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.
Since 1920, this workingman’s dive has remained hugely popular despite serving only two main dishes: meatballs and lamb skewers.
Pick up an exotic-flavored ice cream to eat on the pier.
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.
Quality sushi is an exceptionally rare find in Istanbul, but thanks to international chain Zuma, it now can be had opposite the Radisson Blu hotel in Ortakoy.
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.
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.
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.
Booked up nightly by a sophisticated crowd. The fish is generally fantastic, and priced accordingly.
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.
Babylon concertgoers gather at the music venue's sister site for smoked-salmon pizzete and pan-Mediterranean salads.
It’s neither as famous nor as trendy as other rooftop restaurants in the area (say, 360 or Mikla), but Konak’s views are just as exhilarating, and the food is hearty and cheap.
Locals have a love-hate relationship with Kazim Usta: they complain about its high prices and less-than-stellar service, and yet they still pack the place for its unmatched seafood. The stuffed mussels and sea bream are the best around.
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.