10 Best Restaurants in Istanbul

The House Cafe Ortaköy - Restaurant in Istanbul

10 Best Restaurants in Istanbul

Istanbul is a vibrant city with an interesting food scene! As a foodie, I always love to enjoy some yummy local cuisine when I travel. Therefore, I made sure to hunt for the the best restaurants in Istanbul when I visited Türkiye this year! And let me tell you, my taste buds had a blast!

Now I am sharing with you best places to eat in Istanbul so that you can have great breakfast, lunches and dinners if you are visiting this amazing city!

If you want to treat yourself while in Istanbul, I highly recommend having dinner at Lokanta 1741. This gastronomic restaurant welcomes you inside the world renowned Cagaloglu Hammam. This 300-year-old place offers a unique and intimate setting!

Go upstairs to enjoy their garden terrace or downstairs for a cozier atmosphere.

Based on locally sourced fresh produce, the menu proposes flavorful dishes combining different parts, cultures, and tastes of Türkiye.

I had here an unforgettable dining experience! That’s the reason why I added it high on my list of the restaurants in Istanbul!

Location: Lokanta 1741

My secret tip: you will be offered a little hammam gift at the end of the dinner. I didn’t expect it and it was such a pleasant surprise!

Tershane Karaköy

Located in the heart of Istanbul near Galata Bridge, Tershane Karaköy offers a tasty Turkish cuisine! As you are sitting at one of the tables of this fine dining restaurant, you get to enjoy some beautiful views of the Bosporus, the Galata Tower, Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace.

The ambiance is warm and welcoming, and the restaurant is very comfy!

Some of their specialties are fine quality mezzes and kebab grill dishes. The cuisine and the views are two great reasons why Tershane Karaköy is one of the best places to eat in Istanbul!

Location: Tershane Karaköy

My secret tip: head to their rooftop terrace to enjoy the panoramic view even better!

The House Cafe Ortaköy

If you are looking for a restaurant with a view, you will love The House Café in Ortaköy! This beautiful restaurant offers a picturesque view of the Bosphorus and the stunning Ortaköy Mosque! On the menu you will find some classic recipes from Türkiye and some more international or creative dishes.

The venue is quite expansive with an indoor café, two large terraces facing the seaside and a chic indoor dining area.

You can even enjoy live DJ performances on the weekends in the summer months.

Location: The House Café Ortaköy

My secret tip: come here for breakfast! You can enjoy the beautiful morning light over the sea and the Ortaköy Mosque with a delicious traditional Turkish dinner without having to fight for a table.

Sarniç Fine Dining Restaurant

If you like to have dinner in original places, Sarniç will surprise you! This restaurant is actually located in a 1500-year-old water cistern! You will have the opportunity to dine under an impressive domed ceiling surrounded by giant columns. And you can enjoy some live music: the atmosphere was so special! Sarniç Fine Dining Restaurant offers Ottoman style cuisine.

It’s one of the best restaurants in Istanbul: a dinner here will be memorable!

Location: The Sarniç 

My secret tip: don’t miss the Sarniç cheese platter if you want to discover some yummy cheeses from Türkiye!

Pandeli Restaurant

Pandeli Restaurant is located on the first floor right above the iconic Spice Bazaar (aka the Egyptian Bazaar) in Istanbul. As you walk up the stairs you will be able to admire the beautiful blue mosaic and the ancient design. This historical restaurant is indeed one of the pillars of the food scene in Istanbul and has been serving food for more than a hundred years!

Pandeli serves a traditional Turkish cuisine. This restaurant has been awarded by a Michelin Bib’ Gourmand to highlight its good quality and good value cooking. And many celebrities like Queen Elizabeth II, Audrey Hepburn, Sean Connery, Robert de Niro or Sarah Jessica Parker have been here. This is why you should add it to your list of the best restaurants in Istanbul!

Location: Pandeli

My secret tip: don’t miss out on their döner kebab: they cook it with charcoal fire!

Avlu Restaurant

Avlu is the restaurant of the Four Seasons Hotel in Sultanahmet. The executive chef Özgür Üstün curated a delicious menu based on Anatolian cuisine with a modern touch and local produce. The dining room is elegant, and many tables have a view on the beautiful courtyard of the hotel. I loved the stunning coper oven, taking pride of place in the venue! Avlu is one of the best restaurants I have tried in Istanbul!

Location: Avlu Restaurant

My secret tip: come a bit before the time of your table booking and enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine from the rooftop terrace of the Four Seasons Hotel! The Süreyya Teras Lounge offers an extraordinary view over Hagia Sofia in a comfortable setting!  

