Top 10 Restaurants in Istanbul


 

Istanbul, one of the most visited cultural capitals in the world, hosts numerous high-quality restaurants that serve the finest examples of Turkish food and world cuisine. These restaurants serve dishes from traditional doner kebab to local seafood, from historical Middle Eastern tastes to European cuisine and from East Asian flavors to Mediterranean cuisine.

Since Istanbul is an attraction point for visitors coming from all around the world, it would be useful to share the best and most popular restaurants in the city. In this article, we will examine the Top 10 Restaurants in Istanbul. These restaurants were picked according to the richness of their menu, the quality and taste of their food and the atmosphere they are offering to food lovers.

1) Maiden’s Tower Restaurant

Maiden’s Tower Restaurant, image sourced from Pixabay

A 2.500 years-old inheritance from the Romans “Maiden’s Tower” (Kız Kulesi) is a historical place, built by the Roman Empire around the year B.C. 410. It was constructed on a small island on the Bosporus, the waterway that separates Istanbul into two different continents like Europe and Asia.

The modern Maiden’s Tower Restaurant has been in service since 1995 with a highly diverse menu containing food from traditional Turkish meat dishes to Mediterranean seafood. The restaurant also serves breakfast in the mornings between 09:00 and 13:00.

There is no dress code in the Maiden’s Tower Restaurant for breakfast and lunch. But for dinner, visitors are asked not to wear shorts, capris and tracksuits.
In order to reach the island during day time, visitors should take the boats provided by the Maiden’s Tower Restaurant, shuttling once per hour. Shuttle boats move once per 15 minutes during dinner time. Boats move both from the European and the Asian side of the Bosporus.

With its wonderful Bosporus view, Maiden’s Tower restaurant is a must-see place both for food lovers and for history enthusiasts, and easily deserves to be in our list of Top 10 Restaurants in Istanbul.

Practical Information
Location: On Maiden’s Island on Bosporus
Prices: For a two-person menu with alcoholic beverages, approximate price is 75-80 Euros.
Shuttle locations: Shuttle boats move from Kabataş Pier (Europe) and Salacak Pier (Asia)

2) Lacivert Restaurant

Lacivert Restaurant, image sourced from their website

Pleasure of dining with authentic food “Lacivert” is a well-known restaurant located in an old mansion on the Asian side of the Bosporus. With its amazing Bosporus view and a menu full of authentic dishes, Lacivert is providing an impressive dining atmosphere for its customers.  Lacivert’s menu involves unique tastes like “Marinated Sea Bass with Orange and Fennel”, “Beykoz Style Trotting Soup”, “Baby Artichoke with Pine Nuts” and “Fried Pumpkin Flower”, making it rightfully entering our list of Top 10 restaurants in Istanbul.

By the way, for the visitors coming from the European side of Istanbul, a shuttle boat is operating between Rumeli Hisarı Pier and Lacivert Restaurant.
People, who wish to eat at Lacivert Restaurant, should not forget to make a reservation before their visit, as the restaurant always works with full capacity throughout the year.

Practical Information
Location: Anadolu Hisarı (Asian side of Istanbul)
Prices: For a two-person menu with alcoholic beverages, approximate price is 65-70 Euros.

3) 360 Istanbul

360 Istanbul, image sourced from the official website

Enjoying local food with a 360 degrees view of Istanbul, 360 Istanbul is one of the most popular restaurants in Istanbul serving food from both Turkish and world cuisines accompanied with high quality live music performances.

360 Istanbul is located on the terrace of historical Mısır Apartment by having a panoramic view of the city. 360 Istanbul is famous with its “Slowly Roasted Cherry Duck”, “Duck Confit Pappardelle” and a rich list of rarely found wines. In this restaurant, there is also a bar section working like a club with live music and DJ performances, especially in weekends.

360 Restaurant is located in Taksim region, making it one of the most easily accessible food places in our list of Top 10 Restaurants in Istanbul. You can reach this restaurant by a 10 minutes long walk from the Taksim Square or by a 5 minutes long walk from the Şişhane metro station.

Practical Information
Location: Taksim (European side of Istanbul)
Prices: For a two-person menu without alcoholic beverages, approximate price is 70-75 Euros.

4) Nusr-Et Steakhouse in Etiler: The Kingdom of Salt Bae

Image sourced from official website

Among the restaurants we mention in this list of Top 10 Restaurants in Istanbul; Nusr-et is, without any doubt, the most famous and globally recognized one.

Founded and run by famous Turkish butcher Nusret Gökçe (a.k.a. Salt Bae), Nusr-et restaurants have spread all over the world; from Miami to New York, from Doha to Dubai. “Nusr-et Steakhouse in Etiler” is the first place Nusret Gökçe opened as a part of his chain of restaurants.

Especially after Nusret Gökçe became an internet sensation on social media with the nickname “Salt Bae”, his restaurant in Etiler has become a bigger attraction point both for local people and for tourists. On the other hand, Nusr-et Restaurant’s success in not only based on its owner’s eccentric image, but also on the quality of food served here.

Nusr-et Steakhouse is only serving meat dishes; mainly beefsteaks, fillet steaks, sirloin steaks, chop steaks, meat balls and burgers. Prices are above average due to the quality of meat and fame of its owner.

Practical Information
Location: Etiler (European side of Istanbul)
Prices: For a two-person menu with alcoholic beverages, approximate price is 115-120 Euros.

5) Ajia Restaurant: A luxury riverside escape at the Bosporus

Image sourced from their official website

Ajia Restaurant is a part of Ajia Hotel, which was established in historical Ahmet Rasim Pasha Mansion located on the Bosporus shore of Kanlıca. The restaurant is rendering service to food lovers since the year 2004.

