Restaurants in Istanbul
In a shopping mall near Levent, the center of upscale modern Istanbul, Osmani has a fresh and sharp range of Turkish food flavors. This is where health-conscious, time-strapped professionals dine in efficient comfort.
On the city’s Asian side, you’ll find Çiya Sofrasi, past the splendorous Kadiköy fish-and-produce market. As you pick your dishes from the no-nonsense counter, keep in mind that Çiya’s owner, Musa Dağdeviren, may be Turkey’s first globally recognized foodie brain.
In Turkey, the Özkanca family is synonymous with premier restaurants and cuisine. One of their best-loved ventures is located in the Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Centre just north of Taksim Square.
Most visitors don’t make it to the northerly, beautiful neighborhood of Bebek, though they should (it’s like the Marin County of Istanbul).
Full of bright-green Eastern Barak pistachios, fragrant with syrup, brushed with sheep’s butter—yet somehow light—the baklava at Karaköy Güllüoglu Baklavalari sets the gold standard. Eat it at the nearby Karaköy docks while gazing at the magnificent mosques across the water.
Famished after haggling for kilims at the Covered Bazaar? It’s worth tracking down to this macho kebab dive colonized by gaggles of mustached vendors.
One of the most well-known meyhane restaurants in the city, Yakup 2 serves customers the classic line up of appetizers like artichokes, yogurt, and calamari, followed by innumerable courses of meat and rice dishes and a fruit-platter dessert.
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.
Mabeyin restaurant takes its name from the area between the harem (women’s section) and selamlik (men’s section) in Ottoman palaces where receptions and banquets were held for guests.
Kasibeyaz is one of three restaurants operating in a complex next to the Istanbul airport. It specializes in high-end versions of Turkish classics like cig kofte (raw meatballs), kebabs, and alinazik (puree of roasted eggplant with diced lamb).
At the picturesque Cebeci Han caravansary, this spot serves the city's tastiest kebabs.
Rancher Emre Mermer established the Dükkan butcher shop in 1998 to supply many of Istanbul’s elite restaurants.
In a neighborhood filled with snootily fashionable terrace cafés—where the waitstaff seem to make a special point of ignoring you—Atika stands out for its genial atmosphere of bonhomie.