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.
In the Beyoglu district of Istanbul, the Pera neighborhood has staged a comeback of recent years, reclaiming its title of the hippest neighborhood. Adding to the neighborhood's bohemian vibe is Nu Teras, a rooftop dance club for the young and well-to-do.
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.
Don’t miss the red mullet and smoked octopus at this 110-year-old restaurant.
Siraselviler Caddesi leads to one of the trendiest neighborhoods of Cihangir, where much of Istanbul’s expatriate community lives. Many of them have started businesses like Changa.
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.
Near the entrance to the National Park, Degirmen (the name means windmill) is set in a sprawling park complete with horse stables, a duck pond, and a fairground.
Created by the editors of T+L for Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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.
The rooftop lounge at this bar-and-restaurant complex is Beyoglu’s party central.
To sample the ultimate meat wrap, grab a succulent döner, near the Nuruosmaniye Gate.
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.
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.