Food And Drink

Istanbul food & beverage guide: 10 things to attempt in Istanbul, Turkey

With a foot in both Europe and Asia, Istanbul’s cultural and geographical variety clash, supplying an abundant and differed food

Consisting of 2 unique parts that are separated by a waterway, Istanbul maintains a European and Asian identity. It’s a great bonus offer for visitors as they get to experience 2 cities in one area. But that’s not the only benefit of this distinct location.

Istanbul’s food is an amalgamation of southeast European staples and Middle Eastern tastes. The outcome? A wonderful variety of meals and beverages that are various from anything else you’ll discover worldwide. Here are 10 of the leading foods and beverages to sample while you remain in Istanbul.


A big part of Turkish food is the beginners and appetisers– a range of little meals served together to, basically, develop a primary meal. These little meals of deliciousness are described as meze (or mezze). While people take their choice from a large tray of numerous meze, the meals are frequently shared amongst a table. The very first serving of meze tends to be cold, prior to being followed by a round of hot meals. For the absolute best meze, choose among the numerous meyhanes– conventional dining establishments that specialise in meze food.

Where to attempt: If you remain in search of an authentic meyhane experience without the bells and whistles, go to TarihiCumhuriyet Meyhanesi(HuseyinagaMh. Sahne Sk,No 47) in Beyo ğlu on the European side. The structure of this dining establishment is over 100 years of ages and its interior and method have actually hardly altered given that its opening. Another 100- year-old meyhane is SafaMeyhanesi(IlyasBey Cd,No 121) inFatih The traditional interior is easily enjoyable, and the dining establishment stays among Istanbul’s most renowned meyhanes.

An various meze including meat kebab, falafel, baba ghanoush, muhammara, hummus, sambusak, rice, tahini, kibbeh and pita

İskender Kebap

This popular meal of northwest Turkey is called after its developer, Iskender Efendi– a 19 th– century nobleman who resided in Bursa throughout the reign of the OttomanEmpire Interestingly, the meal’s real name is‘Kebapçi İskender’ However, this name is trademarked by İskender Efendi’s household– causing it being served under the more popular name of İskender kebap. Served on pita bread, packed with butter and tomato sauce, this meal of döner meat is frequently accompanied with yogurt.

Where to attempt: While the meal is generally connected with Bursa, numerous think MeshurBursa Kebaap çısı(AtifYilmaz Cd,No 8) in Beyo ğlu uses the very best İskender kebap inIstanbul Situated on the Asian side of the city,Iskender Iskenderoglu(AlbayFaik Sozdener Cd) in Kad ıköy, serves İskender kebap as it’s just meal.

Turkish conventional Iskender kebap with yogurt

Mant ı

Another traditional staple of Turkic food is mantı– a yummy dumpling made from dough and a filling, comparable to ravioli. Generally, the mix includes onion, ground lamb or beef, experienced with salt and pepper. However, it’s likewise possible to switch out the lamb or beef for chicken or salmon. Vegetarians can even ask for spinach as a choice. It’s generally served with a side of yogurt and smothered in a tomato sauce, which is prepared in butter. The meal is popular not just in Turkey however likewise in Russia and other previous Soviet nations.

Where to attempt: When speaking about mantı, it’s necessary to point out Casita(EtilerMah, Nispetiye Cd,No 65/ A) on the Asian side of the city. This popular dining establishment serves conventional mantı, in addition to fried mantı. For something a little various, HingalMant ı(CumhuriyetCd, Mirac Sk,No 3) in Çiftlik to the north of the Asian side uses a Dagestan affected handle mantı. The dumplings, looking like something in between mantı and tortellini, come served in all good manners of gorgeous colours, consisting of blue and green.

Traditional manti food on a plate with sauce


Named after a district of Turkey’s İzmir Province, this omelette consists of egg and tomato. As tomatoes were very first grown in İzmir in the 1920 s, it’s believed that tomato growers were motivated to develop yummy meals with excess fruit and vegetables. A range of other components are utilized to finish the meal– such as herbs– with some versions including mushrooms, sausages and cheese.

Where to attempt: BebekKahve(CevdetpasaCdNo 18) guarantees delightful menemen and excellent views. The dining establishment is located right on the waterside of the Bosphorus Strait– permitting you to look at the passing boats and the Asian side ofIstanbul Sütiş Taksim(İstiklal CdNo 7) in Beyo ğlu is a best breakfast area– serving numerous ranges of menemen.

Menemen - Istanbul food and drink guide

Kuyu kababı

This specialized meal stems from the Kastamonu Province to the north of the nation, in a location called the Black SeaRegion The meal’s name, equating approximately as ‘pit kebab’, originates from how it’s prepared. The meat is hung over a pit-like charcoal or coal oven for hours to prepare the organless male lamb gradually. In Turkey, and other locations around the Central Asian area, this kind of oven is described as a ‘Tandır’.

