Much has changed in Karaköy’s culinary scene since construction began on the Galataport project to renovate and develop the area, yet the neighborhood retains its relevance on Istanbul’s culinary map thanks to several decades-old businesses. Even though they’re located just a few meters from each other, trying them all out easily fills an entire day’s menu.
If there is one restaurant in Istanbul that could never be replicated, it’s Karaköy Lokantası. A simple eatery during the day and a meyhane at night, the place is known for great service, food, and ambience that easily makes other restaurateurs jealous. Open Monday-Saturday, noon-4pm and 6pm-midnight; Sunday, 6pm-midnight. Caddesi No. 37/A; T: (0212) 292 44 55
Istanbul’s morning snack, the almighty simit, comes from many ovens but none of them is quite as beloved as Galata Simitçisi. If you’re on your way to the ferry, get a few extra to share with the seagulls. Open daily, 8am-6pm. Mumhane Caddesi No. 47; T: (0212) 244 77 75
Hailing from the eastern city of Gaziantep, Köşkeroğlu runs two businesses side by side underneath the largest parking lot in the area; enthusiasts of the famous Antep cuisine can feast at the restaurant, while the answer to all sweet tooth cravings comes from the baklava shop. Mumhane Caddesi No.2/3
In almost three decades since its opening, the clientele of Beşaltı Kirvem Tantuni & Künefe might have changed, but the offerings strictly follow the family recipes. Mumhane Caddesi No. 47
Karabatak Karaköy was the café that set the trendy tone of the neighborhood’s new image just a few years ago. Copycats left almost as quickly as they came but this place is still going strong, and its setting for the perfect Instagram frame is an added bonus to any cup of coffee. Open daily, 9:30am-10:30pm. Kara Ali Kaptan Sokak No.7; T: (0212) 243 69 95
Not far from the Galata Bridge, Karaköy fish market is the best place to enjoy fresh seafood in an informal setting. Go for whatever you feel like: a sandwich to takeaway, a plate of seasonal catch in the market’s busy passage, or an evening with friends in a casual garden with some mezze on the side of your fish and a glass of rakı.