branch, including one at Kanyon shopping mall and another in Akmerkez. After a long shopping day, why not try a dish from their rich menu? The full menu may take you some time to read, as they have many exotic dishes. One that surprised us was the carpaccio polpo which is octopus carpaccio with sea bean, fennel, beetroot, and topped with a lovely citrus sauce. 

If you need an Italian pizza, try the Di Sofia. This is one of the best Italian restaurants in Istanbul for choice. Moreover, the tasty food is served in a warm and elegant place. For dessert, don’t skip the Dolce di Zucca, a buttered caramel sauce drizzled over pumpkin and served with a luscious vanilla ice cream. 

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9. Gina

Image credit: Gina

Gina is one of the many Italian restaurants in the Kanyon shopping mall. However, Gina’s menu makes this Italian Kitchen stand out from the rest. There’s nothing quite like the warming Salmone Alla Girglia – grilled salmon, broccoli, fresh chili, and almonds.

Another feature that we love in this sophisticated restaurant is ordering each Italian pizza by the slice (the pizza al tagliere section). This ensures that you find the best pizza on the menu before fully committing to it. Our favorite is the Formaggio. With its blend of Italian cheeses, walnuts, and balsamic vinegar, this pizza retains its savory flavor with a hint of a sweet touch. Moreover, the acid from the vinegar brightens it up. 

We wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of the more popular restaurants simply due to their desserts. The sublime taste is in its simplicity: it’s a warm chocolate cake with orange sorbet. The fondente al cioccolato is heavenly.

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10. Mezzaluna

Image credit: Mezzaluna

Mezzaluna is a chic Italian restaurant with a large selection of traditional Italian dishes. If you’re a fan of spaghetti, their handmade pasta is unrivaled. You may want to try the Fusilli con Portobello & Salsa Porri & Mascarpone Al Profumo Di Tartufo. Don’t let the name fool you – it’s fusilli pasta with mascarpone, portobello mushrooms, truffle oil, and leek sauce. Simply because they managed to make leeks taste amazing, this dish is enough to secure Mezzaluna as one of the best Italian restaurants in Istanbul. 

If pizza is more your thing, their Mezzaluna option is one delicious pizza. It’s simply ham with mushrooms and grilled eggplant. It pairs perfectly with the passionfruit lemonade. For dessert, nothing quite beats their torta al cioccolate – a flourless almond-chocolate cake – with the Refresh tea (pineapple and satsuma) to help you digest everything!

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Final words

So there you have it, the 10 best Italian restaurants in Istanbul. These are places we love and would highly recommend to anyone looking for a delicious Italian meal out. If you’re visiting Istanbul, why not join our food tours? We’ll take you on a culinary journey through some of the best eateries the city has to offer. Buon appetite!

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