View from Terrace - 360, Istanbul, Turkey


This rooftop restaurant and bar serves a full menu, but skip dinner and go for the cocktails and the amazing 360-degree views. The clientele is young and fashion-conscious.


Set inside one of Istanbul’s many old cisterns, Aheste is a crowd pleaser both for its historical setting and for its excellent Turkish tasting menu. The emphasis is more on letting traditional flavors and spices shine rather than leaning into experimental dishes, and diners can enjoy their meal with wine pairings or one of the inventive cocktails. Due to its setting, the restaurant has a dark, moody vibe that can be great for a romantic dinner or anyone who wants to lean into the history. For a more intimate experience, request a table in the back room. Advance reservations are highly recommended as this spot can book out.

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tables with white tablecloths on a patio with views of the river


With an open kitchen concept and a terrace overlooking the neighborhood, Alaf serves Anatolian dishes with a contemporary spin that can be enjoyed either à la carte or via a tasting menu. The food is on the pricier side, but the portion sizes in the tasting menu are larger than what many might expect of a fine dining restaurant—plus, you are also paying for location.

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Serving elegantly-plated Turkish classics like kebabs and hummus alongside dishes like sea bass and pesto linguine, Arafta draws diners for its charming outdoor dining spaces and unique interior decor.

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This cozy rustic-chic Michelin-starred restaurant set in an old house is all partially exposed brick, old chandeliers and potted plants. The menu is modern with influence from Turkish traditions.

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dimly lit dining room with round booths along the wall


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. The main dining room is done up with sleek wooden walls and Art Deco light fixtures and has high ceilings and an open kitchen concept. Upstairs a DJ plays buzzy music in a lounge and bar space. Diners looking for something a bit less formal should try Ritmo, the restaurant’s third space done in gold and red velvet, where the chef serves small plates and cocktails. (Ritmo can also be booked for private events.) There is also courtyard dining available.

Recommended by an Indagare community insider

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restaurant interior with beige and gold tone and a bar in the middle

Avlu Restaurant

At the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Avlu serves Anatolian cuisine in either a garden terrace or an elegant glassed-in courtyard.

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sear fish filet and a restaurant interior with white tablecloths and red chairs


Seafood-focused Azur has an expansive outdoor dining patio with cushioned wicker seating and views of the Bosphorus. Split across two floors, the interior design is as modern as the food, which is best paired with Turkish wines from the restaurant’s cellar. Keep in mind, the view is only visible on the end of the patio closest to the river.

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Balikci Sabahattin

First opened by a fisherman, Balikci Sabahattin is a (primarily) seafood restaurant that is popular with locals. In warmer months, most seating is under an outdoor tent, although atmosphere at this family-run spot is pleasant inside and out.

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Food at Bebek Balikçi, Istanbul, Turkey

Bebek Balikçi

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. The menu is pricey but the fish excellent and the dishes change daily, based on what local fishermen deliver.

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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. The dining room as an undeniably historic feel—red patterned carpets, a ceiling of metal grates framed in polished wood and old pictures framed on the walls—but the Turkish cuisine is the main draw.

Recommended by an Indagare community insider

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outdoor patio with table with white tablecloths overlooking a river

Biz İstanbul

An elegant, sprawling restaurant with high ceilings and a color scheme of rich orange, brown and gold tones (with pops of bright blue and green glass), Biz’s menu is based off the home cooking of Istanbul, tying together dishes from the past and present. Travelers who want to be in the action should dine in the bar, which faces into the open kitchen. Or request a table near the window to enjoy the views over town.

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Borsa Restaurant

Borsa has been serving up Turkish and Anatolian cuisine alongside views of the Bosphorus and Adile Sultan Palace for the better part of a century. While the interior design was inspired by the palace, the best views are found on the terrace, especially during the warmer months. The service is high quality, and the menu is full of classics like stuffed grape leaves, borek, kofte and more. This is a good spot for a special occasion.

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Cecconi's Istanbul

For travelers seeking a change from the classic Turkish cuisine, Cecconi’s serves modern Italian in a charming covered palazzo courtyard. The woven lanterns, abundant greenery and twinkle lights ensure a whimsical and romantic vibe outside, while inside, diners dig in to pasta and pizza alongside a wall of windows and an open kitchen.

