Istanbul, the melting pot for European and Middle Eastern cultures, is a city of mystery. It is teeming with ancient history and tales of an exotic past: head to Sisli and you will find dozens of exciting restaurants offering modern takes on traditional Turkish cuisine. Here are 10 of the best.
Delicatessen is a western-influenced local restaurant in the district of Nisantasi. You may first be overwhelmed by how busy the bar is but then you’ll see why everyone’s here: the atmosphere is electric, the food is fantastic and their wine selection is unrivaled.
Surrounded by retail, Nisantasi Kosebasi is an ideal pit stop to try some high standard, local Turkish food. Mezze are small dishes served with alcohol, enjoyed before mains such as traditional Turkish kebaps and pita. The beautifully-seasoned lamb melts in your mouth, deliciously complimented by soft bread and tangy sauces. A good selection of wine together with a relaxing environment makes this a perfect place for chilling with friends or even for special occasions.
Van Kahvalti Evi is a popular brunch place. It offers a wide range of breakfast menus from menemen, (a traditional Turkish dish with eggs, onion and tomato) to gözleme (a Turkish style pastry made of flatbread). Wash these delicacies down with a cup of çay (Turkish tea) or Türk Kahvesi (Turkish Coffee).
Aşşk Kahve provides comprehensive menus for breakfast and bunch. Specializing in coffee, it is situated in a perfect location (along the coast of Kurucesme) where diners can start their day with Turkish breakfast and a magnificent sea view in the green garden. It attracts a lot of people not only for breakfast but also for lunch and dinners. While it offers local food, international menus and organic food are the best choices at Aşşk Kahve. Address: Kuruçeşme Mh., Muallim Naci Caddesi No:64,Turkey +90 212-265-4734
CanIm Cigerim has a simple menu, mostly consisting of kebabs, skewers and side dishes. Lamb of the highest quality is roasted with onion, served with pepper and tomatoes, creating a sophisticated, multi-layered taste. Using handpicked olives to produce olive oil is the best proof of CanIm Cigerim’s sincerity and commitment to Turkish grill and is what helps it stand apart from similar restaurants.
Yekta Restaurant is an old style place in Nisantasi. Not many people notice it but it is definitely a place you don’t want to miss, as it provides a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere for dining with family and friends. The classic appearance and traditional style of food is perfect for an authentic Turkish experience. It is convenient and easy to find as it is not far away from Ramada Plaza and Harbiye Military Museum.
Adana Ocakbasi is highly rated for its delicious Adana kebabs. While it has a wide range of meats for you to choose from, Adana beef kebab is recommended. This kebab is named Adana after the fifth largest city in Turkey and, unlike the Doner kebab, is made from minced rather than sliced lamb.
Shishly Cafe & Bistro believes ‘Passion is People’. It is committed to crafting food based on customers needs with passion and enthusiasm. Upon entering the sleek, modern interiors you’ll be surprised at the reasonable prices on the menus! It has a diverse variety of food, incorporating Italian recipes with local ingredients, not to mention an impressive collection of cocktails including one of the most-reviving Bloody Marys in town!
Love desserts? Want to indulge your sweet tooth the Turkish way? Then this is the place for you! Try some of the traditional and very sweet desserts at Goreme Muhallebicisi, such as muhallebi (a blancmange-like, creamy dessert) or Damla Sakızlı Sütlaç (rice pudding made with gum mastic).
Karadeniz Pide ve Döner Salonu is located around the shopping area in central Beşiktaş and its döner kebab is one of the best in Istanbul. Unsurprisingly then, the queue is always long. But take your place, have a chat to the locals and before you know it you’ll be tucking in to the perfect kebab: thinly-sliced, juicy, locally sourced lamb in soft, white pittas. It’s only open a few hours a day, so plan your visit carefully.