Top 10 Things to Eat in Istanbul

This content was last updated on 24.01.2024 22:20

Istanbul, which has been among the most important cities of the world for centuries, is an ancient city that has hosted many cultures throughout history. The city, which was once the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which is known worldwide for its rich cuisine, has also embraced world cuisine due to its cosmopolitan structure. In other words, in the mega city of Istanbul, it is possible to come across tastes from the cuisines of almost every country. There are many flavor stops all over the city, from large and small kiosks to cafes, from kebab shops to fishermen and various mobile stalls for street delicacies.

We have compiled these delicious flavors and the places that best prepare and serve them for you.

Most Iconic Turkish Foods and Where to Eat Them in Istanbul

1. Sultanahmet Meatballs

Sultanahmet Meatballs

Sultanahmet Meatballs ranks first among the traditional flavors of Turkish cuisine. It is served with piyaz, and those who eat it can't get enough of it. This flavor, enjoyed by people of all age groups, is named after Sultanahmet, one of the regions of the Historic Peninsula.

Famous for its Sultanahmet Meatballs, the place is "Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi", which has survived for four generations.

Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi

  • Address: Alemdar Mahallesi, Divan Yolu Caddesi, No:12 Istanbul, Turkey
  • Phone: +90 212 513 64 68
  • Click for location

2. Fish and Bread

Fish and Bread

If we are talking about Istanbul, it cannot be without mentioning Eminönü, which is one of the most preferred places for both local and foreign tourists to shop and visit. Speaking of Eminönü, one cannot pass without mentioning the peddlers selling fish and bread on the boats. As soon as you set foot here, the smell of fish welcomes you.

Of course, it is not possible to limit fish bread only to Eminönü. You have the chance to eat fish and bread all over Istanbul. However, if you are someone who likes shabby places, you should definitely see "Takabik Balık" in Sarıyer.

Takanic Balık

  • Address: Köybaşı Caddesi, No: 155, Yeniköy Sarıyer, Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 212 299 56 56
  • Click for location

3. Döner


One of the dishes unique to Turkish cuisine is doner kebab, or in other words, doner kebab. Doner kebab, which is cooked in front of a wood fire, consists of pieces of meat blended with internal fat and spices.

Doner kebab, which has two types as meat or chicken, is as popular as its taste.

In many places in Istanbul, doner kebabs are meticulously prepared by skilled chefs.

Bayramoğlu Döner in Kavacık and Tatar Salim Döner Restaurant in Ataşehir are among the places where you can catch this delicious taste.

Bayramoğlu Döner

  • Address: Rüzgarlıbahçe, Cumhuriyet Cd. No:2, 34805 Beykoz, Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 216 413 00 45
  • Click for location

Tatar Salim Döner Restaurant

  • Address: Atilla İlhan Cd. Efe Sk. No:2/1 Kucukbakkalkoy, Atasehir, Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 216 408 26 26
  • Click for location

4. Tea and Simit

Tea and Simit

Tea and simit mean a lot to those living in Istanbul. Tea and simit, which are the inseparable pairs of breakfast, can also be preferred during the day to suppress hunger.

Tea and simit, which mean a lot to those living in Istanbul, often accompany passengers on their ferry trips between the two sides. Even seagulls get their share of bagels.

During your trip to Istanbul, do not forget to drink tea and eat crispy bagels against the Bosphorus.

"Çengelköy Tarihi Çınaraltı", which has also hosted various TV series, is among the first places that come to mind when it comes to tea and simit. This place welcomes hundreds of people with hot tea and fresh bagels during the day.

Çengelköy Tarihi Çınaraltı

  • Address: Çengelköy Mah. Çengelköy Cad, Çınarlı Cami Sk. No:4, 34680 Uskudar/Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 216 422 10 36
  • Click for location

5. Baklava


Baklava, which is among Gaziantep's famous desserts with syrup, is also among the first tastes that come to mind in Turkish cuisine. Baklava, which is prepared with many different flavors from walnut to pistachio, is a delicious taste dating back to the Ottoman Period. This dessert, which continues its popularity today, is also sold by many dessert shops all over Istanbul.

Karaköy Güllüoğlu, which is among the most famous places for baklava in Istanbul, is also among the most preferred dessert shops of the city.

