Top Tables

Top Tables: Istanbul’s Best Restaurants

Indagare is always scouting for the newest best restaurants, classic spots and neighborhood gems that feel like a special find. Though the restaurant scene changes often, here is our current list of top tables in Istanbul, for any occasion.

Top Tables: Lunch

Avlu

Fatih/Sultanahmet

At the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Avlu serves Anatolian cuisine in either a garden terrace or an elegant glassed-in courtyard only three minutes from the Hagia Sophia. Tevkifhane Sokagi No:1

Balikci Sabahattin

Fatih/Sultanahmet

First opened by a fisherman, Balikci Sabahattin is a (primarily) seafood restaurant that is popular with locals. Seyit, Şht. Hasan Kuyu Sokagi No:1

Matbah

Fatih/Sultanahmet

Located on the terrace of the Ottoman Hotel Imperial and across the street from the Hagia Sophia, Matbah serves traditional Ottoman cuisine (think saffron pilaf and stuffed vine leaves) in a charming setting. Caferiye Sokagi No:6 D:1

Pandeli

Fatih

Any A-lister who goes to Istanbul makes sure to have a meal at Pandeli, a classic Turkish restaurant near the entrance to the Spice Market; it serves mezes and traditional meat and fish dishes. Rüstempaşa Mah. Balık Pazarı kapısı Sokağı Mısırçarşı İçi 1, D:2

Istanbul Modern Café

Beyoğlu

Housed in the Istanbul Modern with a unique industrial décor and an impressive water view of the harbor, the Istanbul Modern Café is considered one of Istanbul’s most stylish lunchtime eateries (though it is a bit pricey). Tophane İskele Caddesi No:1/1

Top Tables: Dinner

Giritli

Fatih

Founded by Ayşe Şensılay, the daughter of a Cretan family, Giritli serves Turkish mezze in an old Sultanahmet house, with a terrace for dining across the street. Cankurtaran, Yeni Güvey Sokak No:9

Karaköy Lokantasi

Beyoğlu

This family-run eatery by the wharfs has a relaxed, brasserie-esque atmosphere and serves Ottoman classics as well as an excellent assortment of mezze. Kemankeş Caddesi No:57

Mikla

Beyoğlu

The award-winning Mikla by Swedish chef Mehmet Gürs delivers in terms of design, Mediterranean cuisine and vista—the view over the Golden Horn is breathtaking. Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:15

Neolokal

Beyoğlu

At Neolokal, Chef Maksut Askar and his creative team strive to preserve their culinary heritage while also leading the next generation of foodies into the future, crafting plates with ingredients not commonly used anymore. Bankalar Caddesi No:11

Turk

Sisli

In the Şişli district, two-Michelin-starred Turk serves modern and elevated Turkish dishes by chef Fatih Tutak. Cumhuriyet Hacıahmet Silahşör Caddesi, Yeniyol Sokagi No:2

Arkestra

Beşiktaş

Set in a 1960s villa, this festive Michelin-starred restaurant combines a fine dining experience with a buzzy night on the town, courtesy the mini club upstairs. Dilhayat Sokagi No:28

Bebek Balikci

Beşiktaş

Bebek Balikçi serves some of the city’s best seafood in a waterfront location in upscale Bebek, one of the northern towns along the Bosphorus. Cevdet Paşa Caddesi 26/A

Sunset Grill

Beşiktaş

This hillside spot has a modern, hip aesthetic and a Japanese-influenced menu plus sushi bar. During the warmer months, dine on the outdoor terrace to enjoy the views overlooking the Bosphorus. Yol Sokağı No:2

Top Tables: Kebabs & Kofte

Çiya

Kadıköy

Serious foodies consider a trip to Istanbul’s Asian side a worthwhile trek, if only to eat at Çiya, a no-frills kebab shop serving dishes from the chef’s childhood home in southeastern Turkey. Caferağa, Güneşli Bahçe Sok

Tarihi Sultanahmet Kóftecisi

Fatih

If you’re looking to get down and dirty with the locals, try Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi, a century-old joint famous for its kofte, zesty grilled meatballs indicative of Turkish “fast food.” Divan Yolu Caddesi No:12

Beyti

Bakırköy

Beyti has been satisfying the meat cravings of locals and visitors since the 1940s, and the chefs take just as much pride in their dishes today as they have for decades. Orman Sokagi No:6-8

Seraf

Bağcılar

At Seraf, Anatolian cuisine is the focus, with dishes based on geography rather than nationality. Meats are ground and kneaded by hand, as it’s been done in the area for centuries, and are cooked slowly over a wood fire. Peyami Safa Caddesi 38/D

Top Tables: Coffee & Sweets

Karakoy Gulluoglu

Beyoğlu

There are many locations in Istanbul to get baklava, but one of the most famous—so famous that they ship nationwide—is Karaköy Gulluoglu. Kemankeş Caddesi No:67

Cup of Joy

Beşiktaş

Cup of Joy is a big hit with local residents, and the owners love to experiment with coffee roasts that are not yet commonplace in Istanbul. Bebek Cevdetpaşa Caddesi Yasemin Pasajı, Bebek, D:53/5

Meshur Bebek Badem Ezmesi

Beşiktaş

This dessert shop sells the classic and historic sweet paste treats—the most popular of which is the almond paste. Travelers can purchase individual sweets or boxes to take home. Cevdet Paşa Caddesi No:53/C

Confectioner Cafer Erol

Kadıköy

This famous candy shop, serving many Ottoman sweets, was founded in 1807. For travelers who love marzipan and Turkish Delight, this is a must-stop on Istanbul’s Asia side. Yasa Caddesi No:19

Top Tables: Drinks

Süreyya Teras Lounge

Fatih

The rooftop lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet blends views of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque with craft cocktails inspired by the peninsula and snacks and starters like charcuterie boards, meze platters and adana sliders. Tevkifhane Sokagi No:1

Biz

Beyoğlu

With high ceilings, sweeping views and a buzzy atmosphere, Biz has a charming lounge space with couches and a bar where travelers can enjoy their tavern-inspired cocktails. Mete Caddesi No: 2

Topside Bar

Beyoğlu

With yacht-inspired decor, Topside Bar on the second floor of the Peninsula Istanbul serves Turkish wines and signature cocktails, all with views of the Bosphorus. Kemankeş Caddesi No:34

Vogue

Beşiktaş

It’s tough to top the views at Vogue, which is set on the rooftop of an office tower in Beşiktaş, overlooking the Bosphorus and serves tasty, if pricey, cocktails. Süleyman Seba Caddesi No:48

Updated onJune 7, 2024

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