Where to go for the best iftars in Istanbul during Ramadan

Where to go for the best iftars in Istanbul during Ramadan

The Guide Istanbul editorial team
May 22, 2017
  • Çırağan Palace Kempinski
    Çırağan Palace Kempinski
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The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is here from the evening of May 26 until the evening of June 24. There are only two meals eaten during the month of fasting: suhur, before dawn, and iftar, after sunset, to break the fast. Being the most important meal of the day, iftar is often a cause for friendly gatherings and public festivals around the country. Other than its religious significance, many traditional dishes – some only available during Ramadan – appear on the iftar tables, especially desserts such as various stewed fruits and güllaç (a milky dessert prepared with thin layers of pastry, pomegranate). So whether you are fasting or not, you might want to try these exceptional dishes from the traditional iftar table. 

There are many restaurants and hotels throughout Istanbul that offer iftar menus, and with so many options, you can experience all the stylish ways Istanbul breaks the fast during Ramadan. Make reservations to not miss out on some of the best iftars in the city.

Hotels

Izaka Restaurants at the CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel Istanbul in Taksim is offering four different, traditional Turkish menus prepared by Executive Chef Eyüp Çevik to be enjoyed with a Bosphorus view. All menus start with Ramadan classics and differ from simpler to more complex dishes for following courses, with the fourth menu devoted to seafood. There are three menu options for groups as well as an open buffet with 120 dishes. Menu 1: 110 TL; Menu 2: 125 TL; Menu 3: 135 TL; Menu 4: 150 TL; Open Buffet: 150 TL. İnönü Caddesi, Beyoğlu; T: (0212) 708 38 38, (0212) 377 88 88 

This year, in addition to its iftar program, Tuğra Restaurant at the Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul hotel is also offering sahur before dawn. Experience all of the traditional dishes of Ramadan in the last remaining Ottoman palace along the Bosporus. Meals are accompanied by traditional Ottoman sherbets and finished off with a dessert buffet. The hotel is also offering an open-air iftar buffet in the garden. Tuğra Restaurant iftar: 295 TL, sahur: 195 TL; open-air iftar buffet: 195 TL. Çırağan Caddesi No.32, Beşiktaş T: (0212) 326 46 46

The Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus Aqua has a buffet with options ranging from traditional mezzes to barbeque and everything in between. With sherbets, some of the best döner in town, house-made mantı, and baklava and other desserts, Aqua provides an unforgettable Ramadan experience. 265 TL per person. Çırağan Caddesi No.28, Beşiktaş; T: (0212) 381 40 59

The Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet’s Seasons Restaurant is also offering a buffet with traditional dishes and a wealth of options from the grill. 155 TL per person and offers terrace dining. Tevkifhane Sokak No.1, Fatih; T: (0212) 402 31 50

The 34 restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Istanbul in Taksim has a menu that changes daily with Ramadan classics and a buffet of desserts from around the word. The restaurant has a lively atmosphere and a private room that seats 10. Children up to six years old eat for free and children aged six–12 receive a 50 percent discount. 145 TL per person. Taşkışla Caddesi No.1, Şişli; T: (0212) 368 12 34

Ramadan in Istanbul

The Brasserie at the Grand Tarabya’s open buffet is replete with live fasıl music enhancing the Ramadan ambiance along the Bosphorus. The menu has a range of loved Turkish dishes, and their traditional Ottoman desserts are not to be missed. 160 TL per person. Haydar Aliyev Caddesi. No.154, Sarıyer; T (0212) 363 33 00

Providing wonderful views of the city’s quintessential waterway, the Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus hotel’s Bosphorus Terrace Restaurant is once again this year offering an open buffet iftar as well as a special set menu per person or for groups. With well-known Ramadan dishes and desserts and limitless beverages, iftar with a view of the Bosphorus will leave indelible memories. Open buffet is 135 TL per person; set menu 95 TL per person. They are also offering a combined package on Fridays and Saturdays of sahur and iftar to meet all the meals of the day for 450 TL per person with room service before dawn. Cumhuriyet Caddesi No.50/D, Şişli; T: (0212) 315 60 00 

The Hilton Istanbul Bomonti hotel’s The Globe restaurant has readied itself for Ramadan, offering a special, set iftar menu Saturday–Thursday with dishes changing daily and an open buffet on Friday evenings, which will feature a Live Cooking Station here you can watch as chefs prepare roast lamb, kebabs, gözleme, and other traditional dishes. Both the set menu and buffet will include favorites from Turkish and Ottoman cuisines and include unlimited beverage service. For groups and company outings, the hotel’s open-air terrace and indoor salons can also accommodate groups between 600 and 1,800 people. Saturday–Thursday 145 TL per person; Friday 165 TL per person. Silahşör Caddesi No.42, Şişli; T: (0212) 375 30 00 

