Lüfer comes from the Pomatomidae family. Most mezes are served as appetizers in the restaurants. Great list of foods. Consider heading out on a tour specifically centered around desserts when you explore the food in Istanbul! We spent nearly seven hours with them on their Taste of Two Continents Tour, and by the time we finished exploring food in both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, we were so stuffed that we could hardly move! Dining in Istanbul, Turkey: See 417,000 Tripadvisor traveller reviews of 15,237 Istanbul restaurants and search by cuisine, price, location, and more. Far more than lahmacun is, pide is Turkish pizza. The nuts are spread in between the layers of phyllo dough. Here are some of the most iconic sweet dishes. Whether you stroll through the bazaars shopping for bargains, take a day trip to Princes Islands or feast on tasty street food, your local … Best local restaurants in İstanbul. With a view this great, don't forget to eat. The filling contains grounded beef or lamb, onion, salt and pepper. My regular choice is a combination of grounded red pepper, mint and sumac. Some of the pleasing places to order mantı are Casita Mantı Nişantaşı (Şişli), Fıccın (Beyoğlu), Emek Mantı (Yeniköy), Bodrum Mantı (Arnavutköy), and Aşkana (Ulus). In most cases, the waiter will come to your table and present all the mezes available on a big plate for you to choose from. If you ask any local what to eat in the city, he will most definitely put fish in the top 5. Made with a savory yogurt base and salt, ayran has a very strong and distinct flavor. In the classical Anatolian (Kayseri) style, the dough is made of water, flour and salt. Just don’t drink all the way to the bottom of the cup–the grounds settle in the bottom and the gritty texture is not very pleasant! If you click through a link on Lone Star Travel Guide, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. The most commonly adored mezes are: Some of the best places to have mezes are Cumhuriyet Meyhanesi (Beyoğlu), Refik Meyhanesi (Asmalımescit), Kör Agop Meyhanesi (Kumkapı), Giritli Restoran (Ahırkapı), and Münferit (Beyoğlu). Incredibly varied, historically interesting, and very delicious, the best food in Istanbul pulls influences from all over the world and melds it into a food scene that is truly unique. https://realdealmeal.net/3-of-the-best-local-restaurants-in-istanbul Iskender kebap is definitely delicious! Easy cancellation with a FULL REFUND up to 24 hours in advance. And to answer your question – yes, street food is safe to eat in Istanbul… Meat for döner is cooked on large, vertical rotisseries, and shaved off as it cooks to make a delicious meal. Be sure to read up on what dishes the class includes if you’re hoping to make a specific item! Whether mantı is boiled in water, baked with butter, or boiled in tomato sauce, it is served with yogurt, garlic and tomato sauce cooked with butter. about any of that! The breakfast habits of Turks are slightly different than the Europeans’. It is no frills, but is a long-standing, tasty and reliable look into the way … Made of eggs, tomatoes, green peppers, and spices, it’s a tasty addition to any breakfast in Istanbul. It is hands down the best döner kebab place in Istanbul, people make a road trip to wait in line to get a table or a sandwich to go. https://istanbulclues.com/best-local-restaurants-in-istanbul I’m notoriously picky when it comes to drinks though, lol–obviously lots of people love it! Just be prepared for a sugar rush, because you’ll definitely have one by the end! But with so many different dishes to choose from, where do you start? They say that ayran is one of those things that you either like or you don’t… and for Jeremy and I, we agree that it’s a very strong “don’t”. If you enjoy tea, we recommend drinking tea every day that you’re in Istanbul–it’s tasty, it’s inexpensive, and it’s absolutely everywhere! Istanbul is marvelous and beautiful. The essential ingredients are the lamb meat and the tail fat. Börek is made of thin sheets of dough, filled with cheese, minced meat and/or vegetables, wrapped and baked or cooked. Istanbul loves their sweets–candy and cake shops seem to be on every corner, and the breadth of desserts in Istanbul is enormous. Found, though not easily, on a side street off of the bustling Istikil strip, Ladesserves mostly meats and eggs. Mikla. The most famous Turkish snack is “simit”. It may be touristy, but the Spice Market is one of our favorite spots in Istanbul: it’s beautiful, it smells delightful, everything is completely photogenic, and it simply feels like a feast for the eyes (and sometimes the belly!). Sometimes (inaccurately) described as Turkish pizza, lahmacun is made up of a thin piece of dough, topped with minced meat, spices, and