The culinary scene is one of Istanbul’s main charms, new openings pop up anytime and anywhere in the city. Here are our picks of the best latest restaurants and bars, keeping you up-to-date with the city’s latest food trends.
JW Marriott’s new Istanbul Bosphorus hotel in Karaköy has opened more than a half-dozen excellent food and beverage outlets offering diners a wide range of options. One of the most striking of these is Octo, which features a breathtaking view of the sea and the city’s historic peninsula.
The restaurant’s seafood-themed menu offers a clever blend of Turkish cuisine and that of the chef’s native Portugal. There is a wide range of tempting mezze to choose from, along with a host of exotic main dishes, including green beans tempura (peixinhos da horta), clams in white wine (ameijoas à bulhão pato), and ultra-light cod fritters (pasteis de bacalhau). For your main course, you can’t go wrong with the catch of the day, while there’s also fresh, succulent lobster for lovers of shellfish.
JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus, Kemankeş Caddesi, Veli Alemdar Han No.49, Karaköy; T: 0212 806 40 40; I: @octorestaurant
Focusing on Italian cuisine, Osteria Salvatore offers a selection of classic dishes, including everyone’s favorite pastas and pizzas. The menu includes such traditional Italian staples as Arancini (fried rice balls), carpaccio (thinly sliced meat or fish), burrata (a cow-milk cheese beloved by Istanbul diners), and a range of different kinds of risotto (rice cooked in broth). Cheese and cold-cut platters are also available. The restaurant features a breathtaking view of the Bosphorus and bridge, ideal for business meetings, dates, and Sunday family dinners.
Kuleli Caddesi No.45/1, Çengelköy; T: 0216 422 57 03
The new seafood restaurant Fonduralı in Yeniköy invites diners on a journey through time. In keeping with the old-style vibe of the place, the menu offers tasteful takes on classic seafood dishes, such as cured fish, calamari, octopus, and slipper lobster. There are also several notable dessert options, including roasted pumpkin (when in season) and rock-cherry pudding (mahlepli pelte). On the restaurant’s upper floor, a revolving library wall opens onto a small sound stage, where live music is performed most days of the week. Fonduralı is closed on Mondays.
Köybaşı Caddesi No.146, Yeniköy; T: 0212 223 50 60
The new location of Brekkie, both indoors and out, provides much more room to accommodate the booming demand without compromising the restaurant’s reputation for great food and service. Brekkie’s breakfast staple is a homemade croissant that comes in a variety of sizes. Its extensive menu provides a wide range of choices, whether you’re a fan of the classic Turkish breakfast spread or a millennial craving avocado toast.
You can choose a full plate consisting of different selections, or simply enjoy a croissant sandwich (dubbed a ‘crowich’). For those who, like the French, prefer to start their day with something sweet, there are almost a dozen things to choose from, ranging from the traditional pain au chocolat to ganache-dipped croissants with creamy fillings. There are also tasty breakfast bowls on offer–by popular demand–along with bruschettas on crispy sourdough bread.
Yoğurtçu Parkı Caddesi No.24/1, Moda
If wine-tasting is your thing, Prep is the perfect choice. It offers an extensive–and reasonably priced–list of local wines, along with a selection of wine-friendly dishes and cheese platters. Relying mainly on fresh, local ingredients, it’s an ideal venue for large groups of friends. In your quest to find the perfect bottle of wine, don’t hesitate to ask the restaurant’s knowledgeable staff for recommendations. And if you’re looking to become a connoisseur, Prep hosts wine-tasting workshops on a regular basis. The restaurant usually features live music on weekends, which at night is often accompanied by dancing.
Cengiz Topel Caddesi No.3A, Reşitpaşa; T: 0212 276 40 10
Overlooking the main street of Istanbul’s posh Bebek neighborhood, Cachette is a chic all-day eatery that caters to the area’s demanding residents. One of its main attractions is its spacious terrace, which is ideal for people-watching. The restaurant is also known for its attention to detail when it comes to its excellent food selection. The menu features a number of tried-and-true staple dishes, all of which are executed to perfection. It offers a range of healthy options, from breakfast bowls to kombuchas and green shots, along with a dessert list teeming with guilty pleasures. Evenings brim with an upbeat vibe, replete with signature cocktails and fun that often continues past midnight.
