Top 15 Turkish Dishes To Try In Turkey

Amidst Istanbul’s tapestry of rich history, colorful architecture, vibrant night life, and warm, smiling locals is a cuisine that just as remarkably dynamic as its other treasures.

Turkish cuisine is known for its seemingly infinite breadth of flavor imparted by herbs and spices such as mint, parsley, cinnamon, cumin, garlic, and dill. What’s remarkable is that even with the wealth of flavors, the Turks are able to maintain a balance of tastes, never overpowering.

Turkish cuisine is diverse, a wonderful exposition of the abundant flora and fauna with which the land is blessed. When in Istanbul, expect to indulge in delicious vegetable-based dishes, lamb, breads and pastries, cheeses, and yogurt.

Worried about gaining too much weight from all the good food in Istanbul? Burn the calories by walking around the city and admiring its gorgeous sights.

Enjoy this guide to the best food in Istanbul and where to get them at reasonable prices:



Kahvalti (Turkish Breakfast)

If you’re used to a grab-and-go kind of breakfast, kahvalti will take you by surprise. Kahvalti is not just a dish; it is an experience to savor. Let’s start with the Instagram-ready presentation of a pot of tea, little plates of olives, cheeses, delicately-cooked eggs, tomatoes and cucumbers, cream and honey, an assortment of jams, yogurt, and fragrant, freshly baked bread. The culmination is a wonderful cup of local coffee.

Kahvalti is a meal of grandeur, but what’s even grander than the breakfast spread is the tradition of family gathering enclosed in the experience. When in Istanbul, strike a conversation with the locals and invite them to a traditional breakfast.

Here are the best places to have kahvalti in Istanbul:

  • VAN KAHVALTI EVI | Cihangir
    For traditional Anatolian breakfast
    What to order: Eggplant pancake, Kahvalti, Kavut
    Price range: 20 to 30 TRY ($5.83 to $8.75)
    When: 08:00 – 17:00 Daily
    Where: Defterdar Yokusu, No. 52/A, Cihangir, Istanbul
  • RUMELI KALE CAFE | Rumeli Hisar
    For a quiet breakfast with breathtaking views of Bosphorus
    What to order: Kahvalti, Manti, Pastirma (Cured beef)
    Price range: 20 to 65 TRY ($5.83 to $18.96)
    When: 05:00 – 21:00 Daily except Wednesdays
    Where: Yahya Kemal Caddesi No. 16, Rumeli Hisari, Sariyer, Istanbul
  • BACKYARD | Bebekoy
    For eating breakfast with a picturesque backdrop
    What to order: Grilled halloumi salad, Kahvalti, Backyard lasagna
    Price range: 20 to 50 TRY ($5.83 to $14.59)
    When: 07:30 – 23:00 Daily
    Where: Etiler, Otlukbeli Cad, Bebekoy Sok No. 4, 34337 Istanbul


Menemen (Turkish Style Omelet)

If you belong to the type of people who can’t fathom other people’s fascination with eggs, Turkish omelet, or menemen, will definitely help you understand. In this dish, the eggs are lightly scrambled in creamy butter with onion, tomatoes, and green pepper. The tomatoes are cooked through to impart a saucy zing to the omelet.

As with most Western restaurants, menemen is usually served with a side of meat. In Istanbul, the common accompaniment is sucuk, a kind of a beef sausage that is both spicy and succulent. An accompaniment is not necessary, but more yummy food is always better. Besides, breakfast in Istanbul always means a feast.

