10 Best-Rated Restaurants in Istanbul [Local Insider Tips]

Have the best food in Istanbul at amazing locations!

Turkish cuisine is without a doubt one of the richest cuisines in the world!

You can find specialties of Turkish food culture all over Istanbul. The palace cuisine of the Ottoman Empire forms the perfection as we know it today.

The culinary offer can be categorized into starters (meze), baked goods, meat dishes, vegetable dishes, seafood and desserts.

Try: "The Imam Fainted", "Coiled Turban" or the "Woman's Navel". The most famous and popular snack among the locals is the fish sandwich (Balık Ekmek). Afiyet olsun!

Insider tips from a local expert in Istanbul!

Hello, my name is Boray Cengil. I was born and raised in Istanbul, and I am now working in the tourism sector in this enchanting city. 

On this page, I share with you my experiences in Istanbul, proving to you that you have come to one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Below you will find my recommendations for the best restaurants in Istanbul that stand out for their architecture, scenery, quality of service and professional cuisine.
Enjoy your meal, or as the locals would say: Afiyet olsun!

The Turkish culinary heritage

The rich regions of Turkey supply the country with aromatic fruits and vegetables. For the preparation of the dishes, there is a special and large selection of foods to choose from.

Most of the recipes have been passed on over the centuries under the influence of different cultures. Over time, a rich cuisine emerged that is also similar to Mediterranean cuisine.

It is not surprising that a trip to Istanbul turns out to be a delight to the palate. The delicious variety of street food in Istanbul alone is full of impressions.

Take a food tour through the best restaurants, trendy districts of Istanbul or in classic style through the traditional eateries and experience Turkish cuisine for yourself.

Where to eat in Istanbul?

Find below my list of 10 of the most amazing restaurants to eat in in Istanbul during your trip.

1. Mesai Karaköy

Once your plane has landed in Turkey, the first thing you need to do is to make a list of the delicious Turkish dishes that you must try. So when you come to Istanbul, this list will automatically lead you to Mesai Karaköy.

Located in the Galata Hotel Istanbul MGallery, the restaurant has taken its place in the midst of important landmarks such as Galata Bridge, Galata Tower, Hagia Sophia and Süleymaniye Mosque. Besides its breathtaking view of the historic peninsula, it features meze (Turkish appetizers), kebabs and a professional service team. 

If you want to soak up Istanbul's rich history while enjoying a pleasant dinner in Istanbul, Mesai Karaköy is the place for you.

  • Phone: +90 212 317 34 00
  • Address: Arap Camii Mahallesi Bankalar Caddesi No:21 , 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul

2. Sunset Grill & Bar

One could write pages of praising words about this restaurant, but to sum up we can simply say "WELCOME TO QUALITY". 

This renowned restaurant is located on one of Istanbul's hills and offers a magnificent view of the Bosphorus, combining green and blue colors. Sunset Grill & Bar, one of the best examples of fine dining restaurants in Istanbul, will enrich your Istanbul trip with great options from Mediterranean, Turkish and Japanese cuisine. If your flight to Istanbul doesn't take you back to Japan, this restaurant is the best place to eat sushi. 

There is also a great bar where you can end the evening with great cocktails, while a DJ sets the mood with musical entertainment.

  • Phone: +90 212 287 03 57
  • Address: Kuruçeşme Mah. Yol Sok. No:2 Ulus Park, 34345, Ulus, Beşiktaş, İstanbul

3. Nomads Istanbul

Taksim is the heart of Istanbul, the pearl of the world. I can't imagine a trip to Istanbul that ends without stopping by the Taksim neighborhood. While you' re there, pay attention to the restaurant on the top terrace of the Sofitel Hotel in the heart of Taksim. It is one of the few places where you can have a meal as well as experience the Turkish entertainment culture with belly dancers, zenne dancers (male belly dancers) and darbuka (Turkish instrument similar to a drum). 

I am sure this restaurant will fascinate you not only with its outstanding shows, but also with its delicious food. I recommend you to visit it at the end of your Istanbul trip, because afterwards, you will be so tired that you will have no energy for sightseeing the next day…

  • Phone: +90 533 931 89 17
  • Address: Sofitel Roof Sıraselviler Cd. No:13, Beyoğlu/İstanbul

4. 360 Istanbul

As the name suggests, 360 Istanbul is a high-end terrace restaurant, which offers a 360 degree view of Istanbul. With its unique menu offering dishes for every taste, its evening entertainment program and its extraordinary shows, 360 Istanbul is guaranteed to be remembered long after your Istanbul trip. 

The restaurant, which is located on the top floor of the historic building Mısır Apartment, is visited by many tourists, and I recommend that you to take the opportunity to visit this magical place. 

