Istanbul is a magical city with buzzing bazaars, impossibly grand mosques and smoky cafés coupled with a modern, ultra-dynamic metropolis where signs of a renewed cultural vibrancy come hand in hand with a physical renaissance.
When visiting for the first time, Istanbul can be overwhelming with so many choices of where to stay, what to eat, and what to do. These top 7 Istanbul restaurants have been chosen by locals as the best the city has to offer for each day of the week.
1. Changa is the recipient of a “Best New Restaurant” award (Wallpaper – Design Awards 2007) and has been featured in numerous local and international magazines and newspapers. Located in a 1903 Art Nouvea building near Taksim, Changa offers fusion food at its best in a modern and charming atmosphere.
2. Mikla caused quite a splash when it opened in 2005 on the top floor of the Marmara Pera and is still making waves, due to its unique niche in the fusion market – brilliant welding of Scandinavian and Turkish cuisine.
3. Sunset Grill and Bar is located on a hilltop in the posh neighborhood Ulus, and is awe-inspiring both with its food and its stunning views. This longstanding fine-dining venue offers International and Japanese cuisines at its finest in addition to a few select Turkish dishes.
4. Kiyi has been open since 1964, and is Istanbulite’s favorite seafood restaurant. It has a cozy interior with local paintings on the walls (alongside some strange art deco creations) and an outside terrace which is particularly pleasant in summer.
5. Zuma is the Istanbul branch of the trendiest Japanese restaurant in London and Hong Kong. Enjoy informal Japanese dining style in a 2-story venue on the waterfront with a wonderful view of Bosphorous.
6. Park Samdan has been serving its loyal customers since 1981, and is one of Nisantasi’s best known and most established restaurants. Particularly popular for lunch, the restaurant is deservedly renowned for its traditional Turkish cuisine and yogurtlu kebap.
7. Ulus 29 is well known both for its incredible view, which takes in the straits of the Bosphorus and its bridge, and for its avant-garde design. They offer a variety of cuisines, including inventive International and Turkish dishes and top-quality sushi options.
Talya Arditi is Editor at The Guide Istanbul.