Mapplr’s favorite restaurants in Istanbul

view of hagia sofia istanbul

What makes a city hot? Art, history, beautiful location and of course, good food. Istanbul has it all. And as with any city with lots of good food, how does a visitor figure out which restaurants and cafes are really worth trying? To answer this question, I decided to ask a local. But not just any local. I asked Cenk Sonmezsoy, whose food blog, Cafe Fernando, was voted the best blog in Turkey. Cenk spent five years in San Francisco (studying for his MBA). He is a passionate foodie who loves to bake and counts photography as a hobby (check out the beautiful photos on his blog).

Here are Cenk’s favorites in Istanbul. (Note: check the updates at the end of this post)

Çiya Sofrası (read my review)
Caferağa Mah. Güneşlibahçe Sk. No:43
Kadıköy
Istanbul, Turkey
www.ciya.com.tr

Beyti
Orman Sokak No:8
Florya
Istanbul, Turkey
+90 212 663 2990
www.beyti.com.tr

Hünkar
Mim Kemal Öke Caddesi No:21/1
Nişantaşı
Istanbul, Turkey
+90 212 225 4662

Hamdi
Tahmis Caddesi Kalçın Sokak No:17
Eminönü
Istanbul, Turkey
+90 212 528 0390
www.hamdirestorant.com.tr/hamdien.htm

Changa
Sıraselviler Caddesi 47
Cihangir
Istanbul, Turkey
+90 212 249 1348
www.changa-istanbul.com/v2/changataksimmain.asp

Iskele
(Best fish restaurant)
Köybaşı Caddesi Vapur İskelesi Sokak No:15
Yeniköy
Istanbul, Turkey

Balikci Sabahattin
(another good fish restaurant)
Cankurtaran, Sultanahmet (behind Armada Hotel)
Eminonu
Istanbul, Turkey
+90 212 458 18 24

Baylan Patisserie
Muvakkithane Caddesi No:19
Kadıköy
Istanbul, Turkey
+90 216 346 63 50
http://www.baylanpastanesi.com/eng/anasayfa.html

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UPDATE (11 June 2009): I visited Istanbul last month and added more restaurants to the list. Please check out:

More favorite restaurants in Istanbul

UPDATE (4 April 2011): We just posted the insider’s guide to the top restaurants that serve traditional Ottoman Turkish cuisine in Istanbul.

About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.