The Best Seafood Restaurants in Istanbul

Photo of Molly Petrey
9 February 2017

Located on the shores of the Aegean and Black seas, vibrant Istanbul offers hundreds of seafood options. Whether you choose to eat at a restaurant down in the city, on top of its hills, or on a ferry, your experience will be unforgettable. It’s hard to decide what to eat or where to go in a city this size, so here is our guide.

Paella de marisco | © Manuel Martin Vicente/WikiCommons

Mavi Balik

Restaurant, Seafood, Mediterranean, European, Turkish, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
Mavi Balik claims to be ‘the most beautiful place where blue and green meets in Istanbul.’ The restaurant has been in operation since 1995, and it provides freshly cooked seafood all day long, served by professional staff and accompanied by a true Turkish hospitality. Try their famous red mullet or blue fish. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating and a terrace depending on the season.

Balıkçı Sabahattin

Balıkçı Sabahattin, or ‘Fisherman Sabahattin,’ is one of Istanbul’s finest places for typical Turkish seafood. Having grown up in a family of fishermen and by the sea, Chef Sabahattin understands and respects the importance and value of fish, and with the help of his sons, has created the best place to experience home-style seafood in Istanbul.

Address & telephone number: Cankurtaran Mh., Şehit Hasan Kuyu Sok No:1, 34122 Sultanahmet, +90 212 458 1824

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Restaurant, Seafood, Mediterranean, Turkish, $$$
AHIRKAPI BALIKCISI might be on one of the millions of backstreets in Istanbul, but when you visit it you will always remember its tasty cuisine. The restaurant has four indoor and five outdoor tables. The owner of the place insists on keeping it ‘unpopular’ and ‘private.’ However, the food you will experience there is more than delightful, The fevkalade (wondrous) cooked small fish will take your breath away and the homemade deserts, such as the popular Turkish halva, made by the owner’s wife are delicious. If you can endure the trip by public transportation to Ahirkapi, your reward of a fine seafood meal will far outweigh the struggles.

Fish Suada Club

The Fish Suada Club of Istanbul is another excellent place to experience true Turkish seafood with a marvelous view of the Bosphorus and its magnificent blue waters. The Suada Club is located on the only island in the middle of the Bosphorus, and it gives you a view directly over the water to Kurucesme, the mouth of the Bosphorus and beyond. There you can find anything from the traditional Turkish mezzes, seasonal fish specialties, to the delicious dessert, Turkish delight. If you’re looking for a splendid view and great food, the Fish Suada Club will surely satisfy.

Address & telephone number: Galatasaray Adası, Kuruçeşme, + 90 212 263 6515

Harem Istanbul Café & Restaurant

Cafe, Restaurant, Turkish, $$$
The Harem Istanbul Café & Restaurant offers you meals fit for an Ottoman sultan. There you will find a classical cuisine prepared with high quality ingredients. Their fried anchovies and grilled sea bass are highly recommended. The owner of the restaurant, Fikri, is a celebrity himself. Having worked his way through the restaurant and tourism business, and as a very proud citizen of Istanbul, he has developed a fine dining restaurant that will exceed your best expectations of Turkish seafood cuisine.

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