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10 Local Restaurants You Must Try in Istanbul

In an ocean of restaurants and a huge cosmopolitan culture of food, to make “top” list is very difficult. Which is the best for you? Spicy or not? Is food friendly to your diet? Too oily or tasty? Or the most tiring part is that “is the restaurant valuable to go and try”. With complete honesty, we wanted to make a list of our favorite “non-touristy” restaurants. Hope you enjoy it. 1- Aret’in Yeri

After all these years, “Aret’in Yeri” is one of the few restaurants didn’t change it’s service, taste and atmosphere as a local “meyhane”. Mr. Aret and his staff are showing their lovely service and hospitality during the service. There is no push to order something during your stay and the quality of food and the way of their cooking is just feeling like home. Aret, as owner chef, is also travelling other countries for culinary festivals to represent meyhane culture. So proud to have such a place like this. (Must try raki – Girit Ezmesi – Topik – Tahinli uskumru – Dil Baligi for sure) 2- Pandeli Restaurant

Even it’s located in such a touristic district Eminonu, inside of Egyptian Bazaar, Pandeli from past to today has been offering food just like our grandmas cooked. Manager Ozay Cinar is kindly elegantly standing to greet you at the gate each time and hosting you at the restaurant even if you would like to have just a dessert. Chef and staff have been working with him for more than a decade, and you can feel the cultural diversity in this restaurant. Do not forget to have a glass of wine and do not forget, it’s only open until 6.30pm! If you have time in Spice Market district, please have “Hunkar Begendi” here, and dedicate the day for Audrey Hepburn ; ) . 3- Yirmi Bir Kebap

We have a culture called Ocakbasi. You sit in front of the Fireplace, ordering the chef "one more skewer, and another" all the time. Sometimes he asks, "Do you want roasted pepper, brother?". Who can say no? We can't recommend it for vegan vegetarian guests, but Ocakbasi restaurants are the places where you can get to know the classic kebab culture of nomad Turks who consume meat. Since it will be almost impossible to find a place at the head of the fireplace on busy days, do not forget to call the owner Mr Mehmet, to make a reservation and say hi from us. One more skewer of “cop sis”? 4- Bebek Balikcisi

Zeynep Petek Dursun. Remember this woman’s name. Zeynep after all these years decided to take over the control of her father’s sea food restaurant. After her masters in Barcelona, she came back and redesigned the old school beautiful but typical seafood restaurant and modernized the cuisine and service. Now as a woman owner chef she is bringing a new taste to the local seafood restaurant system. Do not forget to ask for bread… not kidding! Have never seen such picturesque breads like that before. 5- Lades Menemen

We love hard working women, standing on their own feet for what they believe. Esra Celikkol, 3rd generation of Lades Menemen is proudly managing one of the best breakfast spots in Beyoglu quarter. If you call yourself a breakfast person, or if you wanna see a simple real Istanbul breakfast table in an original way, Lades is serving it in the most possible way. Do not forget to order menemen – refers to its name, and honey and clotted cream (bal-kaymak). 6- Dogaciyiz Gurme

Once we are talking about breakfast, lets talk about one of our fav breakfast spots. Dogaciyiz, literally serving the varieties from east to west, especially from Antakya city with the border with Syria. Breads and little appetizer size bites we serve for guests are remind our childhood festival days. Our mothers were decorating the table with almost everything and they are trying to give the same service. There are 2 Dogaciyiz cafe. Both are managed by same amazing people but don’t know why but I personally love the simple one on Kasatura Street. Probably it gives me a feeling of a lovely random morning. In any case, if you look for a fresh tea? This is the place too :) 7- Yanyanlı Fehmi Restaurant

Kadikoy, is famous with fish market with numerous restaurants but Yanyalı Fehmi Restaurant has been too less talked restaurant comparing to its history and preciousness. Here traditional “lokanta” culture gathers with the cheerful true Turkish service who have been in this sector for generations. 8- Yeni Lokanta

You are looking for a nice chic restaurant for a romantic dinner, but not sure which to book? Let us to help you with the decision. Yeni Lokanta has been making an unchanging successful progress since its establishment. It is quiet, characteristically too. It's cozy and comfy. The most enjoyable part is that you will be amazed and surprised by everything that is served to your table. Don't forget to say hi to the restaurant manager Ugur from us. His thoughtful service takes Civan Er's Yeni Lokanta to the next level. 9- Georges Roof Top 24 Restaurant

A French in Istanbul. I say snob, you say home; doesn’t matter however it gives you a feeling, ‘cuz it’s best way of snobbish comfortable stay! First of all, I need to inform you that there will not be a sign or name of this restaurant on the door. The café will lead you to the Georges hotel. And a lift will take you to the roof top of this building. Once you reach there you will realized, having a glass of wine is never enough here. Manager Fulya is a real Istanbul lady can help you out with your orders if she is around. We totally trust her taste and how she reads the people. Love the restaurant’s main courses for sure! And be sure you are making it perfectly at the sunset and don’t forget to make reservation before you go. 10- Ficcin Restaurant

A restaurant located on Kallavi Street... no 2... no, 3 I guess... 4... 5... OMG! Ficcin restaurant all around, left and right of the street! Different venue designs, same menu, same cuisine, staff running everything, and delicious food.. This is the biggest combo! We usually go to Ficcin when we are hungry with friends and we are not sure what to eat. Because the menu will definitely give us an idea. From vegetable dishes to meat dishes, this is the most amazing host of Circassian cuisine. Afterwards, don't forget to go to Mikla or Pera Palace for a digestive. That's all from us for now.. It made me hungry even while writing it, tho.... I'm going to go for a walk, walk 15000 steps, walk around Istanbul and will find myself in one of these restaurants.


Sanem Yucesoy Food and Fashion Mag Ps. all photo credits to the official pages of restaurants.

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