Restaurants in Turkey
From abundant mezze platters to succulent meat dishes, from fresh seafood to mouth-watering deserts, Turkey's culinary culture is a rich and diverse as its history. Restaurants in Turkey serve a variety of specialties to please all tastes, and vary from region to region. If you're along the water, you can't go wrong at the seafood restaurants located in all the coastal villages. Don't skip a visit to the Bodrum fish market, where you can select morsels from the day's catch and have it cooked to order in the adjacent restaurant.
Some of the best restaurants in Turkey—and in the world—are located in Istanbul. Join locals as they savor specialties like lahmacun—a thin, minced meat-topped flatbread that diners top with veggies—kebab platters, pide (flatbread pizzas), and more at the beloved Tatbak, or head into the hills above town to indulge in the chef's tasting menus, European-influenced fine dining, and panoramic views at Ulus 29. Another Turkey restaurant creating a buzz is the trendy eatery at the Istanbul Modern Museum, where you can choose to enjoy thin-crust pizzas, salads, and Turkish dumplings in the contemporary dining room or on the riverside terrace.
Boisterous seafood palace that comes alive after dark. Order the grilled octopus (izgara ahtapot) and excellent zucchini-flower dolma (kabak cicegi dolmasi).
This museum restaurant is noted for its neo-60’s interior of unpolished
oak and black-leather banquettes. Try the olive oil–braised celery root
enlivened with tangerine, and rosy lamb chops, from the smart
The Tugra was the calligraphic seal of the Ottoman Sultans. No doubt the restaurant of the same name now located in the sumptuous 19th-century Ciragan Palace on the western shore of the Bosphorus would get one of approval.
The shoebox of a café off Selçuk’s main square serves a variety of meze appetizers, as well as grilled meats. But the specialty is Turkish veal meatballs, which Selçuk Köftecisi has been making for the past 50 years.
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.
Unassuming highway-side kebapci with a delightful terrace out back. The kebabs and lahmajun pide are both stellar.
In Istanbul, big business takes place in the skyscrapers in the Levent neighborhood, and those working in that area often dine at Kösebasi.
In the waterside Arnavutköy area, Dilara Erbay dishes up grilled fish at Abracadabra, housed in a wooden mansion.
Few travelers know about this family-run gem where Mom cooks the traditional dishes, including moussaka, stuffed grape leaves, and lamb chops, using ingredients grown in her garden.
Created by the editors of T+L for Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Beyoglu is known for its raucous drinking houses, or meyhane, where meze are an excuse for rivers of raki. This is the insiders' favorite: a brick-walled dining room illuminated by chandeliers that sets the scene for house specials like ficin, a spiced meat pie. The best part?
The average day in Turkey is punctuated by round after round of tea and coffee, and shopping is no different. Since accepting a cup from a seller in the Grand Bazaar is regarded as interest in doing business, it may be better to stop in the few cafes inside the Grand Bazaar.