Here are the best places to have menemen in Istanbul:

  • PRIVATO CAFE | Beyoglu
    For generous true-to-Turkish style servings
    What to order: Menemen, Flatbread with spinach and cheese, Kahvalti
    Price range: 10 to 35 TRY ($2.92 to $10.21)
    When: 08:30 – 24:00 Daily
    Where: Galip Dede Cad. Timarci, Sok No. 3B Galata/Beyoglu, Istanbul
  • LADES MENEMEN | Beyoglu
    For top bill-worthy menemen
    What to order: Pastrami menemen, Yumurta, Eggs with cheese
    Price range: 5 to 15 TRY ($1.46 to $4.38)
    When: 11:30 – 21:30 Daily
    Where: Katip Mustafa Celebi, Istiklal Cadessi, Sadri Alisik Sokak 14/A, 34433, Beyoglu, Istanbul
  • EMIRGAN SUTIS | Sariyer
    For lavish breakfast spreads
    What to order: Grilled halloumi salad, Tereyagi bal (Honey butter), Menemen
    Price range: 7 to 26 TRY ($2.04 to $7.58)
    When: 05:30 – 02:00 Daily
    Where: Emirgan Mahallesi, Sakip Sabanci, Caddesi, No. 46, Sariyer, Istanbul


Turkish Meze

A popular misconception about meze is that it is an assortment of side dishes and/or appetizers, akin to South America’s tapas, Korea’s banchan, and Italy’s antipasti. The truth is that meze is a meal itself, often served with traditional alcoholic beverages such as rakiarak, and mastika.

Meze is a smorgasbord of traditional Mediterranean dishes served in small platters, a hodgepodge of hot and cold dishes, of seafood, meat, cheeses, vegetables, and dips. Meze favorites include souvlaki (grilled meat on skewers), halloumi cheese (either grilled or fried), pastramisarma (grape leaves stuffed with lamb, rice, and herbs), tarama (mashes potatoes with olive oil and fish roe dip), and artichoke salad.

Here are the best places to have meze in Istanbul:

  • INCIRALTI | Beylerbeyi
    For meze and raki in the picturesque area of Beylerbeyi
    What to order: Grilled sea bass, Meze, Muhammara
    Price range: 8 to 18 TRY ($2.27 to $5.11)
    When: 10:00 – 02:00 Daily
    Where: Arabacilar Sok No. 4, Beylerbeyi, Istanbul
    For upholding more than a century of culinary tradition
    What to order: Pastry stuffed with cheese and meat, Spiced mutton liver, Pilaki
    Price range: 17 to 50 TRY ($4.82 to $14.18)
    When: 13:00 – 02:00 Daily
    Where: Yedikule, 34107, Fatih, Istanbul
    For mezes in the beautiful Haydarpasa train station building
    What to order: Cheesecake, Patlican Sarma (Stuffed grape leaves), Marinated salmon
    Price range: 18 to 49 TRY ($5.11 to $13.90)
    When: 11:30 – 01:00
    Where: Rasimpasa, Haydarpasa Gari, 34716 Kadikoy, Istanbul


Doner Kebab

Doner kebab is Turkey’s greatest gift to the global culinary map. “Doner kebab” loosely translates to “rotating kebab” as it is a gigantic stack of meat roasted vertically in a rotating manner.

The most popular variant of doner kebab in Istanbul is a mixture of lamb and beef, with the fat melting away as if to marinate the leaner parts of the meat to result in succulent, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth layers of charred meat.

There are several ways of serving doner kebab – on a plate with a side of onions, tomatoes, pickles, and yogurt; rolled in flatbread; and naked – with no sides, no garnishes.

Here are the best places to have doner kebab in Istanbul:

    For no-nonsense melt-in-your-mouth doner kebab
    What to order: Doner with rice, Baklava, Rice pudding
    Price range: 6 to 24 TRY ($1.70 to $6.81)
    When: 11:00 – 23:00 Daily
    Where: Ruzgarli Bahce, Seyfi Baba Sk. No. 2, 34805 Kavacik, Beykoz, Istanbul
    For mouthwatering kebabs and offal
    What to order: Doner kebab, Eggplant kebab, Sweetbread
    Price range: 7 to 25 TRY ($1.99 to $7.09)
    When: 12:00 – 01:00 Daily
    Where: Bozkurt Mahallesi, Ergenekon Caddesi, Baysungur Sk. No. 2/D, Sisli, Istanbul
    For doner kebab that is worth the phenomenally long queue
    What to order: Doner kebab, Iskender kebab, Kemalpasa
    Price range: 4 to 17 TRY ($1.13 to $4.82)
    When: 11:00 – 16:00 Daily except Sundays
    Where: Sinanpasa, Mumcu Bakkal Sk. No. 6, 34353 Besiktas, Istanbul


