Dining and Restaurants in Istanbul

Istanbul is truly a gastronome's delight; this cultural capital of Turkey with its mouth-watering dishes might just turn even a Spartan into a glutton. However, you will enjoy more if you eat moderately and taste all the delicious dishes but more important is to know what to eat and when. The Lakerda (pickled Tuna fish) and Ciroz (sun dried Mackerel or Whitebait) are the best possible starters, choose rocket as your fish salad and liberally squeeze lemon juice over it. You could move on to the Lüfer (the "blue" fish) if the time is summer but in spring insist on the larger Turbot (Kalkan). While the Red Mullet (Barbunya) and Silverside (Gümüs) are great all year round but in autumn always have the Bonito (Palamut).

Even in a meager budget you could still enjoy delicious food in Istanbul and the major food districts offer different sorts of cuisines.

The shores of the Bosphorus spoil you for choice regarding great restaurants, which mainly focus on seafood. Both on the European side as well as the Asian side you will find food joints with a beautiful view and marvelous, mouthwatering food. A variety of kebab, meze (hors d'oeuvres) and drinks such as the native Raki, wine and beer await your attention.

After a few meals of typical Turkish food, if you find yourself yearning for fast food then Beyoglu is the place to be. It is in the north of the Golden Horn and could be a bit expensive too. Off the side streets of Istiklal Caddesi you will find a number of eating joints dishing out popular European fare. Cafes, bistros, pastry shops, small eateries are dotted all over. The Beyoglyu is a nice place to get up close and personal to the young, the hip and the cool dudes of the city.

Sultanahmet is the place where you get restaurants mainly targeted towards the tourists. Thus, their dishes are less Turkish and more European and the prices are almost sky high. However, you also do get food joints where the food is local and the price is reasonable too, but you have to know these places. If you do get hold of one such restaurant be sure to taste one of the traditional home dishes (Sulu Yemek) and Pilav (rice).