Ajia Restaurant is offering a unique food experience with dishes like “Braise-style Sheep Shank”, “Jugged Swordfish” and “Risotto with Chestnut and Shrimp”. Ajia Resturant is also serving brunch for visitors who wish to enjoy the amazing Bosporus view on Sunday mornings.

Practical Information
Location: Kanlıca (Asian side of Istanbul)
Prices: For a two-person menu with alcoholic beverages, approximate price is 65-70 Euros.
Shuttles: There is no shuttle service

6) Secret Garden Restaurant: A sincere place to enjoy local tastes

Secret Garden Restaurant located in a boutique hotel, image sourced from their website

16 kilometers away from the shores of Istanbul, there lay the Princes’ Islands, a chain of Islands visited by local people and tourists throughout the year. The biggest and most popular one of these islands is Büyükada. And Büyükada’s most popular restaurant is the “Secret Garden Restaurant”.

Secret Garden is located only 300 meters away from the pier of Büyükada. It is a part of Ada Palas Hotel.

Secret Garden is a cozy looking, sincere family enterprise, making it different than other restaurants we mention in our list of Top 10 Restaurants in Istanbul. With its small garden and limited capacity, Secret Garden is appealing to people who want to enjoy local tastes in a candid and friendly atmosphere.

Practical Information
Location: Büyükada
Prices: For a two-person menu with alcoholic beverages, approximate price is 50 Euros.
Transportation: The last ferry departs from Büyükada at 00:00. If you miss that ferry, then you will have to stay at a hotel to spend the night. For full schedule of ferries working between Istanbul and Princes’ Island, please check this here.

7) Aya Yorgi Countryside Restaurant: Enjoying local food after a hard walk

Image sourced from Aya Yorgi website

“Aya Yorgi Countryside Restaurant”, also known as Yüceltepe Countryside Restaurant, is located at the top of a hill in Büyükada. In order to reach this restaurant and enjoy its delicious food, food lovers should be ready to face a long walk on a very steep hill.

If you afford to do that and complete a hiking of around 45 minutes, your award will be magnificent. At the top of this hill, there is a historical church decorated with eyeful artifacts. Near this church, Aya Yorgi Countryside Restaurant is awaiting for those undeterred walkers.

Even though reaching to Aya Yorgi Countryside Restaurant is a lot harder than other restaurants we mentioned in this article of Top 10 Restaurants in Istanbul, quality of food and the sea view you will have here will be no lesser than others.

You can enjoy traditional food like “shish kebab”, “savory pastry pockets” and “stuffed vine leaves” here while consuming your alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages cozily.

Practical Information
Location: Büyükada (On top of Aya Yorgi Hill)
Prices: For a two-person menu with alcoholic beverages, approximate price is 50 Euros.
Transportation: Once you reach Büyükada, you can take a phaeton and go to the Amusement Park Square. From this square, you should walk up to the Aya Yorgi Hill since there is no transportation to the hill top.

8) Eleos Restaurant: A bit of Greek food culture

Image sourced from the Eleos website

Eleos Restaurant is located in Taksim, the heart of Istanbul, on a terrace overlooking the Bosporus. Thanks to its easy accessibility, Eleos is a main attraction point for people who want to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine, especially the Greek dishes. Eleos is aiming to combine the traditional Greek tavern culture with the seafood of the Mediterranean region. Therefore, especially starters are carefully chosen and cooked here, in order to meet the expectations of food lovers who want to experience the Aegean food culture in Istanbul.

By the way, Eleos is an award winning place, prized by both national and international news organs like National Geographic, Hürriyet Newspaper and Gusto Gourmet Magazine, making it an important part of our list for Top 10 Restaurants in Istanbul.

Practical Information
Location: Taksim (European side of Istanbul)
Prices: For a two-person menu without alcoholic beverages, approximate price is 75-80 Euros.

9) Leb-i Derya Restaurant: Elegancy at its finest

Image sourced from the official website

“Leb-i Derya” has been known as a major attraction point for food lovers and for couples aiming to have a romantic dinner while watching the amazing view of the Bosporus. Leb-i Derya is at the terrace of a building in Taksim region, only 15 minutes walking distance from Taksim Square and 3 minutes walking distance from Şişhane metro station.

Leb-i Derya serves excellent dishes both from world cuisine and Turkish cuisine; like “Marinated Zucchini”, “Lamb Shish with Damson Plum” and “Grilled Meatballs with Shrimp”. Leb-i Derya also presents a rich menu of alcoholic beverages, mostly focusing on locally produced red wines, white wines and traditional Turkish drink “Raki”.

Practical Information
Location: Taksim (European side of Istanbul)
Prices: For a two-person menu without alcoholic beverages, approximate price is 65-70 Euros.

10) Vogue Restaurant: A successful presentation of the East Asian cuisine

Dish at Vogue, image sourced from their official website

“Vogue Restaurant” is a relatively new place when compared to other restaurants we shared on our list of Top 10 Restaurants in Istanbul. Founded at the top of BJK Plaza in 2009, Vogue has managed to become a popular place in a short time.

While Vogue Restaurant is offering a wide range of dishes from the cuisines of various countries and cultures, its special interest in Japanese food is making it a unique place in Istanbul. Various sushi meals, barrowed from Japanese cuisine, are served to guests who want to experience the unique taste of the Far East while enjoying the beautiful view of the Bosporus.

Practical Information
Location: Beşiktaş (European side of Istanbul)
Prices: For a two-person menu without alcoholic beverages, approximate price is 110-120 Euros.