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.
West of the central tourist area of Sultanahmet, the neighborhood of Samatya is home to this long-time area restaurant. Develi has been serving southeast Anatolian cuisine to locals and expats since 1966.
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 antiques-filled restaurant, known for its home-style stews, is set in an old Ottoman row house under the shadow of the Blue Mosque. Reserve a window table for the 8 p.m. light show.
Sunset, when the mosques and minarets glow like fire and the city lights twinkle, is the time to hit this spot on the top floor of the Goethe Institute.
Even if contemporary Turkish art isn’t your cup of çay, visit Istanbul this repurpose warehouse museum for its stylish café and waterfront terrace.
At the picturesque Cebeci Han caravansary, this spot serves the city's tastiest kebabs.
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.
Rancher Emre Mermer established the Dükkan butcher shop in 1998 to supply many of Istanbul’s elite restaurants.
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.
The meyhane (drinking house) is the Turkish version of a tapas bar, where small mezes and fish are washed down with glasses of raki, a bracing anise-flavored liquor. The city is full of them, but Bonçuk, where strolling fasil musicians entertain diners, is one of the best.
Forget the burger-joint visions the name connotes: this elegant rooftop spot is one of the city’s most sophisticated dining destinations.
Architects and designers hold lunch meetings over bowls of just-like-mom’s bulgur.
The height of glamour, atop the hotel Marmara Pera, Mikla has some of the best vistas in town. Swedish-born star chef Mehmet Gürs’s Mediterranean-inspired dishes don’t come cheap, but for the patrons here, money really doesn’t matter.
Thirtysomething owner Batur Durmay speaks fluent English and guides diners through his extensive list of dishes. Durmay’s family funded painstaking research in Ottoman archives to reproduce former sultans’ fare.
If the name of this rooftop bistro in the city's Beverly-Hills-type neighborhood of Bebek betrays a certain European flavor, it’s not by accident.