Flat lay photo of Turkish food.
Flat lay photo of Turkish food.
Image from
Neolokal

Istanbul

The Best Local Restaurants in İstanbul

Restaurants locals adore in Istanbul.

Updated on Jan 27, 2024 | World of Mouth team

Istanbul offers a lot of places to enjoy Turkish cuisine, ranging from various types of kebabs to different mezes to sweet pastry desserts. We've created this list of the top local restaurants in Istanbul, so you can experience the city like a resident. Why not try brunch or lunch at Apartıman Yeniköy or dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant Neolokal?

To guarantee that we only include the best, all picks are based on recommendations from World of Mouth experts, including local celebrity chefs Maksut Askar and Mehmet Gurs. Dive in and try the best local restaurants in Istanbul.

Neolokal

Azapkapı, Mahı, Bankalar Cd. No:11

Azapkapı, Mahı, Bankalar Cd. No:11, 34420, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Famed for its modern take on traditional Turkish cuisine, Neolokal offers a unique dining experience. Chef Maksut Askar and his team are dedicated to sustainable practices, using fresh ingredients and modern techniques to reinterpret age-old recipes. With a focus on preserving culinary heritage, the restaurant serves dishes that are not only inspired by the earth and traditions but also aim to carry these traditions forward for future generations.

Recommended by

A must visit place when in Istanbul! Very tasty modern fare from deep traditional roots, chef Maksut and his team will definitely spoil you! Start with a Negroni, and go for a chefs menu paired with Turkish wines. You’ll be in for a treat.
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Neolokal

Neolokal

Azapkapı, Mahı, Bankalar Cd. No:11

Azapkapı, Mahı, Bankalar Cd. No:11, 34420, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Apartıman Yeniköy

Yeniköy, Köybaşı Cd. No:153

Yeniköy, Köybaşı Cd. No:153, 34464 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Türkiye

Renowned for its innovative take on traditional recipes, Apartıman Yeniköy is a lively, no-fuss neobistro that offers a unique dining experience. The restaurant is particularly noted for its Sunday brunch, which includes an array of dishes such as fragrant spicy muhamarra with walnuts, sujuk with beans, and slow-cooked egg with yogurt. Dishes are crafted with local ingredients, often sourced from the owners' farm, and are presented with a creative twist, such as tarama with finger lime drops and pistachio/sheep’s milk cheese with rose petal paste.

Recommended by

If it's a weekend breakfast for me, I go to Apartiman. The chef, Burçak Kazdal is super talented, and her ideas and ways to use products and traditional recipes are incredible. Apartiman is not a breakfast place, they do amazing breakfasts only on Sundays. You will not regret going here.
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Apartıman Yeniköy

Apartıman Yeniköy

Yeniköy, Köybaşı Cd. No:153

Yeniköy, Köybaşı Cd. No:153, 34464 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Türkiye

Çiya Sofrası

Caferağa, Güneşli Bahçe Sok

Caferağa, Güneşli Bahçe Sok, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Türkiye

Located in the Kadiköy district, Çiya Sofrası offers a diverse array of traditional Anatolian cooking. The establishment is run by Musa Dağdeviren, a chef and culinary anthropologist, who collects rare recipes from all over Turkey, resulting in a menu that changes daily. From lahmacun and kebab to the best stuffed intestines, the dishes are served on a marble surface for customers to choose what they want to eat.

Recommended by

In this place in the Kadiköy district you can see the colours of different cooking and recipes from all around Anatolia and it has been there for a while. I remember the first time I went there with my mom when I was in school. I love these staple places that has been around forever. This is a place where they cook all these traditional home cooking dishes and serve them on a marble surface and you just choose what you want to eat. You can have a really good lahmacun and kebab but I mainly focus on the best stuffed intestines the serve, and many other dishes.
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Çiya Sofrası

Çiya Sofrası

Caferağa, Güneşli Bahçe Sok

Caferağa, Güneşli Bahçe Sok, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Türkiye

Karaköy Lokantası

Kemankeş Mahallesi, Kemankeş Cd. No:57

Kemankeş Mahallesi, Kemankeş Cd. No:57, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Known for its fresh Turkish cuisine, Karaköy Lokantası is a versatile dining spot that transitions from a lokanta, serving ready-made food during the day, to a meyhane, a tavern-like atmosphere in the evenings. The restaurant is highly recommended for both lunch and dinner due to its cool atmosphere and fantastic food, including delicacies like delicious liver, aubergine with bechamel, and fresh cold starters from the counter. Its terrace is another highlight, providing a perfect setting to enjoy the extremely fresh cooked food.

