5 places for classic Turkish cuisine in Istanbul

1) Mahir Lokantasi

You’d never notice this restaurant hidden away on the second floor of an apartment building overlooking the busy avenue near the Osmanbey metro. An exceptionally friendly staff, fresh homecooked-style regional dishes from all over Turkey and a highly recommended lahmacun (made to order) await in this cosy neighbourhood restaurant.

Turkish dishes from Mahir Lokantasi

Cumhuriyet Mh. Tavukçu Fethi Sk. 28-B

+90 212 234 93 94


2) Çiya Sofrasi

Musa Dağdeviren was the first to scour Anatolia on a personal mission to preserve and protect its traditional recipes. Since 1998 he has served them at this humble eatery and his own kebab restaurant right across the street. A lot of the daily-changing dishes can also be found in Dağdeviren’s own book, The Turkish Cookbook, a tome of Anatolia’s culinary history.

Traditional kebap dish at çiya sofrasi restaurant in Istanbul

Caferağa Mh. Güneşli Bahçe Sk. 43

+90 216 330 31 90


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3) Haci Abdullah

Skip the touristic İstiklal Caddesi restaurants and head to one of Taksim’s most established eateries serving homecookedstyle Turkish food. Underneath a dome of colourful glass and past a row of decorative pickle jars, you can choose from the dailymade specials in a cafeteria-style display.

interior and ceiling of Haci Abdullah restaurant

Hüseyinağa Mh. Atıf Yılmaz Cd. 9-A

+90 212 293 85 61


4) Borsa Kandilli

Another upscale establishment that prides itself on consistency, Borsa presents a menu of almost every classic Turkish dish imaginable and serves it true to its original recipe and ingredients. From artichoke confit in olive oil to black cabbage stuffed with lamb, Borsa offers the perfect introduction to the Turkish kitchen.

Borsa Restaurant

AT: ADILE SULTAN SARAYI Kandilli Mh. Vaniköy Cd. 12

+90 216 460 03 04


5) Hünkar

An upscale esnaf (tradesmen) restaurant with daily-made dishes that reflect the kind of food you’d find in homes all over Turkey. Consistency in excellence has made Hünkar an establishment where regulars take comfort in dishes such as slow cooked lamb wrapped in eggplant or kadınbudu köfte (meatballs fried in egg batter).

interior of Hünkar

Harbiye Mh. Mim Kemal Öke Cd. 21

+90 212 225 46 65


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