vegetables. Istanbul may not be much of a beach city, but it’s definitely a coastal one–and the popularity of seafood among food in Istanbul definitely shows that. Döner is a dish of beaten pieces of meat seasoned with suet, local herbs and spices, skewered on a spit and grilled vertically. If you like fish, our listing of the top 10 fish restaurants in Istanbul is required reading. The texture makes it unique among ice creams, and it is a tasty treat (especially if you’re looking for the best food in Istanbul to try during a hot afternoon). Well you are right, it doesn’t sound very festive. Some add eggs to increase the flavor. This kebap is a must if you are a meat enthusiast. Having tea with a shopkeeper is a common practice in Istanbul and a fantastic way to explore the city–many shop owners love sitting down and chatting about just about everything with the people passing through their place of business. You can order the real deal in the district of Fatih at Siirt Şeref Büryan Kebap Salonu. Often called Turkish ravioli, mantı is a hot dish served with cold yogurt and garlic. Host gifts–usually a small dessert, like baklava or chocolates–are the norm for visiting other families for a meal in Istanbul. Essentially a fish sandwich, balık ekmek is made up of a grilled fish or filet and vegetables stuffed into a hearty piece of bread. Last Updated on January 10, 2021. But here it comes. Did you try it on its own and didn’t like it? The ingredients (phyllo dough, nuts and syrup) are simple, yet craftsmanship is most definitely required. The combination of rakı and fish by the Bosphorus is like a weekend ritual. If you’re heading to Istanbul and are ready to exercise your taste buds, here’s what you have to eat in Istanbul. Turkish Delight, to put it simply, is candy. The cheese melts inside and when you take a bite you sense different textures, such as the soft cheese and the crusty dough. Yogurt is added to the side of the plate, and if you please extra tomato sauce and butter to make it even more delightful. The thinness of the dough layers is crucial. Asitane specializes in recreating the delicacies and intricate dishes that would have been served to Ottoman sultans throughout the reign of the empire, making a visit to Asitane a meal and a history lesson in one. Turkish cuisine is very diverse and world renowned. Adana kebap has had “Controlled Designation of Origin” since 2009. so is Turkish Delight. We are enormous fans of taking food tours around the world, and even after taking them on several continents, we were still blown away by our experience when we were invited out with Food on Istanbul. This gives an idea about the age of the famous dish. İskender kebap is especially my favorite in Istanbul. The kebap got its name from the cooking style, where kuyu means ‘well’. There are some accomplished places to eat baklava, like Güllüoğlu or Köşkeroğlu. In Turkey, Köfte is usually made from lamb, beef, or a combination of both types of meat, and is served with grilled peppers (yum), spicy sauce, and usually bread or rice. Here's a sampling of the best restaurants in Istanbul. Plan to stopover in Istanbul for about 2 days in October this year. Istanbul’s Street Food – What’s Hot And What’s Not! Tavuk göğsü tastes almost like rice pudding–it is thick, delicious, and was once a delicacy served to Ottoman sultans. However, in an attempt to eat healthier, different kinds of grain breads like rye are commonly available these days. Ficcin – Kallavi Sokak 7/1-13/1 Beyoglu. A food tour is the perfect way to get introduced to the best food in Istanbul. Chef-patron Mehmet Gürs -- a regular on Turkish television -- claims that his food … Honestly, you’ll be hard pushed to eat bad food in the city, but just in case, we put together a list of eight best Turkish restaurants in Istanbul. Essentially savory baklava, these flaky pastries are stuffed with cheese, meat, or vegetables. It is delicious, and a must-try food in Istanbul! Tried Aryan, Cay, Mussels,Simit, Kofter, Doner Kebab and I love Borek so much. Menemen is a popular dish with Turkish breakfast, and it’s tasty–it actually reminds me of some Latin American egg dishes, just with different spices! , I totally love Ayran! A simple, cheap and easy to make dish, yet with an addictive taste. A full list of all the best food in Istanbul that is worthy of your attention could fill a book–but assuming that you don’t have a lifetime to explore the city, here are some foods you need to prioritize eating in Istanbul. Such a simple ingredient can have such a velvety texture if cooked expertly with other good quality ingredients — butter, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Made from very finely ground coffee beans in a specific pot called a cezve, Turkish coffee is both extremely strong