Recommended by

A fine place for fine Turkish food. Perfect terrace and extremely fresh cooked food. Must visit acknowledged by foodies, confirmed by me. The liver was delicious, aubergine and bechamel and the fresh cold starters from the counter.
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Karaköy Lokantası

Karaköy Lokantası

Kemankeş Mahallesi, Kemankeş Cd. No:57

Kemankeş Mahallesi, Kemankeş Cd. No:57, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Lades Menemen

Katip Mustafa Çelebi, Mahallesi, Sadri Alışık Sk. 11/12 11/12 11 D:12

Katip Mustafa Çelebi, Mahallesi, Sadri Alışık Sk. 11/12 11/12 11 D:12, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

With a rich history dating back to the 1950s, Lades Menemen has been a go-to spot for breakfast lovers for decades. The restaurant is renowned for its traditional Turkish breakfast, featuring a delightful spread of olives, cheese, honey, clotted cream, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. They also serve a special dish called menemen, a light version of shakshuka, and a unique sweet dessert made from chicken breasts known as Tavuk Gögsü.

Recommended by

Breakfast is important for us in Istanbul and my favourite breakfast place is Lades Menemen. It’s been there since the 1950’s and I've been going there for more than 25 years. They do an all day breakfast and it's super casual and delicious food. I would order the typical Turkish breakfast, which is super simple. It's olives, cheese, honey and clotted cream with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. If we want an egg, which we call menemen, it would be a fried egg with tomatoes and peppers, similar to shakshuka, but a lighter version. They’re also a dairy custard shop and in Istanbul the custard makers also serve traditional chicken breast custards, which we call Tavuk Gögsü. So a sweet dessert with chicken breasts. So they use the chicken breasts for desserts and the eggs of the chickens are used next door for the menemen and the other parts of the chicken goes for lunch.
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Lades Menemen

Lades Menemen

Katip Mustafa Çelebi, Mahallesi, Sadri Alışık Sk. 11/12 11/12 11 D:12

Katip Mustafa Çelebi, Mahallesi, Sadri Alışık Sk. 11/12 11/12 11 D:12, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Zübeyir Ocakbaşı/Taksim

Şehit Muhtar Mahallesi Bekar Sokak No::28, Şehit Muhtar

Şehit Muhtar Mahallesi Bekar Sokak No::28, Şehit Muhtar, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

This spot, Zübeyir Ocakbaşı/Taksim, is known for its simplicity and delicious food. It specializes in a variety of charcoal grilled meats and tasty meze. With a lively and bustling atmosphere, it's a popular spot for those who enjoy Turkish grilled meats.

Recommended by

Grilled meats This place is great because of its simplicity. Delicious meze and a variety of charcoal grilled meats. A must whenever visiting Istanbul.
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Zübeyir Ocakbaşı/Taksim

Zübeyir Ocakbaşı/Taksim

Şehit Muhtar Mahallesi Bekar Sokak No::28, Şehit Muhtar

Şehit Muhtar Mahallesi Bekar Sokak No::28, Şehit Muhtar, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Adana Ocakbasi

No:2, Bozkurt, Baysungur Sk

No:2, Bozkurt, Baysungur Sk, 34375 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkiye

This local neighborhood grill, Adana Ocakbasi, is renowned for its speciality in cooking every part of the animal, making it an ideal spot for offal lovers. It provides a non-touristic experience, welcoming all guests, including foreigners. If you are a fan of trying out all cuts of an animal, this restaurant is worth a visit.

