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.
As the name implies, the restaurant is set in a hidden garden with a view of the small yacht marina. Specialties include stuffed calamari, which like all the fresh catches here, are cooked to specification upon ordering.
From the outside, it’s just another soot-streaked, film-noirish Istanbul apartment building. But once you enter and take the tiny elevator to the fifth floor, you’ll find a rooftop restaurant with fairy lights and a staggering view of the Bosporus.
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.
Starched white tablecloths, the smell of spices, and plenty of bustle and clamor accompany the plates of spicy kebaps at Istanbul’s favorite Anatolian restaurant.
You might call Zarifi the first postmodern meyhane with a mission to revive lost elements of Beyoğlu’s past as a drinking, fun-loving ghetto from Byzantine days. Not to mention the food that went along with the mayhem.
Booked up nightly by a sophisticated crowd. The fish is generally fantastic, and priced accordingly.
At this French-meets-Turkish restaurant, set near the stone-carved Uçhisar Castle, all of the tables overlook green valleys and snow-covered peaks.
One of the many meyhane-style restaurants in the bohemian Asmali Mescit neighborhood, Refik distinguishes with its cuisine and storied past. A long-time haunt of leftist intellectuals, the walls are covered with photos, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia of the last 50 years.
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.
Grab a seat in the garden of this Sultanahmet seafood restaurant. The mezes, small appetizer plates of roasted red peppers and marinated octopus, make for perfect snacks and are best enjoyed ith a glass of raki, Turkey's signature liquor.
It would be a crime to miss the Süleymaniye Camii mosque, an Ottoman masterpiece; it would be sadder still not to visit this nearby sweet shop. Decked out in weathered marble, this vintage cubbyhole specializes in boza—a cross between pudding and a beverage, which is made from fermented bulgur.
Squeezed between two ramshackle buildings on the western shore of the Golden Horn, Cipalikapi Balikçisi serves traditional Turkish fare with a focus on meze and fish.