Cihangir And Çukurcuma are two neighbourhoods in Beyoğlu where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. From coffee and cake to breakfast and Turkish delights, you can experience all kinds of culinary feats nestled away in these historic streets. Check out the following 10 places you definitely don’t want to miss.
Cheesecake with organic brown sugar, wild strawberries, goats cheese and lemon | Courtesy of Datlı Maya
Çukurcuma Köftecisi is famous for authentic Turkish meatballs, or köfte. Run as a family business, the atmosphere of this local restaurant is warm and cozy. You should try the meatballs, but for vegetarians the eggplant dishes are a winner, as are the array of sweet Turkish desserts. Located on the bustling Taksim Square, you have no excuse not to pop in to Çukurcuma Köftecisi for an authentic taste of Turkey.
“Fast-slow food” is Datlı Maya‘s core value. It enthusiastically prepares authentic Anatolian cuisines in an 80 year old wood oven, and connects the idea of healthy eating to the customers. That’s why most of the ingredients are organic and from fair trade and sustainable sources because Datlı Maya wishes to revive lost Anatolian cuisines, but at no price to mother Earth’s resources. Serving all kinds of delights (from kebabs to hot pots) from their open kitchen, you can watch the process of ingredient to dish from start to finish.
Upon entering Jash Istanbul, pause for a moment to take everything in, for this truly is an Aladdin’s cave of Cihangir wonders. Every wall is adorned with historical art, every surface is covered in culturally significant knick knacks, everywhere you look something catches your eye, from old gramophones to grandfather clocks. The owner, Mari, will often come to your table to introduce herself and give her opinions on the menu highlights. Don’t be surprised if, whilst eat a mezze and beautiful Armenian cuisine, you find yourself serenaded as live musicians are a regular fixture at this unique and immensely enjoyable restaurant.
49 Çukurcuma incorporates Turkish elements into its speciality, pizza. Using the freshest regional ingredients, it presents a high quality of authentic Italian dishes. You definitely have to try its signature pizza, Pizza 49, made with mozzarella, wild thyme and Turkish pastrami atop their homemade sauce. Well known for its wine collection too, 49 Çukurcuma proves you don’t have to visit the motherland for really good pizza with all the trimmings.
If you’re a traveller who, despite your adventurous spirit, can’t help but miss the comforts of home. Well, if you’re in Istanbul head over to Journey, which is adorned with comfy armchairs and bookshelves crammed with good reads. This 70s vibe cafe has all the comforts of home you so sorely miss. Using mostly ingredients from local farms and growers, the food here is definitely made mindfully, and with all the love of home cooked fare. Journey is the perfect place to relax after a stressful day.
Originally from Marmaris, a small town located in the south west of Turkey, Pell’s Café chooses the best ingredients from local producers to create its famous breakfast dishes. Highlights include traditionnal Turkish dishes Menemen (made with eggs, tomato, green peppers and spices served with bread) and Gozleme (flatbread folded over savoury fillings in French crepe-style). Instead of having only small tables, Pell’s Café is adorned with large tables to encourage group-mingling over breakfast. So while enjoying some of the best breakfast in Istanbul, you might even make a friend or two.
Susam Café offers a little bit of everything. With large, comfy armchairs and living-room-inspired decor, it’s the perfect place to chill with a good book and a cup of their delicious coffee. It provides free wifi and large oak tables, so it’s also a great destination for workaholics who need to get away from the distractions of home and really knuckle down. You can stay here as long as you like, as it’s open until 2am every day. As the day progresses, this ultra-cool café transitions into an even cooler jazz bar with DJs at the weekend. Come for the breakfast and stay til the drinks, you’ll never want to leave this trendy café-bar.
Located in a historical three storey townhouse, Cezayir has it all. There’s a bar and lounge area to chill with friends, an urban café with a garden to enjoy a cup of refreshing coffee, meeting rooms available for hire and a cocktail bar with a cosy fireplace. If you want to host all your friends for a special occasion, you can create your own menu from the restaurant’s selections and even bring your own DJ. After a recent renovation, the restaurant presents an even more modern style yet retains its historical characteristics.
Holy Coffee stands out from other cafés in Beyoglu as it brews excellent coffee and serves home-baked cakes. The European style café provides you with an array of coffees to choose from, and a simple and tranquil environment to take a rest. An array of breakfast and brunch dishes are also available, should you feel peckish for more than cake.
Coffee enthusiasts will love Kronotrop. Striving for the finest coffee, Kronotrop is renowned for its high standard of coffee beans, and specializes in various roasting techniques. But the variety doesn’t stop there: you can also brew your coffee in every way imaginable, from moka pot and french press to aeropress and chemex. This incredible attention to detail covers the whole process, from the roasting and brewing right down the beautiful latte art in the finished cup. At Kronotrop, coffee isn’t just a beverage, it’s a thing of beauty, a work of art.