Iskender Kebab

Istanbul boasts of a wide variety of kebabs, and iskender kebab is one kind that you must never miss. Named after its inventor, Iskender Efendi of Bursa, iskender kebab is basically lamb kebab lovingly smothered with tomato sauce, topped with warm sheep butter, and finished off with a side of yogurt.

What you may notice is that people in Istanbul can be a bit intense about iskender kebab, with several eateries claiming to be the birthplace of the well-loved dish, or at least, to be a descendant of the great Iskender Efendi, who changed the landscape of kebab in this wonderful city. It is that good!

Here are the best places to have iskender kebab in Istanbul:

    For iskender kebab that is the actual “real deal”
    What to order: Iskender kebab, Kemalpasa, Eggplant salad
    Price range: 11.50 to 44.50 TRY ($3.33 to $12.89)
    When: 06:00 – 22:00 Daily
    Where: Buyukdere Cad. No. 153/A, Zincirlikuyu, Sisli, Istanbul
  • KASAP OSMAN | Sirkesi
    For kebabs that are masterfully crafted by a butcher
    What to order: Iskender kebab, Tavuk sis (Grilled minced chicken), Sutlac
    Price range: 11 to 20 TRY ($3.19 to $5.79)
    When: 09:00 – 23:00 Daily
    Where: Hoca Pasa Mh., 34112, Sirkesi, Istanbul
  • MABEYIN | Uskudar
    For enjoying kebabs in an elegant 19th century mansion
    What to order: Iskender kebab, Pastrami, Cig kofte
    Price range: 15 to 60 TRY ($4.34 to $17.38)
    When: 12:00 – 23:00 Daily
    Where: Burhaniye Mahallesi, Eski Kisikli Caddesi, No. 7, Uskudar, Istanbul


Adana Kebab

Adana kebab is named after the city of Adana, one of the famous “kebab cities” of Turkey. Adana kebab is minced lamb meat on a skewer. It might look like just another skewer of meat, but the preparation it entails is nothing short of remarkable.

Traditional adana kebab is made from young male lamb, carefully minced and mixed with tail fat and red peppers. The addition of tail fat guarantees that the meat doesn’t dry up as it cooks; the red peppers, on the other hand, lend a welcome kick to the kebab. Have your yogurt shake ready to cool off your tongue!

Here are the best places to have adana kebab in Istanbul:

    For adana kebab you will never forget
    What to order: Adana kebab, Pirzola (Lamb chops), Kanat (Chicken wings)
    Price range: 10 to 60 TRY ($2.90 to $17.41)
    When: 10:00 – 01:00 Daily
    Where: Sehit Muhtar Mahallesi, Istiklal Caddesi, Bekar Sokak, No. 28, Beyoglu, Istanbul
  • ADANA YUZEVLER | Besiktas
    For authentic adana kebab
    What to order: Adana kebab, Ustam kebab, Doner durum
    Price range: 16 to 30 TRY ($4.56 to $8.56)
    When: 12:00 – 23:00 Daily
    Where: Etiler Merkez Mahallesi, Nispetiye, Caddesi, No. 70, Besiktas, Istanbul
    For adana that’s often imitated all over the city
    What to order: Adana kebab, Chicken wings, Liver kebab
    Price range: 14 to 30 TRY ($3.99 to $8.56)
    When: 12:00 – 01:00 Daily
    Where: Bozkurt Mahallesi, Ergenekon Caddesi, Baysungur Sokak, No. 2/D, Sisli, Istanbul


Manti (Turkish Ravioli)

Manti has been the subject of debate among foodies – is it pasta? Is it dumpling? A little bit of both, perhaps? While the preparation appears to largely be of Chinese influence, the way it is served is unmistakably a lot like pasta.