  • Phone:  +90 212 251 10 42 - 43
  • Address: Istiklal Caddesi Misir Apt. No: 163 / 8 BeyogluIstanbul

5. Spago Nisantasi

Next restaurant, I am sure, will take you on a real culinary journey. Waiting for you on the rooftop terrace of The St. Regis Hotel in Istanbul’s posh Nişantaşi quarter is Spago, a leader in fine dining. 

The restaurant's key ingredient is unquestionably its award-winning Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, who is known to be the top chef that catered the Oscar night for decades. Make sure you put Spago at the top of your list to try the culinary innovations for yourself. You are bound to be delighted by the fusion of American, Asian and Italian-influenced dishes. 

I recommend you to take a seat on the terrace and sip one of the signature cocktails or a glass of wine from the extensive wine selection, while enjoying the dazzling view of the glittering Bosphorus and the lovely Maçka Park.  

  • Phone: +90 549 804 59 70
  • Address: Mim Kemal Öke Cad. No:35 Nişantaşı - Şişli, Istanbul, Turkey 34367

6. Oligark

Let me introduce you to Istanbul's new culinary hotspot: OLIGARK. This complex consists of some of the best restaurants in town as well as a nightclub. Thanks to Oligarks great location directly on the Bosphorus, you are assured of spectacular views of the famous waterway.

Whether you are in the mood for fish, Mediterranean cuisine or traditional Turkish specialties, get ready to indulge your palate! After that, you can enjoy yourself in the trendy nightclub, which is considered the next Reina.

But let me warn you, if you're going to dine at this sophisticated food and entertainment complex, you'd better have your fanciest clothes ready, because this place has a dress code. 

  • Phone: +90 212 265 65 12
  • Address: Kuruçeşme Mahallesi, Muallim Naci Cad. No:58, 34345 Beşiktaş / İstanbul

7. Nusr-et Steakhouse

Attention, meat lovers: this restaurant is for you!  Ever since Nusr-Et founder "Salt Bae" sprinkled his magic on social media, this restaurant needs no introduction. 

The world's newest celebrity chef, known for its top quality steaks, has various branches in Istanbul. My recommendation for you is the one at Grand Bazaar, where even English football legend David Beckham stopped by to get a taste of the famed steak. This way you can also combine this treat with your shopping and sightseeing tour.

  • Phone: +90 0212 568 77 38
  • Address:  Beyazıt Mahallesi Çarşıkapı Nur-u Osmaniye Caddesi Sandal Bedesteni Çarşısı, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul

8. Seven Hills Restaurant

Allow me to present to you one of the best restaurants in Istanbul with a view: Seven Hills Restaurant in Sultanahmet, the heart of Istanbul. Perched on the rooftop of Seven Hills Hotel, this seafood restaurant offers stunning views of Istanbul's historic peninsula. The food features classic Turkish cuisine and international dishes. A clear recommendation is the daily freshly caught fish from the Sea of Marmara. 

With its spectacular view of the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara, the restaurant is also considered one of the most instagrammable places in Istanbul. Immerse yourself in the view of the incomparable Istanbul skyline that we love so much.  Can you imagine a better way to end the evening after watching the sun set over Istanbul's historic Old City?

  • Phone: +90 (212) 516 94 99
  • Address: Cankurtaran Mahallesi, Tevkifhane Sokak No: 8, Kat:3 34400 Sultanahmet - Istanbul

9. Paper Moon

This place is for Italian food lovers! The Istanbul branch of the prestigious Italian restaurant Paper Moon is located in Akmerkez Shopping Mall in the Etiler quarter of Beşiktaş. Paper Moon Istanbul serves exquisite Italian cuisine in a modern and peaceful ambiance. Also worth mentioning is the elegant, architectural design and tasteful décor.

You can choose between pasta, salads, antipasti, veal dishes and pizza. My tip: leave room for dessert - the tiramisu is to die for…

  • Phone: +90 0212 282 16 16
  • Address: Adnan Saygun Cad. Akmerkez Residence Entrance.No:224, Akmerkez AVM- Etiler, Istanbul

10. Mikla

And last but not least, the renowned mikla Restaurant. It is situated at the rooftop of The Marmara Pera Hotel in the hip Beyoğlu district.

Mikla has been listed among the 50 best restaurants in the world several times. I can immediately think of many reasons why. From excellent food and top-notch service, to a rooftop terrace with an outdoor pool and magical views of the city, Mikla has it all. On top of that, the restaurant showcases Anatolian flavors with a new twist and fresh, local ingredients, introducing the “New Anatolian Kitchen“.  I can't think of a better place to enjoy a contemporary fine dining experience in Istanbul…

  • Phone: + 90 212 293 5656
  • Address: The Marmara Pera, Meşrutiyet Caddesi 15, 34430, Beyoğlu, İstanbul

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