Seven Hills Restaurant

If you have been looking for some inspiration on Instagram or TikTok for your trip to Istanbul, you probably stumbled on Seven Hills Restaurant. This place has become famous for its rooftop terrace with impressive views over Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque, and the Sea of Marmara, and the possibility to feed the seagulls. This fun experience is super instagrammable and that’s why many people (including me) decided to visit this restaurant!

The menu offers some traditional Turkish meals as well as some more international options. I guess it’s made to tailor to the palate needs of less adventurous travelers. Don’t expect an outstanding dining experience though: the food was quite average.

But I have to say the view and the cool feeding the seagulls experience were still worth it. So, I’m not hesitating to place Seven Hills Restaurant as part of my guide of the best places to eat in Istanbul.

Location: Seven Hills Restaurant

My secret tips: the restaurant is quite big with several floors and a vast rooftop terrace. And the service is quite fast. So, you shouldn’t have to wait too long to get a table. Also be aware that the area to feed the seagulls and to take photos is separate from the dining area on the rooftop terrace. So, you won’t have to worry about getting a “good table” for your photos and videos. Finally, they will give you special food to feed the seagulls (French fries and some kind of mozzarella balls) so you won’t have to give them your own food.

Constantine’s Ark

For all of you who want to have great value for money Turkish food in a nice restaurant that isn’t too fancy, I recommend Constantine’s Ark. It’s located in the heart of the historical district not far from Sultanahmet.

On the menu you will find Turkish and Kurdish cuisine, as well as some international dishes. They have three floors, and the building is designed in the shape of an old ship with chestnut wood furniture. The staff was very welcoming! I didn’t hesitate to add it to my list of the best restaurants in Istanbul so you can give it a try too!

Location: Constantine’s Ark

My secret tip: they serve some authentic Turkish “lavas” puff bread that is perfect to pair with mezzes! 

Viyana Kahvesi

For all the sweet teeth out there, you cannot leave Istanbul without having tried the most popular dessert here: the San Sebastian cheesecake! The best place in town to try it is named Viyana Kahvesi. This cafe is ideally located at the feet of the Galata Tower so it’s very easy to find it.

You are probably wondering what a San Sebastian cheesecake is?! This dessert coming from Spain (from the city of San Sebastian in the Basque Region, you got it) is an ultra-creamy, light, souffle-like crustless cheesecake with a scorched, caramelized upper crust. It has become extremely popular in Istanbul on social media in the last year! The version you can eat her at Viyana Kahvesi is especially gourmand as it’s coming with Belgian melted chocolate poured on top… Yes, it’s to die for!

So, between the view on the Galata Tower and the yummy San Sebastian cheesecake, you probably understand why I put Viyana Kahvesi in my list of the best places to eat in Istanbul 😀 .

Location: Viyana Kahvesi

My secret tip: the cafe also serves a lot of other sweet and savory treats. I had their chocolate croissant filled with Belgian chocolate inside and out for example: so good! And don’t worry if you cannot finish all the treats you ordered: you can take the rest to go 😉 .

BigChefs Moda Teras

If you are in the Moda area in Istanbul (a cool neighborhood located on the Marmara Sea coast on the Asian Side of town) you should give BigChefs Moda Teras a try! This restaurant offers great views over the sea. It’s a great place to gather with friends or family as they have big tables and provide outdoor and indoor seating. The food here is inspired by Greek and Sephardic cuisine famous for its appetizers as well as Anatolian and Aegean cuisines. BigChefs is a chain created by the successful restaurateur Ms Gamze Cizreli. Their venues are usually run by an efficient team and serve good food quality. So you can mark this restaurant as one of the best places to eat in Istanbul.

Location: BigChefs Moda Teras

My secret tip: the Moda district has been recognized as one of the 50 coolest neighbourhoods in the world, so you should take the ferry there to enjoy its atmosphere! Take the time to do a sunset walk along the Marmara Sea: it’s a nice place to meet for a romantic date or to stroll with friends and family.

In Conclusion…

As you can see there are a lot of great places to eat in Istanbul! If you have been there, you might have tried some of these or have other recommendations, so don’t hesitate to share that in the comment sections below!

Which ones of these best restaurants in Istanbul do you want to try on your next trip to Türkiye?

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About Me

Hello! I am Ophélie, an avid traveller, photographer and foodista. I am French and I live in Paris.

This blog, will give you all my secrets: my best addresses (sightseeing and food) all around the world and in Paris, and my travel and lifestyle tips!


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