The restaurants in Istanbul really start with the street vendors that offer Simit the sesame seed covered rolls, and Açma, which looks like Simit but is softer and less oily. The street stalls near public transportation offer cold drinks, phone cards, hot dogs and thin roasted sandwiches with melted cheese called kaşarlı tost.
Let’s not forget the pastry shops. They count as restaurants in Istanbul too. These tiny shops only have a few tables and chairs, but they are perfect for a quick breakfast or lunch. They serve Börek, which is the flaky pastry that’s filled with an assortment of ingredients that range from minced meat to potato and spinach. The shops also sell pide, which is a pita type dough that can be filled with the same ingredients as Börek.
It’s not only the street vendors and small shops that make great food in Istanbul; the city is filled with great restaurants that serve all types of food. Some of our favorites are:
- Dubb is great if you are a fan of India cuisine. It’s the only good Indian restaurant in the city.
- One of the most eccentric restaurants in town is the Galata House, which is located in an old British jail just down the street from the Galata Tower.
- 360 is Istanbul’s most famous watering hole. The terrace is the place to be seen. The view is exceptional. 360 turns into a hot club after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.
- Asitane would make the sultans of yesteryear proud with their menu choices. It’s a modern restaurant with a flair for serving Ottoman dishes made from historic recipes.
- Cezayir is one of those restaurants that use to be an Italian school. It now serves some of the best Mod Med food with Turkish influences. The crowd is always a cut above the norm, and in the summer the courtyard is always packed with beautiful people sampling exceptional dishes.