Declare your statement of gustatory selectiveness by veering away from the usual kebab stands and encyclopedic menus, which Sultanahmet is heavily decorated with, and head to one of our picks of the best.
As you might expect from the Four Seasons Hotel, their restaurant is pretty spectacular. It is housed in a huge glass pavilion, with both indoor and outdoor areas, beautiful lacquered wood surfaces and mosaic tables lending it an almost Moroccan look. The food is excellent (Ottoman and contemporary Turkish to suit the discerning clientele), as is the service. Tevkifhane Sokak No.1 Four Seasons Hotel, Sultanahmet; T: (0212) 402 30 00
Nar Lokanta offers excellent Anatolian cuisine and showcases Nar Gourmet’s product line that specializes in all-natural regional products from throughout Anatolia. Offering traditional Turkish food at its freshest and lightest, the menu features familiar Turkish classics as well as a number of less common regional dishes, covering everything from Ottoman palace dishes to humble village fare. Armaggan, Nuruosmaniye Caddesi No.65 5th Floor, Nuruosmaniye; T: (0212) 522 28 00
Housed in a wonderfully restored Ottoman mansion, this restaurant is nestled behind Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque on a quiet side street. A delicious range of cold and warm starters, salads, and fish are available, to be rounded off with light deserts and drinks. Seyt Hasankuyu Sokak No.1, Sultanahmet; T: (0212) 458 18 24
Promising to take guests on a journey back in time, Matbah restaurant offers authentic Ottoman cuisine with a location near the Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia. Dishes from the Ottoman court are prepared staying true to the minute details of the original recipes. Caferiye Sokak No.6, Sultanahmet; T: (0212) 514 61 51
This is one of the new meyhane (meze bar) places housed in a 2-story building with a beautiful garden. It specializes in Aegean & Mediterranean cuisine, with a great selection of meze, and its fish is prepared with special herbs according to Turkish style. Keresteci Hakkı Sokak No.8 Ahırkapı, Cankurtaran; T: (0212) 458 22 70
Specializes in both casual business lunches and more formal dinners, offering a lighter version of traditional Ottoman cuisine. Overlooking the Hagia Sofia and the surrounding city skyline, the most striking aspect of the décor are the wrap-around floor to ceiling windows that display a panoramic view of the surrounding area. Ebusuud Caddesi No.18 Hotel Yaşmak Sultan, Sultanahmet; T: (0212) 512 86 76
Not much needs to be said about this historical restaurant that has been serving up köfte (Turkish style meatballs) and piyaz since its inception in 1920. Four generations have not altered the taste of the classic and this spot is very popular for a quick lunch before heading to the next site of interest. Divanyolu Caddesi No.12, Sultanahmet; T: (0212) 520 05 66
Open since 1961, this is a great place to head to for some tea and an assortment of delicious and classic Turkish pastries. The börek (flaky pastry with meat or cheese filling) as well as cakes come recommended. Divanyolu Caddesi No.62/A, Sultanahmet; T: (0212) 526 88 59
For a little bit of a change from Turkish food, head to this restaurant that specializes in Northern Indian cuisine. The menu includes soups and salads, curry dishes (vegetarian as well as meat and chicken), a variety of Tandoori dishes, delicious naan breads, and desserts. Incili Çavuş Sokak No.10, Sultanahmet; T: (0212) 513 73 08
The simple menu at this fish restaurant focuses on fresh fish and meze, serving a low key crowd, in an informal setting. The fresh grilled fish of the day is always delicious and fresh, and it never dissappoints. Keresteci Hakkı Sokak No.46, Cankurtaran; T: (0212) 518 49 88
This article was updated on September 3.