While Turkish food has always dominated Istanbul’s culinary scene, there are also some remarkable restaurants serving foreign cuisine that add distinct flavors.

L’Orient

L’Orient Lebanese restaurant occupies a large space on one of the most chic corners of Istanbul, off Abdi İpekçi Caddesi, and its ambiance stands for elegance in every detail. The menu offers polished versions of Middle Eastern classics, such as falafel or mutabbal, as well as wide range of meat dishes. We loved the finesse of execution as well as the rich taste of the home made spicy sausages. We were also surprised by the shwarma; the ultimate street food dish which, at L’Orient, is elevated through its presentation. Prof. Dr. Feyzi Feyzioğlu Sokak No.3A, Nişantaşı; T: 0212 225 96 00

L’Orient

Shang Palace

As the signature restaurant of Shangri-La Hotel, Shang Palace offers the most exquisite and authentic Chinese-Cantonese cuisine in Istanbul. From its dim sum menu to its tea masters, Shang Palace entertains their guests with excellent food and service. Shangri-La Bosphorus Istanbul, Hayrettin İskelesi Sokak No.1, Beşiktaş; T: 0212 275 88 88

Shang Palace

Pera Thai

Pera Thai has been a popular spot for authentic Thai cuisine since it opened in 2001. Sit on the terrace and try the homemade curries for a taste from Southeast Asia while enjoying Istanbul’s summer breeze. Reservations are required on weekends. Meşrutiyet Caddesi No.94, Tepebaşı; T: 0212 245 57 25-26

Pera Thai

Zuma

Another international restaurant that relocated at İstinye Park is Zuma, the all-time favorite Japanese cuisine hotspot in Istanbul. Based on the dining style of izakaya—an informal Japanese pub for afterwork drinks—the restaurant offers contemporary Japanese dishes for sharing: including sushi and robata (similar to barbeque) grill services. İstinye Park, Katar Caddesi No.461, Sarıyer; T: 0212 236 22 96

Zuma

Japonika Sushi

Istanbul isn’t really aspiring to become the sushi capital of the region, so the quality served by some restaurants has not kept pace with local cuisine. But a few places around town have managed to raise the bar high enough to leave their competitors behind, and Japonika Sushi is definitely among them. With as little as half a dozen tables, the tiny eatery focuses on home deliveries. The variety of rolls is plentiful, and its creative options will make you want to leave the boring classics behind. Go directly to the special rolls chapter of the menu. Papatya Sokak No.228, Akatlar; T: 0212 352 00 12

Japonika Sushi

Chalet

On cold winter days have you been craving to drink mulled wine and eating fondue in front of a crackling fire? Then head to Chalet restaurant at Swissôtel the Bosphorus. Only open in the winter, this 100-year-old chalet is an ideal spot, whether for a romantic, intimate evening or a large celebration. While the cheese fondues are a highlight, the menu also boasts many more Swiss specialties. The Buendnerfleisch teller charcuterie plate pairs well with red wine. The fondue bourguignonne, in which beef or chicken is cooked in hot oil and served with dipping sauces, offers complete satisfaction. Swissôtel the Bosphorus, Bayıldım Caddesi, No. 2, Maçka; T: 0543 326 81 11

Chalet

La Petite Maison

The Istanbul branch of La Petite Maison had relocated to İstinye Park and continues to serve an excellent Mediterranean and Niçoise menu. Adhering to fresh seasonal ingredients, the restaurant provides an inspiring and healthy reinterpretation of traditional French cuisine. İstinye Park, Katar Caddesi No.11, Sariyer; T: (0212) 232 02 32

La Petite Maison

Rejans 1924

It is said that Atatürk was a frequent guest of Rejans 1924, a restaurant founded in 1924 by Russians who fled the Bolshevik Revolution to Istanbul. Featuring authentic Russian cuisine and splendid cocktails along with wooden decor and traditional live music, the restaurant welcomes visitors to experience a nostalgic evening. Istiklal Caddesi, Olivya Geçidi No: 7; T: (0212) 243 83 60

La Viña

The d.ream restaurant group’s latest place, La Viña opens it door at Zorlu Center’s main square serving excellent Spanish cuisine to Istanbulites. The menu includes a wide selection of starters which can also be enjoyed as tapas: fried red mullet with a light fennel salad, and Bomba de la Barceloneta (a type of crispy potato dumpling with a meat filling) are just a couple of examples. Also don’t miss those Spanish staples that we all know and love: gazpacho, tortilla, paella, and—Istanbul’s new favorite dessert—San Sebastian cheesecake. Zubizu users get 15 percent off the tab. Zorlu Center; Koru Sokak No.2, Levazım; T: (0212) 353 66 55

La Viña