and extremely tasty. A pudding made with chicken meat that is also a totally delicious dessert–nope, I’m not kidding. The most famous city in Turkey is fun to explore for dozens of reasons–but the food in Istanbul definitely belongs at the top of any list discussing the city’s attributes. Künefe is a traditional Arab cheese pastry. You can order Adana kebap at Adana Sofrası Ciğer ve Kebap Salonu (Beşiktaş), Adana Yüzevler (Etiler), Kebapçı Enver Usta (Beyoğlu-Tünel), and Zübeyir Ocakbaşı (Beyoğlu). Do you have a good manti spot in the city to recommend? Some links in this post may be affiliate links. Instead of rakı (the anise flavored strong beverage) you can of course pick your own drink. Turkish breakfast is made up of eggs (often cooked into menemen, sometimes fried or hard boiled), sausage, breads, spreads and jams, honey, olives, multiple cheeses, and–of course–buckets and buckets of tea. Bursa is the hometown of this heavenly saucy meat dish. The mezes are then put in the middle of the table and shared. The best local Istanbul restaurants Let us take you on a unique journey inside our favorite neighborhoods and restaurants of Istanbul. It is a little off the track, out of the tourist attraction areas, however for a true meat aficionado a 30 minute drive to the Avcılar district is definitely worth it. Whether you book a planned experience or you just happen to have friends in Istanbul, you can see a completely different side of the city–and of the food in Istanbul–by dining with a family in a local home. You simply can’t go wrong in the area. Here you can find more information about baklava. Adanalı Yusuf Usta is both the name of the place and the owner/master of the modest looking yet incredibly successful restaurant. The most famous dessert in Istanbul is unquestionably delicious: made of incredibly thin layers of dough stacked on top of each other and then coated in a sugar-syrup, baklava is a treat for sweet lovers everywhere. The thinner the dough and the smaller the wrapped pieces are, the more masterful the cook is. In fact, I discovered there was a whole, blessed blog dedicated to such a quest, aptly named Istanbul Eats (now under the umbrella of the worldwide Culinary Backstreets).Run by two American expats living in Istanbul, dedicated to finding the city's best … A meyhane is a traditional restaurant which serves alcoholic beverages with mezes and traditional foods. After a detailed cleansing and resting process, the meat is kneaded with dried red and green hot pepper and fresh local red peppers, brochette mounted on the skewers, charcoal grilled and served on lavaş (a pita like thin bread) with grilled onion, tomato and green pepper on the side. We recommend scheduling one toward the beginning of your trip so you can use your new knowledge to help you order great dishes and explore the food in Istanbul throughout your trip! It is usually sold in small streets and casual-dining restaurants. Istanbul is home to some unique drinks–here are the ones you should definitely try while in Istanbul. White beans are delicious, but they are especially tasty when served in kuru fasulye! Mikla is rated one of the best 50 restaurants in the world for quality, taste and service and serves dishes inspired by traditional local ingredients and flavours. In the middle of the European bank of the Bosphorus, Ortaköy literally means middle village. While you’re there, be sure to explore the exterior of the market on the west side of the building–this is where you’ll find a slightly more local feel, sellers with varying wares like fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and olives, and even a stand selling copious amounts of Turkish coffee grounds if you’re hoping to take some home! Good for Like … Mussels are a popular food in Istanbul and are popularly sold as a street food or in small, casual restaurants. If you want to enjoy the experience while also avoiding pressure to buy, consider waiting to accept an offer of tea from someone you already planned to make a purchase from. White cheese (similar to feta), old cheese (kaşar peyniri), black and/or green olives (zeytin), butter, thick cream (kaymak), honey, jam, an omelet or boiled eggs (yumurta) are regular players of the game. My favorite restaurant of the moment is a local eatery called Sıdıka in Beşiktaş. All rights reserved. https://www.nomadepicureans.com/europe/turkey/street-food-istanbul More a food group than a specific food item, meze are essentially appetizers or hors d’oeuvres. Here on Our Escape Clause, we are dedicated to helping travelers plan their adventures. Balik ekmek, fish sandwich. Fruit stands decorated with enormous piles of oranges and pomegranates–some of them cut open to show off their freshness–are common in Istanbul, and these stands are