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9 restaurants in Istanbul you don't want to miss

There are many nice restaurants in Istanbul, and a lot of great food to try. We have visited several restaurants, and here are some tips for those who want to eat well in the city.


Restaurants in Istanbul

There are plenty of good restaurants in Istanbul, in different price ranges. We visited a bunch during our last trip, and here we present both them and a number of restaurants we visited two years ago. In total, we can recommend nine nice restaurants in Istanbul.

1st Suvla Kanyon

Suvla Kanyon is a wine bar and restaurant located in the Kanyon shopping centre in Istanbul. The shopping centre offers a slightly futuristic environment with curved shapes, and there are plenty of shops and restaurants, as well as a cinema. To get to the Suvla restaurant, we had to take a lift.

Since we were here on a press trip, we were a slightly larger group, and we could order several starters to share. There was cheese with marmalade, small zucchini steaks and a delicious pizza with cheese, mushrooms and chilli.

The main course - fish or köfte, i.e. minced meat steaks - did not impress as much, and if we were to go here again, we would go all in on small dishes. However, rounding off with coffee, Turkish tea and a chocolate-covered dessert did not go amiss.

Address: Esentepe, Kanyon AVM, 34394 Şişli/İstanbul

2. Oligarch

Oligark is one of the restaurants in Istanbul that we visited on our last visit to the city. This restaurant has a luxurious and slightly festive feel, with a lovely view of the water.

Here we had carpaccio for starters and a big piece of meat for the main course. Most luxurious of all were the two desserts, which were very good.

Address: Kuruçeşme, Muallim Naci Cd. No:58, 34345 Beşiktaş/İstanbul

3. Istanbul Modern

Istanbul Modern is the restaurant located inside the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. The restaurant is definitely worth a visit on its own, but if you have time, it's also worth seeing the museum, which is very inviting and also has two lovely bird pools on the roof.

Of all the restaurants in Istanbul that we tried, this is one of our favourites. Everything we ate here tasted very Good. We shared a number of delicious starters: a dish with artichoke, a dish with minced meat and small zucchini steaks. For the main course, we chose meat and mushroom pasta and finished with a pastry with jam. A memorable meal!

Address: Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Kılıçali Paşa, Tophane İskele Cd. No:1/1, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul

4. Hamdi Restaurant - Pera

Hamdi Restaurant - Pera has large high windows, with a great view of the city, the water and all the boats passing by.

As in most restaurants in Istanbul, we started by sharing different starters and this is often, in our opinion, the tastiest part of the meal. In this restaurant, it was salad, cheese, bread, small traditional "pizzas" and zucchini steaks.

The main course was chicken kebab, where "kebab" stands for grilled meat, which was very tender and tasty. This was followed by the traditional baklava.

Address: Evliya Çelebi, Refik Saydam Cd. No:19, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul

5. Ali Ocakbaşı - Karaköy

Ali Ocakbaşı - Karaköy is a restaurant we visited the last time we were in Istanbul. Again, there is a nice view of the water and the boats, and we had very good food here.

At this restaurant, we had bread and different scrambles as a starter. As the main course approached, we could go downstairs and watch them grill our skewers. Good and tender meat we got! Finally, we had ice cream together with a sweet dessert containing walnuts.

Address: Tersane Caddesi, Grifin Han, Kardeşim Sk. No:45, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul

6. sur Balik Restoran Haliç 

Sur Balik Restoran Haliç is also a place we visited the last time we were in Istanbul. We didn't take a photo of the view, but we remember that we also had a nice view of the water.

The restaurant serves Turkish, Mediterranean and seafood dishes, and we started the meal with a selection of scrambled eggs, olives and pickled small fish. This was followed by fish for the main course and a sweet and fruity Turkish-style dessert.

Address: Cibali, No:, Kadir Has Cd. No:3, 34083 Fatih/İstanbul

7. the Sarnıç Fine Dining Restaurant 

The Sarnıç Fine Dining Restaurant can apparently be fully booked in the evenings, and we were lucky to discover it quietly in the middle of the day. The venue feels really luxurious and traditional, with large pillars.

Everything we ate at this restaurant was very good. We started with three types of hummus (chickpea scramble) and continued with a few other smaller starters before moving on to a fantastic meat stew, which was served with aubergine mash. Finally, there was baklava with ice cream, which turned out to be an excellent combo.

Address: Cankurtaran, Soğuk Çeşme Sk. No:26, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul

8. Victor Levi

Located on the Asian side of Istanbul, the Victor Levi restaurant offers both a wonderfully relaxed environment and good food.

We started off temptingly with cheese, olives and some fruit. Then we shared a few different small dishes such as cheese gratinated mushrooms and small fried "balls" containing cheese and potatoes. Delicious! For the main course we chose chicken with mushroom sauce and seabass, and both were excellent.

Address: Caferağa Mh Moda Cd. &, Damacı Sk. No:4, 34710 Kadıköy

9th of August

During our last trip to Istanbul we visited another restaurant on the Asian side, namely Uskumru. This restaurant is located right on one of the bridges between the European and Asian sides, and when it's a bit warmer, you can sit outside with a great view.

We had very good food at this restaurant. To begin with, we were served a range of small dishes: bread, cheese, good salads, fish and aubergine scrambles. For the main course we shared good fish skewers and finally we had both fruit (incredibly beautifully served!) and baklava. A very pleasant experience!

Address: Anadolu Hisarı, Körfez Cd. No:55, 34810 Beykoz/İstanbul

Michelin-starred restaurants in Istanbul

Currently, in 2023, there are 13 restaurants in Turkey with one or two stars in the Michelin Guide, seven of which are located in Istanbul. These have stars at the moment:

  • Araka
  • Arkestra
  • Cuma
  • Mikla
  • Neolocal
  • Sankai by Nagaya
  • Turk Fatih Tutak (2 stars)

More restaurants in Istanbul?

There are of course many more good restaurants in Istanbul. This Turkish city has around 16 million inhabitants, or maybe more, so of course there are many places to eat. If you want to find good Turkish food that isn't necessarily fancy, try looking for the restaurants called 'lokanta', which really just means 'restaurant', but is more often used to refer to local places with Turkish food. Do you have even more tips for restaurants in Istanbul? Let us know!

More to see and do in Istanbul and Turkey

There is of course much more to things to see and do in Istanbul and in the rest of Turkey. If you're a foodie, we can definitely recommend a Food Tour in Istanbul. Other interesting sights in the city include Hagia Sofia, the classic market Grand Bazaar and Yerebatan Cisterns. Below you will find even more tips for both Istanbul and the rest of the country.

All our top tips about Turkey, click on the image!

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