Just like its history, manti preparation varies from place to place. Turkish manti is boiled and rather smaller in size than elsewhere, where it is steamed and significantly bigger. All over Istanbul, the most common variant you’ll find is generously stuffed with lamb and chickpeas, drizzled with yogurt, and finished off with hot butter, chili powder, and ground sumac. It’s also easy to find vegetarian options such as potato- or chickpea-stuffed.

Here are the best places to have manti in Istanbul:

  • KARDESIM MANTI | Sariyer
    For fresh, handmade manti without additives
    What to order: Manti, Yaprak Sarma, Erise
    Price range: 12 to 30 TRY ($3.42 to $8.56)
    When: 10:00 – 23:00 Daily
    Where: Emirgan Mahallesi, Dogru Muvakkithane Caddesi, No. 14/1, Sariyer, Istanbul
  • AGA KAPISI | Fatih
    For one of Istanbul’s best-kept secrets
    What to order: Tiramisu, Manti, Tavuklu Salata
    Price range: 8 to 20 TRY ($2.28 to $5.71)
    When: 08:00 – 01:00 Daily
    Where: Demirtas Mahallesi, Nazir Izzet, Efendi Sokak, No. 11, Fatih, Istanbul
  • HINGAL MANTI | Uskudar
    For manti of assorted flavors and colors
    What to order: Kiymali manti, Karisik manti, Sebzeli manti
    Price range: 15 to 40 TRY ($4.28 to $11.41)
    When: 11:30 – 20:30 Daily
    Where: Kisikli Mahallesi, Kisikli Caddesi, No 132, Uskudar, Istanbul


Kunefe (Traditional Arab Cheese Pastry)

Kunefe is an ancient dessert with a history that goes as far back as the 10th century. A sampling of kunefe is mandatory when you’re in Istanbul, not only because of its role in Turkey’s culinary history but because it is really, really good.

Kunefe is warm, crispy, sweet, cheesy, syrupy, doughy, and a little savory from the crumbled pistachio nuts sprinkled on top. It is best consumed right out of the oven when the kadayif cheese is still hot and stringy. This delightful Turkish dessert resembles a cheese tart but instead of a pastry base, it has shredded dough protecting the gooey cheese inside. It is definitely the perfect, sweet ending to a spicy kebab meal.

Here are the best places to have kunefe in Istanbul:

    For authentic Hatay specialties
    What to order: Kunefe, Baba ghanoush, Liver kebab
    Price range: 12 to 35 TRY ($3.42 to $9.98)
    When: 08:30 – 24:00 Daily
    Where: Iskenderpasa, Mahallesi, Ahmediye, Caddesi, No. 44/A, Fatih, Istanbul
    For delectable kunefe
    What to order: Kunefe, Durum, Adana kebab
    Price range: 11 to 30 TRY ($3.14 to $8.56)
    When: 08:30 – 22:00 Daily
    Where: Rustem Pasa Mahallesi, Hasircilar, Caddesi, No. 52, Fatih, Istanbul
  • KUNEFIS | Besiktas
    For an assortment of Turkish desserts
    What to order: Menemen omelette, Stuffed meatballs, Kunefi
    Price range: 6.50 to 18.50 TRY ($1.85 to $5.28)
    When: 09:00 – 24:00 Daily
    Where: Turkali Mahallesi, Ihlamurdere, Caddesi, No. 62/A, Besiktas, Istanbul



Baklava is Turkey’s most popular dessert, bearing historical significance which goes as far back as the 8th century. Several countries claim to be the birthplace of this sweet dessert, but no historical account seems reliable enough to be taken as fact. One well-embraced fact, however, is that baklava is a definite must whenever in Istanbul.