a great place to try a fresh fruit juice that is squeezed right in front of you! Yes, absolutely–though you are still under no obligation to purchase, and most shopkeepers will never be unpleasant about it (just persistent!). Toasted bread complements the various dishes. If you’re looking for an excellent tour company, we can’t recommend the well-reviewed Istanbul on Food enough, and they have several food-centered Istanbul tours to choose from! An original Adana kebap can only be made by establishments who are inspected on the spot and approved by the Adana Chamber of Commerce. Kuyu kebabı requires pine tree branches for the flavor. Thank you! Each tour includes food tastings from the best specialty food shops and local restaurants, as well as an off-the-beaten-path glimpse of life in Istanbul… What is so special about haricot beans? The most widely known Turkish foods are “döner” … Iskender Kebab is made up of döner meat laid over bread, tomatoes, and peppers, and is topped with yogurt and melted butter. It is an … Istanbul has tons of fantastic cooking classes, all ready to teach you about how to recreate the best food in Istanbul once you go home. Menemen is a Turkish take on breakfast- eggs, onion, tomato, green pepper and spices, mixed together and served in a cast iron pot. We’ve also included street food options for you to try out. İstanbul Street food … Fun fact about the Turkish language: “pasta” in Turkish translates to “cake”! I’m so embarrassed I typoed that, we’ve even flown through Ankara before. If you’re looking for a great Turkish breakfast spot, you can’t beat the popular Van Kahvalti Evi: with great prices, great service, excellent food, and consistently prompt delivery of their unlimited tea, it’s no wonder that this place is always packed with tourists and locals alike. The surprise ingredients are sucuklu yumurta and börek. Mantı are utterly delicious, and while their origin is somewhat disputed, there’s no denying that they’re a popular food in Istanbul! If you want to branch out from basic black tea, consider pomegranate tea–we had some very tasty ones while in Istanbul. Hope you have a fantastic time in Istanbul. The idea is to slowly cook the whole male lamb (without the inner organs) hung in a well or specially constructed hole over a charcoal fire. All opinions and food comas are, as always, our own. Cooked in an oval-shaped dough that is folded to hold the ingredients and topped with cheese, meat, and vegetables, it’s essentially a form of deep dish pizza… minus the tomato sauce. You can think of mantı as some kind of dumplings consisting of the dough and its filling. A full list of all the best food in Istanbul that is worthy of your attention could fill a book–but assuming that you don’t have a lifetime to explore the city, here are some foods you need to prioritize eating in Istanbul. I knew I wanted to try this, so I headed to this very basic, very traditional lokanta (another word for restaurant in Turkey). After slicing a baked potato in half, to make kumpir the potato is mixed with copious amounts of butter and cheese. Istanbul is a melting pot of cultures, and all these influences pleasantly affect the food scene. Tomato, the main ingredient, was first grown in İzmir in the early 1920s. It’s a fabulous place to keep visiting (and eating). Restaurants that are experts in mezes are called meyhane. They specialize in a variety of cold and hot mezes (you can think of them as the Turkish … onto a plate–personally, I prefer the sliced format. In Istanbul, Turkey, local restaurants offer some of the best food and recipes around. The younger lüfer is called sarıkanat, even more luscious if it is available. I intend to plan my sight-seeing (and eating) entirely on your inputs. It’s a bagel-shaped bread covered in sesame seeds typically eaten with a salted yoghurt drink called “ayran”. 5. The most common type of bread is white bread. ı is a strong alcoholic liquor and the Turkish national drink. Mehmet Gürs, the main chef of the restaurant, is a worldwide known chef and carried Mikla to the “The World’s Top 50 Best Restaurants… Traditionally, it has to be the meat of a male lamb that is younger than one year of age. Baklava is the finest example of the Turkish dessert passion. Mussels is a popular street food item in Istanbul. It’s very strong, not sweet, and is often served with meze. Sucuk is dried sausage made of ground beef with garlic and a variety of spices like red pepper, cumin and sumac. Personally, we think that pistachio baklava is the tastiest of them all, but be sure to try several different kinds to find your favorite! If you’d like to taste centuries-old dishes while exploring some of the best food in Istanbul, be sure to visit Asitane! Meze refers to cold starters rather than a full