The Best Places for Turkish Breakfast in Istanbul

Take a tour of the best breakfasts in Istanbul
Take a tour of the best breakfasts in Istanbul | © Maria Kazanova / Alamy Stock Photo
Sara Faruqi

A Turkish breakfast can take many forms. The most famous is the extravagant traditional spread; it has roots in the Ottoman empire, when royals would eat a selection of foods such as cheese, jam, honey with clotted cream, bread and olives. But breakfast in Istanbul means variety – so from no-frills cafes serving traditional Turkish tea to restaurants making French omelettes, here’s our local guide to finding the best breakfast in Istanbul.

Hacer Anne’s gözleme stall

Vogue Turkey food editor Cemre Narin loves the small gözleme (Turkish flatbread) stall at the Feriköy Organic Market, held on Saturdays. Although it is a gözleme stand, she often comes to see what new flavour of borek the stall owner, Hacer Anne, has created. Traditionally, borek is a thin pastry stuffed with either minced meat, spinach, potatoes or cheese, but Anne likes to change it up. Her borek is beautifully hand-rolled at home then served in tin trays at the bazaar. In winter she makes a pumpkin and ginger borek; her summer go-to is a savoury tomato version.

Kafadaroğlu

Turkish su börek (water borek) is a traditional form of borek that looks a bit like lasagne with thin layers of pastry. It’s notoriously difficult to make, and food guide Uğur Ildız recommends trying it at his favourite place in Beşiktaş, Kafadaroğlu – here, you can enjoy breakfast and Turkish tea at a no-frills restaurant offering some of the best su börek in the city.

Minoa

For the busy Istanbulite, breakfast is often a freshly baked pastry. Speciality coffee shops such as the cafe-bookstore Minoa in Akaretler offer a peaceful ambiance and fresh takes on traditional baked goods, including pogača, açma and simit (all varieties of bread). Narin, who likes relaxing here with a cup of coffee, says they have some of the best cakes, tarts and pies in the city. She recommends browsing the bookstore after breakfast and then returning to the cafe for coffee and dessert.

MSA’nin Restorani

Narin also highly recommends the MSA’nin Restorani, run by MSA, Istanbul’s Culinary Arts Academy. Students in professional programmes cook and serve food at this restaurant located in the Sakip Sabanci Museum (SSM). “This is where I go for good eggs and a beautiful setting on the terrace,” she says. “Their scrambled eggs are fluffy and perfectly buttery, and they offer a great selection of juices and great coffee.” Ozhan Sivetoğlu, an instructor chef at the academy, agrees, saying breakfast here is “high quality, with very good presentation”. He recommends the poached eggs, charcuteries and cheese boards.

Mangerie

Mangerie offers an all-day breakfast that is among the best Istanbul has to offer, and one Narin highly recommends. It was one of the first restaurants to bring all-day breakfasts to the city. “Mangerie is in a beautiful location, housed on the top floor of a period apartment building in Bebek,” says Narin of the charming third-floor location with Bosphorus views. Most importantly for a place serving breakfast, it is open early, she says.

Petra Roasting Co.

The beautiful Petra Roasting Co. space in Gayrettepe comes recommended by both Narin and Sivetoğlu as a top spot for breakfast, best known for aromatic coffee. Sivetoğlu also recommends their French omelette. Narin is another fan, and is partial to the scrambled eggs. The establishment also offers baked goods, vegan options and sandwiches.

Cuma

For a traditional Turkish breakfast with some western options, Narin recommends Cuma, a small rustic café on Çukurcuma street. The café has a farm-to-table approach. “I know the chef and how much she cares about the freshness of the produce,” says Narin, and as she prefers “less variety and better quality”, Cuma is one of her favourite spots. “You know you are getting really carefully produced jams, honey and cheeses,” she adds.

Delicatessen

Delicatessen in Nisantasi is a typical city café, where you’ll find freelance creatives working on their laptops at all times of day. They offer an assortment of traditional Turkish breakfast items including olives, honey, clotted cream and several cheeses, as well as simit bread served with aged cheese and continental options including eggs benedict, pancakes and granola.

Doğaciyiz Gourmet

If you want to try serpme kahvalti (an assorted Turkish breakfast), food guide Ildız recommends Doğaciyiz Gourmet in the Cihangir neighbourhood, which specialises in food from Antakya, a city in southern Turkey, along with the usual Turkish breakfast items. The massive breakfast spread here includes different types of cheeses and breads, along with a variety of olives, garlic yoghurt, eggs, preserves, jams and butter.

Yılmaz Tandır Ve Dürümevi

Another regional breakfast spot Ildiz recommends is Yılmaz Tandır Ve Dürümevi in the Feriköy neighbourhood, which specialises in breakfast from the northeastern city of Erzincan. The flavours here differ slightly from most kahvalti (breakfast) places. They make their own lavaş bread, and serve butter and tulum cheese, which they bring from their home town in eastern Turkey. Ildiz recommends trying just the bread with melted butter and cheese.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Mariam Gabaji.

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