It is believed that in the ancient times, baklava was fit only for royalty due to its richness and complexity. Fortunately, in the 21th century, baklava can be found in every corner of Istanbul – even outside of Middle East. It is layers upon layers of flaky filo dough bound by rosewater syrup or honey, and filled with ground nuts in the middle.

Here are the best places to have baklava in Istanbul:

    For heavenly baklava made with clarified butter
    What to order: Pistachio baklava, Walnut baklava, Mebrube
    Price range: 30 to 70 TRY ($8.56 to $19.97)
    When: 08:00 – 21:00 Daily
    Where: Caferaga Mahallesi, Nailbey Sokak, No. 1/B, Kadikoy, Istanbul
  • KOSKEROGLU | Kadikoy
    For the most exceptional pistachio baklava
    What to order: Kadayif, Baklava, Durum
    Price range: 32 to 130 TRY ($9.13 to $37.08)
    When: 07:00 – 24:00 Daily
    Where: Kemankes Karamustafa Pasa Mahallesi, Mumhane Caddesi, No. 2/D, Beyoglu, Istanbul
    For baklava to write home about
    What to order: Pistachio baklava, Walnut baklava, Kunefe
    Price range: 9.50 to 16.50 TRY ($2.71 to $4.71)
    When: 06:30 – 22:00 Daily
    Where: Hobyar Mahallesi, Hamidiye, Caddesi, No. 84, Fatih, Istanbul


Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)

Culinary purists argue that lahmacun is not exactly pizza in the truest sense of the word; for the rest of the foodies, however, it’s a simple case of “tomato, tomahto”. This Turkish pizza makes use of a thin flatbread as base, which is then topped off with minced beef or lamb, vegetables, herbs and spices. Lahmacun is good as a snack, an appetizer, or as a meal itself – any time of the day.

Several variants of lahmacun have emerged in the foodie market, but among the favorites are garlicky, doused with red chili flakes, and really crispy. All these are worth a try, but you can’t go wrong with the classic, either.

Here are the best places to have lahmacun in Istanbul:

  • LAHMACUN SALONU | Bayrampasa
    For delicious, garlicky lahmacun
    What to order: Lahmacun, Adana durum, Urfa durum
    Price range: 1.50 to 8 TRY ($0.43 to $2.28)
    When: 11:00 – 22:00 Daily
    Where: Yildirim Mahallesi, Ali Fuat Basgil, Caddesi, No. 96, Bayrampasa, Istanbul
  • TATBAK | Sisli
    For aromatic lahmacun you can smell from meters away
    What to order: Lahmacun, Yogurt kebab, Chicken wings
    Price range: 8.50 to 45 TRY ($2.42 to $12.84)
    When: 11:00 – 21:00 Daily except Sundays
    Where: Tesvikiye Mahallesi, Valikonagi, Caddesi, Akkavak Sokak, No. 38/C, Sisli, Istanbul
  • HALIL LAHMACUN | Kadikoy
    For freshly prepared lahmacun everytime
    What to order: Lahmacun, Kunefe, Pide
    Price range: 3.50 to 10 TRY ($1 to $2.85)
    When: 11:30 – 21:00 Daily
    Where: Caferaga Mahallesi, Gunesli Bahce, Sokak, No. 26, Kadikoy, Istanbul



Simit is a popular street food that you’ll find in every corner of Istanbul. From afar, it looks like a chocolate-glazed donut, but it is actually fluffy bread with a crunchy sesame exterior.

It’s common to see street carts and vendors peddling simit, but for simit in its most perfect state, you have to go straight to the bakery and get your stash as soon as the Turkish bread is ushered out of the brick oven.

Freshly baked, simit has that distinct roasted sesame aroma to stir your senses, only to be lulled by the soothing warmth of chewy dough. Simit is definitely delicious on its own but feel free to smear spreads, jams or pair it with cold cuts and vegetables.