course. Turkish desserts are one of our favorite parts of the cuisine (and that’s really saying something), and a dessert tour can be the perfect way to learn all the ins and outs of the delicious pastries, puddings, and beyond. Hi, we’re Kate and Jeremy Storm! Probably because we have something similar in Russia called kefir. Asitane has one of the most interesting restaurant concepts we’ve come across in our travels, and that alone makes it worth a visit. Explore Turkish food such as pide, doner kebap simit, Turkish breakfast, sea food, homemade food, Turkish style coffee at the best local resturants in Asian and European side of İstanbul. https://theistanbulinsider.com/top-10-things-to-eat-in-istanbul Then the pile of dough is dressed with butter, baked and finally soaked in syrup. Deep-fried doughnuts coated in honey or sugar syrup–what’s not to love about Lokma? It can be cooked with or without meat or even with dried spiced thin slices of beef called pastırma. These two are the most common dishes served to spoil the guests. Each member of the dinner party will select one or more. Balık Ekmek is one of the most popular street foods in Istanbul. The last time I was in Istanbul I had with a hot meal — some kind of meat-filled pastry — and hey went together so-so well! The establishments are in a mighty competition which plays in the cards of the customers. Turns out, I was not alone in my mission to find authentic and delicious Turkish food beyond the trusty doner. That’s where this little shortlist of things to eat in Istanbul will come in handy. Some are served hot, some are served cold, most are served with bread, and all are downright tasty–think of tapas in Spain to get the general idea of their quantity and purpose. Hayvore Beyoğlu's best lunch venue. Filed Under: Food & Drink Tips, Food Tips, Top Lists, Travel Tips. No matter your age or fitness level, our tours of the city’s delicious backstreets and are suitable for everyone. Menemen is a delicious Turkish style omelet. Originally from southeastern Turkey, this dessert is served hot and has a very mild flavor. Thanks, Farid! All the Turkish desserts making your mouth water? Leaves, thinly sliced pieces of döner, are served on pieces of pide, a pita like bread. I will definitely go again and again. That’s wonderful to hear, Mohan, thank you! One of Istanbul’s most quintessential meals is as simple as can be:…. Kuru Fasulye is a stew made up of white beans, olive oil, tomato sauce, and onion, plus plenty of spices. A rather big, very tasty and additionally easy to clean and eat fish. İstanbul is an ancient city that hosted many civilisations, so the food culture is very rich. The best places to have this experience are the restaurants across Süleymaniye Mosque. Even if it doesn’t sound like the drink for you, we recommend trying just one sip–experimenting is part of the fun of experiencing the food in Istanbul! Ah, döner–almost any world traveler will be familiar with what is arguably one of Turkey’s most famous exports! Non-touristic businesses can be even better for this kind of thing–Jeremy once had a lovely, hour-long conversation over tea with a shopkeeper when he dropped off our laundry with him! Tea is ubiquitous in Turkey–whether you’re having a meal, or a snack, or even shopping in a store, you’re likely never more than a few feet from one of Turkey’s distinct tulip-shaped tea glasses. The animal has to be grown in its natural environment and fed with the local flora. Also known as Lion’s Milk, rakı is a strong alcoholic liquor and the Turkish national drink. It’s a bagel-shaped bread covered in sesame seeds typically eaten … Will partaking in tea with a shopkeeper, especially in touristic areas like the Grand Bazaar, up the pressure to buy something? Istanbul also offers wide range of world cuisine such as Mediterranean, Japanese, Italian, French, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese and Thai food. If you ask locals the best place to eat kumpir the answer will always be: Ortaköy. Book a dinner with a local Istanbul family today! The Turks take breakfast very seriously (my kind of people!). Thanks for all the info Kate. Two varieties are the clear favorites: stuffed mussels, and deep fried mussels. That’s what I get for writing too fast and not proofreading enough…. We finished our day incredibly satisfied and with a list of new-to-us dishes to work into our meal rotation during the rest of our time in Istanbul. It may sound a little strange to our modern palettes, but it’s also one of the foods in Istanbul that I think everyone (who’s not a vegetarian, anyway) should most certainly try: it’s unusual, and yet the ingredients are familiar to just about every culture and not very intimidating. 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