Whether overlooking the old city or gazing across the glittering Bosphorus, the city is a great place for al fresco dining during the summer months. Here are Istanbul’s best waterfront, rooftop, and terrace venues that guarantee delicious food with an excellent dining experience.

Waterfront leisure

Oligark is not just a venue, but a destination, with the main restaurant and club occupying two levels of the main building, overlooking the entire open area from a spacious terrace. With neighbors Ali Ocakbaşı and seafood restaurant Ringa along the waterfront, as well as Yada Sushi and Pepe’s Italian in the center of the venue, there is something to please every visitor. At Oligark’s kitchen, executive chef Umut Karakuş prepares a wide range of dishes with Anatolian influences. Muallim Naci Caddesi No.58, Kuruçeşme; T: 0212 265 65 12

Oligark

Located in an Ottoman imperial palace complex, Feriye restaurant in Ortaköy offers a cozy atmosphere suitable for both families and dates. Divided by the central bar, one half of the terrace area features a sophisticated setting, while the other half is al fresco and more casual. The seasonal menu is prepared by Executive Chef Esra Acar Koç. As the main dishes are deliberate and rather small in size, be sure to order some starters, side dishes, or salad. Çırağan Caddesi No.44, Ortaköy; T: 0212 227 22 17

Waterfront bar The 47 is Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul’s collaboration with Monkey 47. The recipe for the success here is proven and simple: colorful and comfy lounge setup by the water, fun cocktails and snacks, renowned DJ performances on the weekends, and last but not least, plenty of cool breeze off the Bosphorus.Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, Çırağan Caddesi No.32, Beşiktaş

The 47

Known for its relaxed and family-oriented atmosphere, Lacivert is set up directly on the waterfront on the Asian side of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (the second Bosphorus bridge), and has a stylish terrace complete with the open-air Quay Bar. The menu features a wide array of seafood and international dishes. A boat shuttle service is available. Körfez Caddesi No. 57/A, Beykoz; T: 0216 413 42 24

Lacivert

Seafood restaurant Azur’s multi-level indoor and outdoor dining areas divide the large space to give the place a cozy vibe. Two outdoor levels ensure that even those who don’t get to sit right by the water can still enjoy the breathtaking view. The menu is a seamless balance between classic and modern. Instead of the usual mezze fridge, there is a long display that includes starters, as well as fresh seafood. Köybaşı Cd. No:71, Yeniköy; T: 0212 299 97 98

Located in an upscale neighborhood next to the Bosphorus, Bebek Balıkçı is one of the best fish restaurants in Istanbul. After enjoying some hot and cold seafood starters, leave some space for either the daily catch, or the more adventurous types of fish on the menu. In our opinion, lahoz balığı (white grouper) is especially excellent against the splendid view of the water . Reservations are essential. Cevdet Paşa Caddesi, No.26A, Bebek; T: 0212 263 34 47

Bebek Balıkçı

A view from the heights

Toast against the spectacular Golden Horn sunsets at Firuze meyhane in Şişhane. The spacious location at the top of the Nejat Eczacıbaşı Building lets the light in, transforming the space into an all-day dining venue. For those craving cocktails rather than rakı, one floor above is the Monkey terrace bar that opens during the summer season. Şişhane Sokak No.5, Nejat Eczacıbaşı Building, Şişhane

Monkey Istanbul

Located on the rooftop of Nish Palas Hotel, Tiraje Teras is wonderful place to enjoy panoramic views of Istanbul from Nişantaşı. The meyhane serves slightly polished, classic dishes in a humble tribute to the traditional cuisine of the region, with ingredients for several—such as atom kokoreç or beyaz peynir—sourced directly from the Aegean. Executive Chef Bahadır Abul’s takes on Girit ezmesi (cheese spread) and lakerda (pickled bonito) are go-to dishes to bring excitement to your table. Nish Palas Hotel, Abdi İpekçi Caddesi No.12, Nişantaşı; T: 0212 803 77 77

Featuring an amazing view of the Bosphorus, 16Roof is a rooftop bar in Swissotel the Bosphorus that opens only in summer. With its Mediteran cuisine, exquisite cocktails, as well as DJ and live music performances, this venue is one of the most luxurious and vibrant rooftops on summer nights. The bar is open everyday from 5pm-2am and dinner is served from 7pm-11pm. Acısu Sokağı No.19, Maçka; T: 0212 326 11 00

16Roof

Combining the cuisine of both sides of the Aegean Sea, Ouzo Roof Restaurant elevates the Greek tavern and Turkish meyhane concept to a fine dining level. Familiar mezze names will show up on your table looking unfamiliar, yet quite fashionable with a modern twist. The main courses range from seasonal fish to duck confit. The spacious restaurant is good for celebrating special occasions with large groups. There is live Turkish and Greek music on Friday and Saturday nights. Wyndham Grand Istanbul Kalamış Marina Hotel, Fener Kalamış Caddesi No. 38, Kalamış; T: 0216 400 00 30