Here are the best places to have simit in Istanbul:

    For oven-fresh simit round-the-clock
    What to order: Simit, Menemen, Omelette
    Price range: 1.25 to 8 TRY ($0.36 to $2.28)
    When: 08:00 – 17:00 Daily
    Where: Fulya Mahallesi, Vefa Deresi Sokak, No. 17/A, Sisli, Istanbul
  • SIMIT SARAYI | Beyoglu
    For excellent breakfast to start your day
    What to order: Mixed wrap, Simit, Manti
    Price range: 8 to 22 TRY ($2.26 to $6.23)
    When: 06:30 to 14:00 Daily
    Where: Kocatepe Mahallesi, Tarlabasi Bulvari, No. 6, Beyoglu, Istanbul
  • IPEK FIRIN | Beylikduzu
    For unforgettable simit
    What to order: Simit, Durum kofte, Manti
    Price range: 12 to 30 TRY ($3.40 to $8.49)
    When: 06:00 – 24:00 Daily
    Where: Baris Mahallesi, Ada Ciftligi Caddesi, No. 1, Beylikduzu, Istanbul


Durum (Turkish Barbecued Meat Wrap)

Durum is common Istanbul fare. It is one way of preparing kebab, in which the grilled meat is wrapped in a flatbread called lavash. Lavash is excellent for durums as it is sturdy enough to hold in the meat, veggies, and sauce but not too thick that it becomes a bread-y experience. Lavash is light, chewy, and is the perfect complement to the flavorful grilled meat.

Durum is considered a complete meal in itself as it has bread, meat, and vegetables. The sauce – usually yogurt-based, perfectly binds the whole components into one delectable experience. Some durumcus amp the experience by grilling the durum before serving it – this gives it an extra crisp and a layer of charred, smoky flavor.

Here are the best places to have durum in Istanbul:

    For massive durums
    What to order: Doner durum, Iskender kebab, Doner sandwich
    Price range: 9 to 24 TRY ($2.55 to $6.79)
    When: 10:30 – 18:00 Daily
    Where: Sinanpasa Mahallesi, Mumcu Bakkal Sokak, No. 6, Besiktas, Istanbul
  • DURUMZADE | Beyoglu
    For Bourdain-approved durums
    What to order: Adana durum, Urfa durum, Taruk durum
    Price range: 8 to 16 TRY ($2.26 to $4.53)
    When: 08:00 – 17:00 Daily
    Where: Huseyinaga Mahallesi, Kamer Hatun Caddesi, Topcekenler Sokak, No. 1, Beyoglu, Istanbul
  • CANIM CIGERIM | Beyoglu
    For one-of-a-kind liver durum
    What to order: Liver durum, Chicken durum, Baklava
    Price range: 8 to 26 TRY ($2.26 to $7.36)
    When: 12:00 – 24:00 Daily
    Where: Asmalimescit Mahallesi, Minare Sokak, No. 3/A, Beyoglu, Istanbul


Balik Ekmek (Grilled Fish Sandwich)

Eating balik ekmek (grilled fish sandwich) on a warm, sunny day must be on the top of any Istanbul travel itinerary. Selling balik ekmek by the Bosphorus strait is a half-century old industry. Back when fishing was the main source of living of Istanbulites, fishermen sold grilled fish sandwiches on their boat to augment their livelihood.

You can get your balik ekmek at fish markets or from makeshift food carts on boats by the Galata Bridge or Ataturk Bridge. Traditional balik ekmek consists of grilled whitefish, lettuce, and a drizzle of lemon, but it has evolved to include pickled vegetables and grilled chilies.

Stroll the beautiful city with a balik ekmek in hand – you’d want to be doing it over and over until you leave.