Recommended by

The specialty of this grill is cooking every part of the animal, so if you like offal you definitely need to go here. For me it's all about eating all cuts of the animal, and that’s why I like going to Adana Ocakbaşı. The restaurant is not touristic, it’s in a local neighborhood, but they always welcome foreigners. You would definitely love it.
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Adana Ocakbasi

Adana Ocakbasi

No:2, Bozkurt, Baysungur Sk

No:2, Bozkurt, Baysungur Sk, 34375 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkiye

Lades Pastaneleri

Merkez, Namık Kemal Cd. 41/A

Merkez, Namık Kemal Cd. 41/A, 34310 Avcılar/İstanbul, Türkiye

With more than 60 years of history, Lades Pastaneleri is a small but authentic eatery nestled in the heart of the Taksim neighborhood. It's known for its traditional Turkish breakfast, featuring the best chicken breast and eggs according to many. The restaurant operates with a unique philosophy of utilizing all parts of the chicken in its varied preparations, offering uninterrupted service from breakfast to dinner.

Recommended by

Authentic Turkish breakfast. More than 60 years in the same place. The best chicken breast and eggs so far. The best and most authentic Turkish breakfast you will ever have. More than 60 years in the same place preparing the best chicken breast and eggs so far. Lades is a small place in the middle of the Taksim neighborhood With the philosophy of using all the chicken for its different preparations from breakfast to dinner with uninterrupted service.
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Lades Pastaneleri

Lades Pastaneleri

Merkez, Namık Kemal Cd. 41/A

Merkez, Namık Kemal Cd. 41/A, 34310 Avcılar/İstanbul, Türkiye

Mürver Restaurant

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Kemankeş Cd. No:57-59

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Kemankeş Cd. No:57-59, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Led by the young and talented chef Mevlüt Özkaya, Mürver Restaurant offers an experience that incorporates Turkish culinary traditions with a modern twist. The restaurant provides a breathtaking view of the Bosporus, enhancing the dining experience. The menu comprises a variety of dishes and desserts, ensuring a delightful culinary journey for each visitor.

Recommended by

The young chef Mevlüt Özkaya is leading this restaurant. The restaurant has a beautiful view of the Bosporus. Mevlüt, the chef, is following the Turkish culinary traditions in his way.
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Mürver Restaurant

Mürver Restaurant

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Kemankeş Cd. No:57-59

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Kemankeş Cd. No:57-59, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Pandeli Restaurant

Rüstempaşa Mah. Balık Pazarı kapısı Sokağı Mısırçarşı İçi 1, Rüstem Paşa, D:2,

Rüstempaşa Mah. Balık Pazarı kapısı Sokağı Mısırçarşı İçi 1, Rüstem Paşa, D:2, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye

Located in the heart of the spice market, Pandeli Restaurant has a rich history, being one of the oldest dining establishments in the area. They offer a menu filled with Istanbul classics such as a flavorful eggplant salad, an assortment of mezes, and börek, a savory pastry. The restaurant's atmosphere is enhanced by the vibrant photos taken by Gülin Özalp.

Recommended by

Pandeli is one of the oldest restaurants in town, located in the spice market. They serve Istanbul classics on their menu, like a really good eggplant salad, good mezes or a really good börek, a savoury pastry. Photo: Gülin Özalp
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Pandeli Restaurant

Pandeli Restaurant

Rüstempaşa Mah. Balık Pazarı kapısı Sokağı Mısırçarşı İçi 1, Rüstem Paşa, D:2,

Rüstempaşa Mah. Balık Pazarı kapısı Sokağı Mısırçarşı İçi 1, Rüstem Paşa, D:2, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye

Mikla

Asmalı Mescit, The Marmara Pera, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:15

Asmalı Mescit, The Marmara Pera, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:15, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Mikla, run by chef-restaurateur Mehmet Gürs, is known for its refined Anatolian cooking and stunning roof terrace views. The menu is a diverse offering of meat and fish dishes such as grilled and dried beef, braised lamb, and various seafood, all presented in an array of unique styles. Balancing respect for traditional Turkish cuisine with a flair for contemporary style, the restaurant offers a forward-thinking menu that has earned it a place in The World’s 50 Best Restaurant’s List, 51-100.