Cevdet Paşa Caddesi, No.69/B, Bebek; T: 0212 229 27 28
Chef Maksut Aşkar teams up with local wine expert Levon Bağıs to create a place they have been dreaming up for years: a wine bar with a menu filled with only local grape varieties. Although the first of its kind in Istanbul, Foxy wasn’t established to set new trends, but rather reflect on the path the owners have already been on, which include wines made by Bağıs himself.
Necatibey Caddesi No.91, Karaköy; T: 0212 243 00 05
What you’re going to enjoy at Alaf 2tek is traditional rakı—as the name suggests, go for tek for single, or make it two if you have company. The food is where the novelty really kicks in: instead of a major display of classic mezze, expect Chef Murat Deniz Temel’s signature combinations that bring to mind his carefully curated offerings from the dining area upstairs. In season, have the sea urchin. On a cold winter day, go for crispy mantı. To call upon the spirit of the historic koltuk meyhane, have a sheep’s head cold cut, which you can easily wrap into a dürüm with thin lavas bread.
Kuruçeşme Caddesi No. 19, Kuruçeşme; T: 0530 979 47 95
Tucked in the side streets of Harbiye, Primitif is a casual eatery for the on the go crowd that isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty. The chef’s focus is on just a handful of meat-based dishes that include burger varieties, sweet and spicy wings, and sausage. Traditional Portugese pastries of Belem, renamed as Dev (giant) Belem, are where the difference, and perhaps the beginning, of a new sweet fashion lie.
Bilgiç Sokak No.25/A, Şişli
The second incarnation of the popular pub in Tesvikiye, Kozmonot reveals a grown up and refined face that appeals to the masses. The biggest advantage of entertainment spaces located within newly developed areas is their size, and the pub’s Bomonti address definitely benefits from that every step of the way. With two airy—yet heated—outdoor areas that are open during the colder winter months, and an eye-catching bar in the center ready to serve crowds, the brand seems to have answered the frequent visitor’s call for more space. As a bonus, Kozmonot will also open for breakfast.
Düzoğlu Sokak No.2, Bomonti
Klar Coffee Co.
An instant classic since its opening day, Klar Coffee Co. is currently the most popular cafe in the Bagdat Caddesi area. Why, you ask? Its celebrity couple owners might have something to do with it, but as far as the place is concerned, it checks all the right boxes to meet the requirements of cafes we all particularly like: really good coffee, all-day breakfast menu appealing to anyone, pet-friendly outdoor space, location close to the busy street yet secluded enough to keep away from the noise, long hours, speedy service, cosy indoors—the list can easily go on and on. Open from 8am until midnight, the place has got you covered with its daily desserts, no matter when your sweet cravings kick in.
Ömerpaşa Sokak No.5/6, Caddebostan
Everything Bagel in Moda might not be the first place in Istanbul offering round pieces of bread with a hole, yet it might be the only one focusing solely on that variety. Unlike thin simit, with a capacity to include a variety of add-ons from scrambled eggs to cream cheese to bacon to avokado, Everything Bagel is easily converted into a complex meal on the go. Whether the local variety deserves the bagel name is another story: to us its texture falls in the middle, between the local and foreign varieties.
Keresteci Aziz Sokak No.29 1A/1, Moda
Tian Xiang Fu Hot Pot
Tian Xiang Fu is the place to go for an authentic and flavorful Chinese hot pot experience. Although each person will have a personal pot, the meat, vegetables, and other food plates are ideal to share. The restaurant offers many soup bases, including the Mongolian basic pot, tomato pot, spicy lemon pot, and different spicy pots. Each of them is cooked with a variety of Chinese spices and has layers of flavor. If you love spicy food, Tian Xiang Fu’s beef oil spicy pot will definitely make you sweat.
