Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST)

Restaurants in Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST)

Turkish ice cream is stickier and chewier than its Western counterpart—it stretches. You can’t get it anywhere but Turkey. The secret ingredient is salep, the ground tubers of wild orchids.

If you’re not quite ready to plunge into Turkish culture the moment you arrive, pop in for one last half-caf Venti skinny latte before you leave the airport. The comfy chairs make it a good place to read a newspaper, and it’s normally quiet.

The plasma TVs are often tuned to the sports channel, usually showing a football (soccer) game, in this café and bar. It’s the only restaurant after Passport Control with free Wi-Fi. It can be noisy, but the central location makes it a good meeting point.

Concealed amid the business-class lounges, this spacious, sunlit restaurant looks as if it would be forbidden to steerage passengers, but it’s not.

The food is fresh, healthy, and reasonably priced at this buffet-style international restaurant. You can find surprisingly good Turkish meze, such as stuffed grape leaves and smoked eggplant with lemon, at the salad bar in the center island.