The InterContinental Istanbul hotel’s terrace-level Safran Restaurant is offering a special set menu for iftar this Ramadan with favorite and unique dishes from Ottoman and Turkish cuisines such as ayran aşı and tarhana soup, kebabs, and Kayseri mantı, all accompanied by an incomparable Bosphorus view. No iftar would be complete without dessert, and here you will find güllaç, pistachio baklava, kadayıf, and other favorites from the Turkish kitchen. 150 TL per person. Asker Ocağı Caddesi No.1, Beyoğlu; T: (0212) 368 44 44  

The Istanbul Marriott Hotel Şişli is once again offering its iftar menu throughout Ramadan at its The Dish Room restaurant. The set menu features classics such as cold starters;  mezzes ; red meat, fish, and vegetable dishes; grills; various pilafs; and well-known Ramadan desserts. There is also an open buffet with as many choices as you could ever want. Iftars are also accompanied by traditional fasıl and Sufi music, helping to create a wonderful  ambience  throughout the month with narghile waiting for after the meal. Set menu and open buffet are 95 TL per person. There is also a morning sahur breakfast available for 70 TL per person. Abide-i Hürriyet Caddesi No.142, Şişli; T: (0212) 375 01 00

Wolfgang Puck’s two Michelin-starred Spago at St. Regis in Nişantaşı presents a modern experience with no detail left aside. Spago’s menu has a few twists, with well-known starters done a little differently. Some main dish highlights are grilled lamb chops with harissa aioli, roasted eggplant, and falafel, and braised beef cheek in Indian spices. Desserts are date toffee cake, sorbet, medjool dates, roasted walnuts, farm-fresh fruit, and rice pudding. 165 TL per person. Mim Kemal Öke Caddesi No.35, Nişantaşı; T: (0212) 368 08 08

iftars in Istanbul

Cafe Swiss at the Swissôtel The Bosphorus hotel is offering the options of a set menu and open buffet for iftars during Ramadan this year. Both options will include classic Turkish dishes such as mezzes, palace dishes, pide, lahmacun, kebabs, grills, and, of course, desserts. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays will include live entertainment with the strains of a traditional fasıl ensemble. Groups can reserve private groups and groups of 200 and up have the opportunity to dine in the hotel’s Sultan Park with two hours of live fasıl music to add to the nostalgic Istanbul atmosphere. 145 TL per person. Bayıldım Caddesi No.2, Beşiktaş; T: (0212) 326 1100 

Restaurants

Along the Bosphorus shores, Laciverts executive chef, Hüseyin Ceylan, and his team have prepared a menu with classic starters followed by regional dishes and then börek and vegetable fritters. Mains include lamb pehli with farro and bulgur and a seafood option of gurbell over eggplant puree with mastic. Dessert is a variety of traditional Turkish sweets. 170 TL per person. Körfez Caddesi No.57/A, Beykoz; T: (0216) 413 37 53, (0216) 413 42 24

With panoramic views along the Bosphorus, Feriye Palace in Ortaköy has a menu of traditional Turkish and Ottoman dishes prepared by Executive Chef Aydın Demir. After classic starters, is a soup and börek course. Main dishes include hunkar beğindili kebab, tandur-roasted lamb, and lamb stewed with vegetables. Dessert is an open buffet with many delights to choose from. 185 TL per person. Çırağan Caddesi No.44, Beşiktaş; T: 0538 483 20 21

Asitane in Edirnekapı has a historical menu with dishes once eaten by the sultans—recipes range in date from 1764–1898 for an Ottoman iftar experience straight from the palace. Dishes includes almond and marinated chicken soup, sarma with sour cherries, artichoke in olive oil, fava puree, and lor cheese spread cold starters, hot starters of purslane and lor cheese börek and piruhi—the Ottoman take on pierogi, and mains of kırma chicken kebab, beef cutlet with apricot paste and ekşi aş, and tandur-roasted lamb with unripened wheat pilaf. Dessert is apple güllaç followed by a mixed fruit plate. There is also a breakfast menu for those who want lighter fare. 115 TL per person. Kariye Camii Sokak No.6, Fatih; T: (0212) 635 79 97