Best Traditional Restaurants in Istanbul

When it comes to food taste, Turkey has various flavors to offer to visitors across the globe. Especially if we talk about Istanbul, many famous restaurants are providing authentic Turkish food to visitors. Get a complete guide of traditional restaurants available in Istanbul for authentic Turkish food.

Updated Date : 16.03.2022

Best Traditional Restaurants 

Making this list was as tricky as creating the same "Best known restaurants" list. 

Due to the geographical location of Turkey, it shows differences in taste and habits from south to north, from east to west. Furthermore, the foods of nomads and meals cooked by people with Mediterranean climate also changes. Therefore, the people of one region may not like what the people of another region like. 

Cultural interaction creates richness in this way. Istanbul is where these features intersect.

Considering these features, we have listed the restaurants that cook different prominent dishes from different regions.

Haci Abdullah Restaurant

This is the story of an adventure from 1888. Imagine a restaurant whose operating license was issued by Sultan Abdulhamit II himself. Businesses passed from father to son and have been going on for years with their entire team have always been very valuable. Haci Abdullah Restaurant is just like that. So if you're looking for a delicious Turkish restaurant in the heart of the city that will never disappoint you, this is it.

Tarihi Karadeniz Doner Besiktas

Asim Usta opens the shop at 10.30 in the morning. It serves the most delicious doner in the city. And if you're late, you won't be able to experience this. You probably won't find a place all the time, but this tiny place will be your best doner kebab experience with its leaf-shaped cut.

Istanbul Tarihi Karadeniz Doner

Durumzade

Ten square meters of area, energetic three or five personnel, some coal, grill, and kebab are just a few words that describe Durumzade. It is located in an unexpected corner of the busy streets of Beyoglu. This is one of the favorite kebab restaurants of RIP Antony Bourdain. One thing that makes this place unique is the crispy "lavash" used for wrapped(durum) kebabs.

Yirmibir Kebap

Speaking of ready-made kebabs, let's talk a bit of "Ocakbasi." This is a grill system where you can have any skewer you want right in front of your eyes. Freshly cooked kebabs on embers, tomatoes, and peppers can be enjoyed at YirmiBir Kebap.

Sultanahmet Koftecisi

Sultanahmet Koftecisi is one of the most famous historical peninsula places of the local people. It is like the center of delicious meatballs that you can take as a full bread or service. It is not easy to make a reservation. If you go especially on weekends and noon, be prepared to wait in line for at least ten people at the door. This shows how locals like it.

Sultanahmet Koftecisi

Sabirtasi Restaurant

While walking on Istiklal Avenue, you come across a stand close to Galatasaray Square. Mustafa Bey will be selling stuffed meatballs at the stand. It is a great success to bring the job they continue bypassing from father to son, without changing it, to this day. The restaurant you will reach after climbing five floors in the building where you see the stand makes you feel at home.

Sahin Lokantasi

What do we call a "restaurant"? Here we come across an authentic Turkish restaurant. You choose your food behind the glass, and the cooks serve it. Then, with the food you take on your tray, you go to any table you choose. This should be the place where you can feel every chair is located at home. Meals? They seem prepared, as if a huge family came to visit. 

Sehzade Cag Kebapcisi

First of all, let's figure out what Cag Kebab is? Cag kebab is a kind of kebab in Turkish cuisine made from goat or lamb meat traditionally made in the Tortum district of Erzurum. It may sound like a "horizontal doner" to you at a glance. But even the service is different. Leaf-shaped kebabs on skewers will be an experience for you.

Ciya Restaurant

This is the favorite of the Asian continent. He's one of the favorites of the whole country. Or one of the places that Chef's Table values. Ciya Restaurant is the miraculous initiative of Musa Dagdeviren. A world of Turkish gastronomy where you can find everything from home-cooked food to mezes, from kebabs to flawless sherbets. When you visit the city, do not leave without stopping here.

Istanbul Ciya Restaurant

Agora Meyhanesi 

Turkish meyhane is a story where friends or lovers go; it's not just the destination. You make a reservation and prepare to sit for hours. For hours! You can talk about football, about love, or politics, but most importantly, you should never get drunk because the conversation should continue until the last stage. Agora meyhane is the place that keeps this in the most nostalgic way from past to present. After visiting the colorful streets of Balat, take your place during sunset and enjoy your "raki."

Istanbul Agora Meyhanesi

Hayvore

This is the most authentic Black Sea cuisine in the city, literally. Chard, cornbread, and anchovy pilaf are among the must-tastes. Apart from the pleasantness and speed of the service, it is not easy to find such fresh black sea cuisine in the city. Compared to its famousness, even when the weather is good, it may not be easy to find a place even if it is indoors. But we say wait a little while to see a place. It will be worth the experience for those who like to try Black Seas cuisine.

The Final Word 

If you have come this far, we hope that you have noted our recommendations. We hope you will follow our advice and experience it. Most importantly, do not forget to ask the waiters for the products you will recommend at these places.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the most famous Turkish food?

    With endless options, we can say that kebab is the most well-known Turkish dish.

  • What do Turks usually eat/drink for dinner?

    Homemade cauldron, oven, grill dishes are essential. Meat-based dishes are especially preferred and do not leave the table without salad and soup. Ayran, various sodas, and fruit juice are beverage options.

  • Is there pork in Turkey?

    Pork is not preferred by Turks too much, not only for religious reasons. However, it is not prohibited. Especially recently opened international restaurants can also have pork options.

  • How can I believe that the restaurant is hygienic?

    Severe inspections and restrictions took place in many restaurants after the pandemic period. You can be aware of the inspections thanks to the certificates on the doors of the restaurants. Also, White Lily flag restaurants are the ones that have passed severe hygiene checks for decades.

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