Tucked away on the terrace of an unassuming three-story building in the trendy neighborhood of Bebek, Mangerie is a hot breakfast spot offering both delectable Turkish breakfast platters and more western breakfast dishes like pancakes and freshly-baked pastries. In warmer weather, make sure to score a coveted place on the terrace to have a great view of the Bosphorus. Reservations are strongly recommended. Cevdet Paşa Caddesi No.69, Bebek; T: 0212 263 51 99

Mangerie

Consistently recognized as one of the world’s best restaurants, Mikla is one of Istanbul’s top contemporary Turkish restaurants. With a menu based on research conducted within the scope of the New Anatolian Kitchen, chef-owner Mehmet Gürs and his restaurant successfully stand out in the city’s culinary scene. Armed with one of the best wine lists in the city, the restaurant’s sleek interior is heightened by stunning views of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. The Marmara Pera Hotel, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No.15, Tepebaşı; T: 0212 293 56 56

Mikla

Truly a hidden gem in Beyoğlu’s culinary scene, Nicole Restaurant‘s dishes exude the utmost perfection, fusing contemporary cuisine with seasonal ingredients for a palatal balance that is unforgettable. Located on the top floor of the boutique hotel Tomtom Suites and accessed by an elegant glass elevator, the simple décor is complemented by exquisite views of the Old City and the urban landscape of the neighborhood. Tomtom Suites, Boğazkesen Caddesi, Tomtom Kaptan Sokak, No.18, Tomtom; T: 0212 292 44 67

Spago Istanbul by world-famous Chef Wolfgang Puck is on the rooftop of the St. Regis Istanbul, overlooking the lush Maçka Park. The menu emphasizes the glamorous side of seafood, and also features a variety of wood-oven pizzas, appetizers, and handmade pastas. Open everyday from 3pm-2am, the restaurant offers a wide wine selection, featuring both Californian and international labels that suit both lunch and dinner. St. Regis Istanbul, Mim Kemal Öke Caddesi No.35 Nişantaşı; T: 0212 368 08 08

Spago

Terrace and gardens

With a well designed dining area on the terrace floor of Kanyon shopping mall, Suvla is the place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Levent. Being a well-known local winemaker, Suvla’s wine bar serves not only good wine, but also some excellent finger food. The wine-infused slices of bread served with Suvla’s own natural olive oil will please you from the start. While side dishes and pizza are ideal to share, the main courses are substantial and will leave you full. Kanyon AVM, Büyükdere Caddesi No.185, Levent; T: 0212 353 54 64

MSA’s Restaurant is the training ground for students of the Culinary Arts Academy (Mutfak Sanatlar Akademisi), one of the most important culinary institutions of Istanbul. Located by the lush garden of Sakıp Sabancı Museum, the restaurant offers a tranquil Bosphorus view from the seaside in Emirgan, and a long menu featuring dishes from Turkish fusion to Asian. It is also a good spot for breakfast. Don’t forget to visit the museum’s exhibitions located next door if you have time. Sakıp Sabancı Cadddesi No.42, Emirgan; T: 0212 323 30 30

MAS’s Restaurant

Featuring a different live music program from Wednesday to Saturday, Frankie is the place in summer to see all the familiar faces. Not limited to regulars of the music program, it is also a great place to unwind at the bar with an after dinner drink. There really are no shortcuts on the menu. With excellent service, signature cocktails from the gin bar, and the weekly music line up, at the end of a busy day, you can count on Frankie as a prime location to relax. The Sofa Hotel, Teşvikiye Caddesi No.41-41 A, Nişantaşı; T: 0212 230 66 66

Neolokal is another world-renowned restaurant in Istanbul. Located on the roof of SALT Galata, the restaurant overlooks the old city’s skyline. Reserve your table right next to floor to ceiling windows and enjoy the view while taking a journey through contemporary Turkish cuisine. You can also take a peek at the open kitchen, where Executive Chef Maksut Aşkar and his team prepare creative, delicious, and eye-catching plates. SALT Galata, Bankalar Caddesi No.11/1, Karaköy; T: 0212 244 00 16

Neolokal

Located on a hilltop in Ulus Park, Sunset Grill & Bar is awe-inspiring both for its food and its view of the Bosphorus. This long standing fine-dining venue offers international and Japanese cuisines at their finest, along with a few select Turkish dishes. The sushi bar specials are unquestionably outstanding and are the highlight of Sunset’s menu. All items from the restaurant are also available at the bar, while a special bar menu with delicacies such as duck spring rolls or grilled lamb satay is also available. Yol Sokak No.2, Ulus; T: 0212 287 03 57

Sunset Grill & Bar

To find a taste of the American South, head to RustyFork in Etiler. Start with the nachos and brisket spring rolls with bourbon BBQ sauce. The ribs are an absolute must-try, offered in both beef or pork, marinated, and cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection. During summer, enjoy your delicious meal in the restaurant’s spacious backyard, where the quiet ambiance allows you to briefly escape the noisy Istanbul streets. Nispetiye Caddesi No.64, Etiler, T: 0212 263 10 21

RustyFork