Some restaurants are built around the talent and charisma of one person—the executive chef—who goes above and beyond managing the kitchen. Their one-person brand ensures that, wherever they decide to go next, their fans will definitely follow.

Araka

Having disappeared for a while after Sabancı Museum’s famous Changa restaurant closed its doors in 2017, chef Pınar Taşdemir began slowly cooking up her own project which came to life in Yeniköy. Araka‘s dishes immediately bring to mind Changa’s aesthetics, being utterly delicious as well as very beautiful. If you have the chance to try the restaurant’s first menu, don’t hesitate to start with the cauliflower and follow it with smoked bonito. Kapalı Bakkal Sokak No.8, Yeniköy; T: 0212 223 72 23

Araka

Neolokal

Maksut Aşkar of Neolokal is constantly up for a culinary challenge, staying true to his roots and building on centuries-old Turkish culinary tradition by adding his own ideas and twists. With more than two decades of professional experience, he still believes there is plenty for him to learn, and his student-like curiosity has made him one of the most talked about chefs on Istanbul’s culinary scene. Keep an eye on the upcoming pop-up dinners where he teams up with celebrity chefs from all over the world. Bankalar Caddesi No.11; T: 0212 244 00 16

Neolokal

Nicole

Nicole is definitely the fanciest venue on our list, but with only a handful of tables it creates a memorable setting for classy, intimate gatherings. Aylin Yazıcıoğlu’s creative dishes are a legend around town, ensuring both comfort and surprise on the same plate. Tomtom Kaptan Sokak No.18, Tomtom; T: 0212 292 44 67

Nicole

Yeni Lokanta

One of the best contemporary eateries in Beyoğlu, Yeni Lokanta could easily become your favorite dining spot during the colder months. Browse through Civan Er’s selection of dishes to share as moody lighting brings out the best of the conversation. Kumbaracı Yokuşu No.66, Tomtom; T: 0212 292 25 50

Yeni Lokanta

Amanda Bravo

Chef İnanç Baykar knows that dining out should be about quality and his menu at Amanda Bravo is a celebration of fresh, seasonal ingredients—short enough that a group of four could easily have it all in one go, yet perfectly balanced to ensure surprises on the palate each time you visit. Emirgan Sokak No.20, Sarıyer; T: 0212 277 15 16

Amanda Bravo

Antica Locanda

Antica Locanda is a place we frequent with pleasure for two reasons: the restaurant’s beautiful location and chef Gian Carlo Talerico’s exquisite menu. All occasions—from date nights to family gatherings to friendly get-togethers—turn into festive celebrations thanks to the owners’ attention to detail and the passion reflected in every dish. Satış Meydanı Sokak No.12, Arnavutköy; T: 0533 597 94 45

Antica Locanda

Mittag

A daytime eatery with daily specials, Mittag is one of those places we all wish there were more of. Fatma Yıldırım goes above and beyond to make your late breakfast and lunch exciting, changing the courses according to the seasonal availability of the produce. Kongre Caddesi No.63, Sarıyer; T: 0212 323 61 25

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Mittag

TOI

After 2016’s move from Akaretler to Kuruçeşme, İsmet Saz’s TOI is cosier than ever. The menu changes every six weeks so always try something new but never neglect the classics, such as Saz’s famous beef Wellington. Kuruçeşme Caddesi No.11, Kuruçeşme; T: 0212 258 00 29

TOI