Where to attempt: For authentically prepared kuyu kababı, head to Siirt Şeref Büryan Kebap Salonu(ItfaiyeCd,No 4) in the Fatih district on the European side of the city. Slightly south of here, you’ll likewise discoverSirkeci Restaurant(NobethaneCd, Serdar Sk,No 24). Both dining establishments are thought about 2 of the city’s most exceptional restaurants.

Lowering kebab into a stone tandoor oven


This cheese pastry meal is a standard dish discovered in numerous Arab foods– frequently under the name‘kanafeh’ Despite the mouth-watering cheese aspect, künefe is a dessert. The cheese is sandwiched in between 2 sheets of stringy pastry called tel kadayıf. In Turkish food, the pastry is served in syrup with a side of clotted cream, and walnuts or pistachios are sprayed on top.

Where to attempt: The meal’s appeal in Turkey originates from the Hatay Province where Hatay peyniri (equating as cheese of Hatay) is utilized in the dish. AkdenizHatay Sofrasi(AhmediyeCd,No 44/ A) in Fatih specialises in the conventional variation of this meal. On the Asian side of the city, search for Künefecizade (FahrettinKerim Gökay Cd,No 31) in Kad ıköy where the künefe is wonderfully provided.

A slice of künefe - Istanbul food and drink guide
A piece of künefe

Rak ı

Wherever there is meze, there is rakı. Known as Turkey’s nationwide alcohol of option, rakı is an anise-flavoured drink that goes together with meze. Even if you’re not a fan of the liquorice taste, this strong alcohol is (too) simple to take in and a must-try for visitors.

Where to attempt: You can sample rakı at any meyhane or bar, however SafiMeyhane(MesrutiyetCd,No 84) in Beyo ğlu is especially favoured for rakı– a lot so that they even serve a rakı ice cream! The dining establishment itself, in contrast to the previous meyhanes, has actually a more upgraded and contemporary feel. Also in Beyo ğlu is Çukur Meyhane(TurnacibasiCaddesi, Kartal Sk,No 1/A)– providing an unwinded, authentic rakı and meze experience.

A couple clinks their glasses of rakı prior to tucking into their meal.


PerhapsTurkey’s most valued non-alcoholic beverage, ayran is a summer season must-have. Containing no sugar, this rejuvenating drink is a mix of water, cold yogurt and salt. You can even discover it in the nation’s McDonalds and Burger King dining establishments, and it’s most taken pleasure in with meat meals. The beverage’s history is believed to extend back countless years to the times of the Göktürks.

Where to attempt: One of the very best ayrans can be discovered at Babo’ nun Yeri Şanlıurfa Zaman Kebap (Simit çi Şakir Sk,No 30/ A). Here, it’s developed from components sourced in Turkey’s towns, rather than those imported from a factory. If you’re checking out the Topkap ı Palace Museum– when house to the Ottoman sultans– ensure to visit and attempt ayran at TheHanRestaurant(AlemdarCd, Soguk Cesme Sk,No 26).

Glass of ayran served with food on wood table


While ayran is for summertime, salep is best for drinking in the cold weather. Originally made from the bulbs of orchids, salep is likewise developed with synthetic flavouring. People have actually turned to this since the kind of orchid utilized in the drink is ending up being extinct in some locations. That needs to inform you all you require to learn about the appeal of salep! Consisting of hot milk and sugar, thickened with flour, this steaming reward is likewise sprayed with cinnamon.

Where to attempt: Due to the rarity and rate of genuine salep, it prevails to discover inexpensive versions of the beverage in a lot of locations aroundIstanbul One authentic seller of salep is DondurmaciAli Usta(ModaCd,No 264/ A) in Moda, Kad ıköy on the Asian side. It’s likewise worth checking out Maiden’s Tower, going back to the Byzantine Empire on the BosphorusStrait Apart from being a historic marvel, the tower now includes a café and dining establishment where you can gladly heat up with a glass of salep.

Cup of Turkish salep with cinnamon sticks on dark wood


Easy to make however devilishly difficult to master, baklava is Turkey’s most renowned dessert. The type by which we understand baklava by today was established in the kitchen areas of the Topkap ı Palace throughout the Ottoman Empire’s reign. Thin layers of phyllo (yufka) dough are scattered with nuts (walnuts, pistachios or hazelnuts) prior to being covered in butter, baked and after that offered a sweet dressing of syrup or honey. When baked appropriately, it is among the most moreish meals you’ll ever taste.

Where to attempt: Two locations in Istanbul are renowned for their baklava– and both can be discovered in Karak öy. Firstly, there’s Köşkeroğlu(Mumh âne Cd, Katl ı Otopark Alt ı,No 2/2). This charming little dining establishment has actually gotten the ‘Certificate of Excellence’ from TripAdvisor for 4 years running. On the opposite of the exact same structure you’ll see Karak öy Güllüoğlu(Rıhtım Cd, Katl ı Otopark Alt ı,No 3-4) with the exact same accreditation from TripAdvisor. Many think that this specialized dessert store is the very best location for baklava in Istanbul.

Pistachio baklava - Istanbul food and drink guide
Pistachio baklava

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