Top 7 budget eats in Istanbul

When it comes to food, Istanbul is a colorful labyrinth where you don’t have to go to expensive restaurants to enjoy high quality, delicious local cuisine.

Adem Baba Balıkçısı

Adem Baba Balıkçısı offers the freshest fish of the season. While visitors can enjoy a selection of fish such as scorpionfish served in the style of shish kebab, or horse-mackerel with cornbread, fish soup is particularly popular among frequenters, though only served on Sundays. Satışmeydanı Sokak No.2, Arnavutköy; T: 0212 263 29 33  


While around Nişantaşı neighborhood, one must go to Tatbak. The restaurant, a place of happy childhood memories for many people in Istanbul, is famous for its crispy lahmacun, often regarded as being the best in Istanbul. Akkavak Sokak No.38/B, Nişantaşı; T: 0212 246 13 06 

Zeynel Muhallebicisi

Zeynel Muhallebicisi has been an indispensable spot since early days of the Republic, especially for its traditional dairy desserts and ice creams. However, do not let the word “muhallebici”—pudding shop—mislead you; Zeynel also offers signature dishes such as pilaf with chicken or chicken broth soup. Akkavak Sokak No.11/D, Nişantaşı; T: 0212 296 66 26

Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi

Although there are many branches, the original Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi in Sultanahmet is operated by the fourth generation of the owning family since its foundation in 1920 and has welcomed many famous names, whose photographs are hung on the walls. This is one of the rare places that takes great care of its legacy and authenticity. Divan Yolu Caddesi No.12, Sultanahmet; T: 0212 513 64 68


Over 1,000 dishes are served each year in Çiya, with more than 100 different pilaf dishes showcasing just how far the proprietor Musa Dağdeviren goes in celebrating the diversity of Turkish cuisine. The restaurant’s mission is to offer unusual regional dishes from around Turkey, while protecting village and family traditions in an era of excess consumerism. Güneşli Bahçe Sokak No.43, Kadıköy;
T: 0216 330 31 90

Kandilli Balıkçısı Suna Abla

Kandilli Balıkçısı Suna Abla serving for 35 years right next to the Kandilli pier, is the perfect spot to have a seafood feast in a modest yet friendly atmosphere along the Bosphorus. Silverside, mullet, fish soup, and homemade baklava are well worth a try. İskele Caddesi No.4, Kandilli; T: 0216 308 45 12


The famous ıslak hamburger of Kızılkayalar, a top favorite among Istanbulites, literally translates as “wet burger” and will probably leave you licking your fingers. Since the 1970s, Kızılkayalar has been a leading büfe, a place that excels in fast, cheap food. Sıraselviler Caddesi No.21, Taksim; T: 0212 243 63 53