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Favorite Restaurants in Istanbul

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Deciding where to dine in Istanbul's narrow streets can be daunting. Playful vendors often holler at passersby, and their charms can make it difficult to pick a good restaurant over a mediocre one. Fortunately, Afar.com contributors have waded through the offerings and witty one-liners to pick out the gems in the Istanbul dining scene.
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Rüstem Paşa Mah Tahmis Caddesi, Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Kalçın Sokak No:11, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The best spot for kebaps and kunefe with a view is Hamdi Restaurant. An easy walk from Rustem Pasa, across from the New Mosque, downhill from the Grand Bazaar and a stone’s throw from the Spice Bazaar, Hamdi’s view sweeps the Golden Horn with the...
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Tomtom Mahallesi, Tosbağa Sk., 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Ara Kafe offers delicious food, and it's filled with oversized prints by the master, plus a case full of his books. One of the inexplicable joys and surprises of a recent trip to Istanbul was the privilege of touring Ara Güler's private gallery. I...
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Alemdar Mh., İncili Çavuş Sk. No:15, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
On arrival to Istanbul, many tourists order the chicken şiş (chicken kebab) for a meal because it's familiar and safe, but they're really missing out on some of the best food in the world! I encourage anyone visiting Turkey to gastro-travel...
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Caferağa Mahallesi, Güneşli Bahçe Sk. No:43, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
One afternoon, I dragged my travel companions—a German, a Turk, and two New Yorkers—to Kadıköy, a neighborhood on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, to dine at Çiya. Everyone was cranky and hungry by the time we found it, but I knew the...
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Cankurtaran Mh., Akbıyık Cd. No:26, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
In the early 1990s, a Greek family refurbished a charming Ottoman home and opened Albura on the cobbled streets of Akbıyık Caddesi. The quality had locals and travelers flocking, making Albura one of the most popular restaurants in Sultanahmet. In...
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Alemdar Mah, Prof. K. Ismail Gurkan Cad No:14, 34122 Sultanahmet/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
We took a friend's advice on what to order with little consultation of the menu. Imagine our surprise when our food was rolled out on its own table by a waiter wielding a blow torch! All eyes turned our way (much to our children's mortification)...
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Tomtom Mahallesi, Yeni Çarşı Cd. No:54, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Chef Arzu Gurdamar runs her kitchen like she runs her life—with whimsy, flair, and a dollop of determination. She is a thoroughly modern Istanbullu, a woman who goes her own way—and rides a Harley Davidson in her (virtually non-existent) spare...
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Alemdar Mh., Ticarethane Sk. No:8, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Nestled in the tourism precinct of Sultanahmet, Rumeli Cafe is an ideal location for dining while people watching the nations of the world from the restaurant’s streetside terrace. Summertime sees the opening of the rooftop dining area, where...
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Alemdar Mh., İncili Çavuş Sk. No:10, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Dubb Restaurant has an excellent reputation for good quality, tasty Indian cuisine that consistently attracts international guests. Located up from the entrance to the Basilica Cistern, the restaurant offers street-side dining on one of...
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Alemdar Mh., Ticarethane Sokak & Divan Yolu Caddesi 39/41, 34110 Sultanahmet/Fatih/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Ask most tourism representatives, restaurateurs, and waiters in Old Istanbul to recommend a restaurant, and most will offer Khorasani Ocakbaşı and Kebabhouse. This restaurant has been a part of the Sultanahmet gastronomy scene for many years and...
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If you revel in gastro-travel, or perhaps you’re pondering how to make Ottoman and Turkish classics back home, then don an apron and broaden your culinary horizons at Cooking Alaturka in Sultanahmet. This innovative cooking school, for groups of...
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Kılıçali Paşa Mahallesi, Akarsu Ykş. 21/A, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
I started walking down Cihangir Street in search of a place with Wi-Fi and ran into Journey Cafe. Few tables, interesting book selection, crowd is a mix of locals and foreigners, all very enticing. Although I wasn't hungry I saw plates of very...
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Tomtom Mah. İstiklal Cad. No: 181 K: 5-6, Tomtom Mahallesi, Merkez Han, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Every day millions of people walk down Istanbul’s famous Istiklal Street unaware of the nearby terrace restaurants offering magnificent cuisine and divine views of the Bosphorus Strait—among them, Divan Brasserie Beyoğlu. Opened in...
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Constantine’s Ark has racked up great reviews since its 2015 opening on a cobbled side street of Sirkeci, where it stands out amid the mostly casual dining options.  Here,  you can expect a polished experience along with a...