Halaskargazi Caddesi No.171/A, Şişli; T: 0212 296 85 55
Eceabat-based natural foods producer, Kilye, has entered the food service sector by opening its first branded restaurant at Emaar Square. Since locally produced food specialties are Kilye’s forte, the restaurant follows that lead with an all-day service of Turkish cuisine, offering a full spectrum of classic dishes. Breakfast options include Kilye’s signature homemade products such as olives, jams, tahini, and molasses. At lunchtime, the place turns into a traditional lokanta with a daily menu, serving busy shoppers and working crowds on the go. In the evening, traditional Turkish mezze steals the spotlight, transforming the place into an elegant tavern.
Emaar Square, Unalan; T: 0216 510 3614
Yeniköy “eski âdet”
Translating to “old custom” in Turkish, Yeniköy “eski âdet” is a nostalgic homage to the neighborhood’s colorful past. Its ambiance, as if recreated from old family photos, takes diners on a journey in time to a Greek tavern curated with care and meticulous attention to details. The menu is a great mix of Greek-influenced dishes with a surprising twist: think mastic-flavored eggplant salad, artichoke paste, or grilled hellim (halloumi) cheese wrapped in grape leaves — all equally delicious. The new custom would dictate that it is enjoyed alongside a glass of rakı, but you might also choose one of the local wines from the restaurant’s well-thought-out wine list.
Kapalı Bakkal Sokak No.3, Yeniköy; T: 0212 223 57 58
Zuko Street Food & Pub
From street vendors to chefs, the city has witnessed gastronomy professionals entering the dürüm race, recently welcoming one more contestant—Chef Didem Şenol, known for her Gram restaurants. Steering away from Gram’s plant-based signature dishes, Zuko puts forward meat-filled wraps, including kokoreç (sheep intestines), köfte (meatballs) and liver. An interesting option is a new take on classic schnitzel. If not on a lunch break, all dishes pair well with local beers, which are also part of the menu.
Orjin Plaza, Maslak
Have you ever had a meal prepared by an architect? If the answer is no, now you have the opportunity to give it a try at the newly opened Tamirhane Mutfak in the industrial zone in Maslak. The inspiring location, tucked in between auto body shops combines a simple kitchen, dining space, and an architectural office of Tamirhane Tasarım that overlooks the entire space. Delicious plates such as salads, wraps, or meatballs are prepared daily. At the end of the meal, prepare to be visually inspired and ready to creatively rearrange your own space as well.
Atatürk Oto Sanayi, 33. Sokak No.1376, Maslak
Mixing nature, good food, and comfy accommodation, Parma Sole turned boutique hotel and destination restaurant checks all the boxes on your weekend getaway list. The restaurant’s menu, alongside Italian classics, aims to highlight the nuances of Parma’s local cuisine, some of which might be known only to those with advanced knowledge of Italian culinary traditions. Must-tries in this category include torta fritta, a puffy, crispy bread pillow for a slice of Parma ham or mortadella; homemade cappelletti (a type of stuffed pasta shaped as little hats) or tortelli (not to be confused with much smaller tortelloni and tortellini).
Sahilköy, Kozalı Caddesi No:23, 34980 Şile; T: 0850 333 12 12
Ringa is a waterfront seafood restaurant in Kuruçeşme, offering eye and taste bud-pleasing options. The menu at Ringa takes diners on a culinary journey around the Mediterranean, from Turkey and Greece, all the way to France and Spain. Before jumping right into ordering from the menu, take a quick trip to the mezze display to get visually inspired for the meal to come: you might suddenly feel the need to choose something you hardly ever go for.
Oligark Istanbul, Muallim Naci Caddesi No.58, Kuruçeşme; T: 0532 066 03 03
Although Kun Society opens in the morning, its true personality fully blooms after dark, as the all-day restaurant and lounge transforms with a magnetizing blend of private club-like vibe and sensational food. The star of the evening food service is the sushi menu crafted by Chef Hiroki Takemura, which boasts exclusive signature rolls alongside the well-known classics.
Haydar Aliyev Caddesi No.204/A, Tarabya; T: 0542 616 34 34