In such a large and vibrant city as Istanbul there is an abundance of dining options, with cuisine just as diverse as its culture.
It goes without saying that in a city divided over two continents you can experience a vast amount in one day. This is not just taking with regards to adventures in the form of attractions and sites, but also the many types and styles of delicious foods available. The question you have to ask yourself as a food lover in Istanbul is where to begin?
Start the Day with Turkish Traditions
In Turkey, breakfast or brunch is not just something you eat to get you going in the morning, it is a big event and an excuse for bringing people together. Settle into one of the many cosy cafés or bakeries dotted around the city, and don’t forget to order your Turkish coffee to go with it. This art of brewing is so sacred it is protected by UNESCO and is thought to date back to the 16th century.
Make sure you don’t overlook the ‘simit’. This bread is one of the most popular parts of the breakfast. It can easily be bought from street vendors to be enjoyed whilst strolling around. One of the best ways to eat it is with fresh veg, cucumber and tomatoes, feta cheese and olives. If you prefer to eat in the comfort of your own hotel, do not miss the Super Breakfast Buffet at one of the city’s Radisson Blu Hotels. Here you will finds a delicious spread that combines local traditions with international foods, for the ultimate breakfast to start your day.
In the main tourist traps, cafés and restaurants are plentiful, but choose carefully and you will be in for some local treats at reasonable prices. The true taste of the authentic Turkish cuisine is best found if you step outside the tourist areas. Visit Sultanahmet Köftecisi which is said to serve the best aromatic and juicy ‘köfte’ (Turkish meatballs) in the city and makes for the perfect lunch.
The Aromas of Turkey
For the most genuine of local cuisine you just have to take a stroll through one of the many Bazaars and graze your way past the stalls which line the markets. The first stop on your lists should be the Spice Bazaar. This 17th century market place is described as a gastronomic paradise, overflowing with spices, nuts, fruits, olives, Turkish delight, and even fresh fish. You will smell the aroma of Turkish coffee before you reach the stalls selling it, a sensory overload not to be missed.
At the Saturday Bakirköy Market you can buy freshly baked ‘Gözleme’, dough cooked on a flat plate with parsley and goat’s cheese. This tastes even better after watching it made from scratch. Begin your Sunday with a visit to Inebolu Market. This is a food lover’s paradise where you will find amazing organic produce.
Tastes with a View
In a city the size of Istanbul it is easy to find cuisine that fits your palate. This metropolis is constantly evolving and continues to become more cosmopolitan over time. Due to the sheer scale of the city, it is difficult to narrow it down to one recommendation. What is clear is that there really is something for everyone, from wine bars, pubs, cafes, nightclubs and stunning rooftop terraces. One prime example of the latter is NuPera, just a short walk from Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Pera. With majestic views over Istanbul, a meal here will make for a memorable experience. Watch the sun go down from the roof-top of the historic ‘Passage de Petit Champs’, and enjoy gourmet International cuisine, combined with local Turkish dishes.
Allow the tastes and aromas of Turkey and Istanbul to mesmerise and bedazzle your food loving heart. Explore the local cuisine and culinary specialities in this large city that never sleeps.
What food would you most like to sample in Istanbul?