Karaköy Güllüoğlu

  • Address: Rıhtım Cad. Under-Storey Car Park No:3-4 34425 Karaköy - Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 850 308 45 45
  • Click for location

6. Turkish Coffee

Turkish Coffee

Although new generation coffee shops and coffee shops have surrounded us and become a part of modern life, Turkish coffee has always had a special place in Turkey and it still does.

Among the traditional drinks in the country, Turkish coffee, the preparation of which has become a ritual even in marriage ceremonies, can be drunk all over Turkey.

For Turkish coffee, you can choose Pierre Loti Hill, which has a unique view.

Pierre Loti Hill

  • Address: Pierre Loti Tepesi Touristic Facilities, İdris Köşkü Cad. 34050 Eyup / Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 212 497 13 13
  • Click for location

7. Lahmacun


Undoubtedly, Lahmacun, one of the national tastes of Turkish cuisine, is a dish most loved by the majority.

When you have ayran with it, then a great feast of taste is formed.

Enchanting the palate with plenty of minced meat, various spices, salad and lemon sauce, lahmacun is mostly cooked on wood fire in kebab shops.

In terms of Lahmacun, we can recommend "Borsam Taşfırın" in Kadıköy, "Öz Kilis Lahmacun and Kebap Salonu" in Fatih, and "Lahmacun from the Row" in Ümraniye.

Borsam Taşfırın Bahariye

  • Address: Osmanağa, Serasker Avenue No: 78 Kadıköy, Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 216 349 43 23
  • Click for location

Öz Kilis Lahmacun ve Kebap Salonu

  • Address: Akşemseddin, Bedrettin Simavi Street 5 / A Fatih, Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 212 523 44 57
  • Click for location

Satırdan Lahmacun

  • Address: Tepeüstü, Poyraz Avenue No: 6 Dudullu OSB / Ümraniye, Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 216 335 61 11
  • Click for location

8. Kumpir


Kumpir is made by combining boiled roasted potatoes, butter and cheddar cheese.

Kumpir, which takes its place among the street delicacies of Istanbul, is sprinkled with great difficulty by the masters; American salad, pickles, corn, boiled side dish, purple cabbage and many more are filling both eyes and stomachs.

Don't miss out on Beşiktaş to taste this delicious street food.

To get your fill of the baked goods, you can choose Ortaköy kumpir restaurants, which form a chain in Beşiktaş.

Those who want to eat my kumpir and take a short walk in Moda can also visit Allpato Kumpir in Kadıköy.

Allpato Kumpir

  • Address: Caferağa, Muvakkithane Avenue, 15 / B Kadikoy, Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 216 337 87 84
  • Click for location

9. Kokorec


Kokoreç, one of the unique street flavors of Turkish cuisine, appears on the menus of many buffets and restaurants, as well as on the counters of peddlers.

Kokoreç, which finds buyers both during the day and at night, is made from beef and lamb.

This flavor, which is prepared by adding plenty of spices after the small intestine and boombar are cooked by inserting the bottle and turning it, may not be suitable for all tastes. But it is important to remember that choosing a place that complies with the hygiene rules is very important for those who want to experience kokorec.

It is possible to eat with peace of mind at "Şampiyon Kokoreç", which has many branches and is famous for its kokorec, which can be found easily in almost every district of Istanbul.

Şampiyon Kokoreç

  • Address: Hüseyinağa Mahallesi Sahne Sok. No: 21 Beyoğlu / Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 212 251 61 70
  • Click for location

10. Adana Kebab

Adana Kebab

As the name suggests, Adana kebab, which is among the most well-known flavors of Adana, is also among the indispensable tastes of Turkish cuisine.

This kebab, which is made with only male mutton, is prepared with pieces of meat minced with armor.

During its preparation, chili pepper and lard are definitely used.

Adana kebab is accompanied by onion salad with sumac.

In Istanbul, the best Adana kebab is eaten at "Hasan Usta Kebap" and "Kebapçı Çetin Usta".

Hasan Usta Kebap

  • Address: Koşuyolu Mahallesi, Dr. Eyup Aksoy Street, No: 29 Kadikoy, Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 216 418 01 01
  • Click for location

Kebapçı Çetin Usta

  • Address: Merkez Güngören Caddesi, Ikbal Sk. No:14 / A Güngören, Istanbul
  • Phone: +90 212 435 32 32
  • Click for location

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