Here are the best places to have balik ekmek in Istanbul:

    For tasty seafood dishes
    What to order: Roasted lamb intestines, Balik ekmek, Stuffed mussels
    Price range: 6 to 30 TRY ($1.70 to $8.49)
    When: 12:00 – 02:00 Daily
    Where: Huseyinaga Mahallesi, Sahne Sokak, No. 5, Beyoglu, Istanbul
  • EMIN USTA | Beyoglu
    For legendary balik ekmek
    What to order: Balik ekmek
    Price range: 9 TRY ($3.50)
    When: 12:00 – 20:00 Daily
    Where: Arap Cami, Fermeneciler Cd No. 79, 34421, Beyoglu, Istanbul
    For historical balik ekmek
    What to order: Balik ekmek
    Price range: 8 TRY ($2.26)
    When: 09:00 – 22:00 Daily
    Where: Galata Koprusu No. 28, Eminonu, 34421, Fatih, Istanbul


Kumpir (Baked Potato)

Selling potatoes on the streets is nothing new – we have fries and chips everywhere but Istanbulites always have to take things to higher levels – potato not excluded. In Istanbul, there is this popular street food called kumpir, or loosely translated, “maxed out baked potato”.

Kumpir is definitely not your ordinary baked potato. It starts with a ginormous potato, which is sliced in the middle for a generous smearing of butter and cheese, and is finished off with an overwhelming assortment of toppings. Common toppings you’ll see at street stalls are corn, pickled vegetables, pickled beets, olives, hotdogs, kisir, and a dollop of yogurt.

Kumpir is great whenever you feel like just sitting and enjoying the refreshing Istanbul scenery.

Here are the best places to have kumpir in Istanbul:

  • BEBEK WAFFLE & KUMPIR | Besiktas
    For kumpir you wouldn’t want to share
    What to order: Cheese kumpir, Karisik kumpir, Waffle
    Price range: 12 to 16 TRY ($3.42 to $4.56)
    When: 09:00 – 16:00 Daily
    Where: Bebek Mahallesi, Cevdetpasa Caddesi, No. 38/B, Besiktas, Istanbul
  • PATATOS | Beyoglu
    For when you can’t decide whether to have doner, burger, or kumpir
    What to order: Chicken doner, Kumpir, Beef doner
    Price range: 8.50 – 17.50 TRY ($2.42 to $4.98)
    When: 24 Hours Daily
    Where: Tomtom Mahallesi, Istiklal Caddesi, No. 185/A, Beyoglu, Istanbul
    For kumpir with street cred
    What to order: Kumpir
    Price range: 15 TRY
    When: 09:00 – 16:00 Daily
    Where: Ortakoy Merkez Mahallesi, Mecidiye, Koprusu Sokak, No. 1/6, Besiktas, Istanbul


Kofte (Meatball)

Kofte, just like pretty much any food in Istanbul, is a big deal in this city, so much so that it is almost as sacred as religion. You’ll find restaurants claiming to have the best kofte in town, and you can’t find it in you to disagree because it’s practically impossible to find Turkish meatballs in Istanbul that you wouldn’t end up loving.

Historically made with scrap meat, onions, and spices, kofte was invented as a means of stretching a Turkish family’s food budget. Nowadays, choices for meat are beef, lamb, pork, and chicken. These are then grilled atop hot coals which render a deep, smoky flavor that make it distinctly Turkish in nature.

Here are the best places to have kofte in Istanbul:

    For an assortment of mouthwatering kofte
    What to order: Kofte, Liver kebab, Manti
    Price range: 10 to 20 TRY ($2.85 to $5.69)
    When: 09:00 – 23:00 Daily
    Where: Balat Mahallesi, Murselpasa, Caddesi, No. 91, Fatih, Istanbul
    For kofte with the locals’ seal of approval
    What to order: Kofte, Kebab, Moussaka
    Price range: 6 to 14 TRY ($1.71 to $3.99)
    When: 06:00 – 16:00 Daily
    Where: Balat Mahallesi, Murselpasa, Caddesi, No. 139, Fatih, Istanbul
    For kofte made of 100% pure beef
    What to order: Lamb shish kebab, Kofte, Cheese kofte
    Price range: 14 to 26 TRY ($3.99 to $7.40)
    When: 11:00 – 23:00 Daily
    Where: Alemdar Mahallesi, Divanyolu, Caddesi, No. 12, Fatih, Istanbul