Dinning Area at Çiya, Istanbul, Turkey


Serious foodies consider a trip to Istanbul’s Asian side a worthwhile trek, if only to eat at Çiya. This no-frills kebab shop features dishes from the chef’s childhood home in southeastern Turkey. Look for regional specialties that are unlikely to turn up in any of Istanbul’s more chic establishments.

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With a daily-changing menu crafted from seasonal ingredients, Cuma is a modern Turkish restaurant that can be enjoyed for any meal of the day. The interior feels a bit like dining in someone’s cozy home (without being stuffy) but travelers can also dine on the outdoor terrace.

Lounge at Cup of Joy, Istanbul, Turkey

Cup of Joy - Bebek

In a passageway in Bebek, this tiny coffee shop is a true find for coffee connoisseurs. 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.

Editors' Picks
Food at Delicatessen, Istanbul, Turkey


This dual-level restaurant in Nişantaşi serves as an all-day restaurant as well as a wine shop, bakery and take-away counter. The menu features simple pastas, soups, sandwiches and a few heartier entrees. There is a small terrace off the upstairs level.


Dine like a sultan at Deraliye, where chef Necati Yilmaz has collected historic recipes from Ottoman palaces to recreate at his restaurant. Some dishes are served in embossed silver bowls amidst rich decor like crystal chandeliers, wooden screens and plush mustard colored seating.

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Exterior View - Develi Kebap House, Istanbul, Turkey

Develi1912 Samatya

A bit off the beaten track (and rather heavy on the kitsch decor), the Develi Kebab House is considered one of the top kebab houses in Istanbul. Try the cig kofte, Turkey’s answer to steak tartare (lamb kneaded with spice and herbs) and the fistikli kebab (kebab with pistachios).

fettuccine with red sauce


For a break from classic Turkish cuisine, dine on the elegantly plated homemade pasta at Fauna. This local spot first opened with only five tables, and while it has grown since then, it is still a more cozy intimate experience where reservations are advised.

man preparing coffee behind the counter

Fazil Bey

Fazil Bey has gained a reputation as one of the city’s top stops for Turkish Coffee, with limited seating and excellent coffee.

Exterior View - Feriye Lokantasi, Istanbul, Turkey

Feriye Lokantasi

There is a touristy quality to this place that may remind you of classics like the 21 Club in New York and Tour d’Argent in Paris, but it has an incredible location right on the edge of the Bosphorus with views of the twinkling bridge lights and lapping water.

outdoor patio with fabric covers overlooking the river


Frankie has dubbed itself a “MediterrAsian” restaurant, serving a mix of small and large sharing plates influenced by cultures that span half the world—think a paella-inspired seafood rice dish on the menu alongside duck gyoza. Vegetables and seafood are the dominant dishes here (unsurprising at a restaurant drawing on Mediterranean traditions) and visitors can dine either on the sprawling outdoor terrace overlooking the Bosphorus or inside where floor-to-ceiling windows help ensure you don’t lose the benefits of the restaurant’s coveted location. (Keep in mind that because of the size of the restaurant, even on the terrace you are not guaranteed a sweeping view.) Frankie is also well regarded for its cocktails, and there is a DJ booth that plays music daily. Reservations are recommended.

Recommended by an Indagare community insider

Galeyan Restaurant

Inside the Sura Design Hotel, Galeyan aims to bring the best of historic Anatolian cuisine to your table. The menu is dictated by the seasons, but the best-known dish is the lamb tandoori with two rice pilafs—one from a 15th century recipe and one from the 19th century. The space itself is sleek and modern with touches of history like the old wooden doors hung on the walls. Conveniently located in the old city, Galeyan is within walking distance of many popular sights like the Basilica Cistern, Sultanahmet Square and the Hagia Sophia.

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Located on the Bosphorus Strait, Gallada is the brainchild of storied chef Fatih Tutak, who in 2019 moved back home to Turkey and opened the restaurant inside The Peninsula Istanbul. Here, chef Fatih delivers a unique gastronomic experience, taking diners on a journey down the ancient Silk Road, with foods from Turkey, central Asia and China. In 2022, the restaurant was awarded two Michelin Stars in the inaugural edition of the Michelin guide to Istanbul. Dishes include lamb kebabs, char-grilled kafta with tahini, wood-fired monkfish and medjool date cake with masala tea and whipped buffalo cream.

Giritli Restaurant

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. Şensılay serves as the chef here as well, and her Cretan dishes showcase fresh fish, produce and seasonal products that the entire table can share. Vegetarian options are available.

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Indagare employees walking up stiars

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