Recommended by

When in Istanbul you should definitely go to restaurant Mikla, run by chef-restaurateur Mehmet Gürs. Absolutely beautiful views from the roof terrace and amazing refined Anatolian cooking.
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Mikla

Mikla

Asmalı Mescit, The Marmara Pera, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:15

Asmalı Mescit, The Marmara Pera, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:15, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Aheste

Asmalı Mescit, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:107 D:F

Asmalı Mescit, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:107 D:F, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

With a focus on shared dining experiences, Aheste provides an enjoyable ambiance for an evening out with friends. The food and service are frequently praised, contributing to the overall positive vibe of the place. The restaurant also offers an easy online reservation system for a hassle-free booking experience.

Recommended by

If you’re into a friendly and tasty evening with friends to share your food and drinks Aheste is spot on. Great food, service and vibe… If you’re into a friendly and tasty evening with friends to share your food and drinks Aheste is spot on.
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Aheste

Aheste

Asmalı Mescit, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:107 D:F

Asmalı Mescit, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:107 D:F, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Şehzade Cağ Kebap

Hoca Paşa, Hoca Paşa Sk. No:6 D:4

Hoca Paşa, Hoca Paşa Sk. No:6 D:4, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye

In the midst of numerous kebab shops, Şehzade Cağ Kebap stands out with its unique specialty of horizontally prepared kebabs. This establishment offers a distinct culinary experience, setting it apart from the rest. The kebabs served here are often described as a real treat, making it a worthwhile visit for those seeking a special dining experience.

Recommended by

In the middle of a street full of kebab joints, this is something else, a culinary gem, serving a real speciality, a horisontally prepared kebabs. A treat!
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Şehzade Cağ Kebap

Şehzade Cağ Kebap

Hoca Paşa, Hoca Paşa Sk. No:6 D:4

Hoca Paşa, Hoca Paşa Sk. No:6 D:4, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye

Nato Restaurant

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi Necatibey Caddesi, Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Karanlık Fırın Sk. No:4 Karaköy

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi Necatibey Caddesi, Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Karanlık Fırın Sk. No:4 Karaköy, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

With more than 50 years of history, Nato Restaurant offers the charm of delicious Turkish home-cooked meals. Located in Karaköy, the eatery is a go-to spot for those seeking authentic local cuisine. The restaurant's longevity speaks volumes about its commitment to quality and tradition.

Recommended by

In Nato Lokantasi, located in Karaköy, you can find delicious Turkish home cooked meals. They have been there for more than 50 years.
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Nato Restaurant

Nato Restaurant

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi Necatibey Caddesi, Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Karanlık Fırın Sk. No:4 Karaköy

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi Necatibey Caddesi, Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Karanlık Fırın Sk. No:4 Karaköy, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Sokak Lezzeti Tarihi Balık Dürümcü Mehmet Usta

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Mumhane Cd. No:37/B

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Mumhane Cd. No:37/B, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

This eatery is known for its special balik dürüm, a dish made with freshly grilled mackerel that's heavily seasoned yet light and delicious. It's a popular spot that often has a queue, but the wait is generally considered worthwhile. The place is ideal for a snack, breakfast, a light lunch, or even to satisfy late-night cravings.

Recommended by

We passed by, saw a massive queue decided to return in the night, and the 30 min wait was well worth. This balik dürum with fresh grilled mackerel was heavy seasoned, light and delicious. Perfect snack, breakfast , light lunch or late night craving
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Sokak Lezzeti Tarihi Balık Dürümcü Mehmet Usta

Sokak Lezzeti Tarihi Balık Dürümcü Mehmet Usta

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Mumhane Cd. No:37/B

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Mumhane Cd. No:37/B, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

Yeni Lokanta

Tomtom, Kumbaracı Ykş. No:66/B

Tomtom, Kumbaracı Ykş. No:66/B, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

With a modern take on Turkish ingredients, Yeni Lokanta offers a unique dining experience. One of their must-try dishes is the traditional Turkish dumplings, otherwise known as mantı. This low-key restaurant is appreciated for its good vibes and tasty menu, which includes a 7-course sharing option.

Recommended by

You need to go to Yeni Lokanta and definitely eat their mantı - the traditional Turkish dumplings.
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Yeni Lokanta

Yeni Lokanta

Tomtom, Kumbaracı Ykş. No:66/B

Tomtom, Kumbaracı Ykş. No:66/B, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye

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