Best Restaurants in Istanbul
The best places to eat in Istanbul are deliciously diverse. Feast like an Ottoman Emperor on fabulous traditional cuisine at Asitane or try cutting-edge fusion delicacies at Mikla. In summer, be sure to dine alfresco on the many rooftop and terrace restaurants that offer breathtaking views of Istanbul and the glittering Bosphorus Strait. The city’s position between prominent European and Asian countries allows for cuisine inspired by international styles and ingredients, while exquisite seafood is regularly at the forefront of Istanbul’s best restaurants. These are our picks of the best restaurants in Istanbul, Turkey.
Opened in 1993, Ulus 29 is the perfect place to view Bosphorus and the bridges of Istanbul from the restaurant’s terraces in the summer. Ulus 29 centers on gastronomic concepts with traditional cooking methods to offer regional cuisine with seasonal freshness. The restaurant makes its own dry-aged meats as well as ice cream and pasta for an authentic experience when searching for where to eat in Istanbul. Opt for gastronomy-focused dishes, classic Turkish fare or sushi. A wine list of roughly 4,500 bottles includes labels Enjoy cocktails at the Teras Bar, or choose a lively evening at the Ulus Club 29 to dance along to international DJs on the weekends.
At Râna, formerly known as Topaz, the best of Mediterranean and Ottoman cuisine come together. Overlooking the Bosphorus, the serene atmosphere of Râna recalls the stone it is named after in its geometric design that is complemented by modern decor. The restaurant offers two tasting menus: modern and traditional. The first comprises innovative dishes like goose liver terrine with cranberry marmalade and walnut, while the latter includes classics like Turkish ravioli with beef and strained yogurt. Râna’s wine list has acquired national recognition with an award from local magazine Gusto and the staff is happy to provide pairings on request.
With Istanbul wedged between Eastern and Western influences, Banyan’s motto of “food for the soul” describes the Asian fusion fare it serves. Healthy cuisine with Asian roots is savored on the top floor of a historical building, offering striking views of the city below. Dishes like Sichuan pepper steak, duck satay and dim sum are just a few of the options on order to be enjoyed with tea, fresh juice or a cocktail. Whether dining indoors or outdoors, the lights of surrounding Istanbul are sure to dazzle from this local favorite.
St. Regis Brasserie
For expert French cuisine in Istanbul, look no further than St. Regis Brasserie. Housed in the luxury St. Regis Istanbul hotel, the intimate restaurant comprises both indoor and outdoor dining areas with elegant accents like oak, brass and onyx. The fare is seasonal, including contemporary, French-inspired dishes with a Turkish touch. An expansive menu includes a variety of salads, handcrafted pasta and sandwiches among appetizers and main courses. Try the St. Regis Brasserie meatballs or pan-fried black bream with a signature Bloody Mary from the cocktail menu. Be sure to leave room for dessert – the restaurant offers raspberry cake, rice pudding, tiramisu and mascarpone cheese cake.
Turkish culture and cuisine are at the heart of this Istanbul restaurant. Both the menu and the setting are inherently Turkish – decor features traditionally Turkish accents while dishes recall Ottoman recipes dating back thousands of years. Nar includes an indoor dining room as well as three terraces and a rooftop for the warmer months and private parties. You’ll never find out-of-season produce at this Istanbul establishment – all dishes are crafted to be seasonal and fresh. As with traditional Turkish cuisine, many of the main courses feature lamb (shoulder of lamb, braised lamb shank, stew with lamb), but seafood dishes like filet of sea bass and prawn casserole are also available to order.