Istanbul’s cosmopolitan vibe embraces everything in the city, including its food. No wonder the local cuisines are infused with influences from Turkey as well as contemporary flavors. There are several varieties of Turkey food dishes that you must try out in Istanbul. If you go on a voyage to try every single item of this bustling two continent city, it would take months to finish. We have done the maths and here is the check-list of the best Turkish food items to feast on in Istanbul. Well, grab a spoon, and get ready to dig in…
Best Turkish Foods to Try In Istanbul
Turkish Delight (or Lokum, as the locals call it) is like nothing you’ve ever tried before. Consisting of mouth-watering combinations of chopped dates, pistachios, walnuts or hazelnuts, you will find this food item that comes in a range of colorful flavors to suit your taste buds.
Where to try it? – Sekerci Cafer Erol, Hacı Bekir, Koska, Istiklal Street, Haci Bekir
Don’t forget to try one of the most renowned and delicious meat dishes – İskender Kebab. This dish boasts thinly sliced lamb served with a warm tomato sauce over pieces of traditional bread. We bet, once you’ve taken a bite, you will become a hardcore lover of İskender Kebab.
Where to try it? Bursa Kebapçıs
Manti (Turkish Ravioli)
Pasta-lovers, prepare yourselves. Istanbul has its own version of Turkish Ravioli! The little handmade dumplings (Manti) are filled with beef or ground lamb and topped with a creamy yogurt sauce. The preparation time of this item is a bit high, but once you taste, you’ll appreciate that the hard work pays off.
Pro-Tip: Try Manti with yogurt or butter
Where to try it? Casita Mantı Nişantaşı (Şişli), Fıccın (Beyoğlu), Emek Mantı (Yeniköy), Bodrum Mantı (Arnavutköy), and Aşkana (Ulus)
You shouldn’t leave Turkey without getting your hands on the Mezze, which is a small selection of dishes commonly served with drinks or before a meal. Turkish Mezze often boasts of yogurt with herbs, hummus, rice-stuffed vine leaves (dolmas), meatballs (kofte), eggplant salad, white cheese and of course, delicious, warm pide.
Where to try it? Cumhuriyet Meyhanesi (Beyoğlu), Refik Meyhanesi (Asmalımescit), Kör Agop Meyhanesi (Kumkapı), Giritli Restoran (Ahırkapı), and Münferit (Beyoğlu)
It’s sweet, it’s tasty, and more than that it’s too ravishing. Baklava – A layered flaky pastry, which is complemented by finely chopped nuts. Just order one for dessert in a restaurant or grab one on the go. No matter, which way you eat it, it tastes scrumptious. In fact, Baklava is a classic dish and one of the must-try Turkey food items during your visit to Istanbul.
Note: Eat fresh Baklava with ground pistachios, the taste is going to stay with you for a long time.
Where to try it? Güllüoğlu or Köşkeroğlu.
You will find this absolute classic meal on the menu at most restaurants in Istanbul. Chicken, beef or lamb is grilled and served on a skewer alongside sides such as salad, rice, and fries. It may be simple, but it’s a tasty meal.
Tip: Try it with yogurt
Where to try it? Şehmuz Kebap Salonu, Shish Kebap Döner Lahmacun Pide Salonu
Gözleme – It is one of the easiest fast foods to find in Istanbul and it is the perfect snack to eat on the go. This Turkish flatbread is made from hand-rolled dough and is filled with various toppings, such as meat, cheese, potatoes or vegetables. It’s then sealed and cooked over a woven/griddle.
Where to try it? Yiğit Sofram Gözleme ve Kahvaltı, Anam Mantı
Of the many restaurants, these are the Top 5 Turkish Restaurants in Istanbul that serve authentic local food
- Old Ottoman Restaurant
- Olive Anatolian Restaurant
- Harem Istanbul Café & Restaurant
- Constantine’s Ark
- Sofya Kebab House