It is not easy to recommend restaurants that would suit every taste, but our guests have generally been pleased with the list that we have prepared for them. Most of the restaurants listed below are in medium price range (€30-50 per person), and we ourselves like to go to them. Reservation is usually needed to get a table. A 10% tip is customary.
Although there are plenty of good restaurants in other areas of Istanbul - especially on both shores of the Bosphorus - we confine ourselves here to Sultanahmet and to close by Beyoglu. Evening rush hour in Istanbul may cost an hour’s ride in traffic and this prevents us from suggesting restaurants in other areas.
Balikci Sabahattin (Sabahattin the Fisherman) has been our favourite for many years. Long time ago Sabahattin inherited a tiny fish restaurant on a street running parallel to the current one. It was so small that there was hardly any room inside, so he began putting tables out on the street. The current building, which he took over several years ago, is a restored Turkish house. Although sufficiently spacious, many tables still spill out in the summer onto the little square in front. The fish and the meze (hors d'oeuvres) are delicious and the general atmosphere is very pleasant. In this area Sabahattin is the only restaurant that attracts a local clientele. Phone: 0212-458 1824, Address: Seyit Hasan Kuyu Sokak, Cankurtaran. Click here for the web page.
Rumeli Cafe, is housed in a renovated print-works and is on a side street very close to the hotel. It is a charming small restaurant with stone walls and clean white tablecloth. It has wood fire in the winter and, in the summer, sitting outside on the pavement is quite pleasant. A good choice for lunch as well as dinner. Phone. 0212-512 0008. Address: Ticarethane Sok. 8, Sultanahmet.
Giritli, a seafood restaurant with a "set menu", is in a restored Ottoman house located in a residential area at a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The food is delicious, and your meal will include over twelve different meze plates followed by perfectly-cooked fish (you have a choice here). Wine is included in the price of the set menu (TL 95 pp). You may choose to sit in the garden during summer. Phone: 0212-4582270. Address: Keresteci Hakki Sokak, Cankurtaran, Ahirkapi.
Khorasani s a newly opened kebab restaurant very close to the hotel. It is a nicely decorated restaurant that specializes in Antep and Antakya cuisine and is the best meat restaurant in the Sultanahmet area. Phone: 0212 5195959. Address: Ticarethane Sok. 39, Sultanahmet. Click here for the web page.
Karakol (recommended for lunch). The building located between Saint Irene and the imperial walls in the first yard of Topkapi Palace used to be an exterior guard post of the Palace during the Ottoman era. It has been restored as an a-la-carte restaurant and café and is a good alternative for a rest or a good meal on your way to or out of thePalace. Especially recommended in good weather for lunch when you can sit outside in the garden under the old trees. Phone: 0212 5149494. Address: Topkapı Sarayı, 1. Avlu, Sultanahmet.
Nar Lokantası (recommended for lunch) is housed on the top floor of the luxury goods retailer Armaggan, close to the Grand Bazaar’s Nuruosmaniye gate. The restaurant offers a fine selection of traditional Turkish cuisine and is a good choice especially for lunch. No reservation needed for lunch. Closed on Sundays. Phone: 0212-522 2800. Address: Nuruosmaniye Cad 65, Nuruosmaniye..
Sefa (open only during lunch) is the best 'esnaf lokantasi' (shopkeepers' restaurant), Turkish alternative to fast-food restaurants. In this simple and clean restaurant on offer are typical traditional dishes at extremely reasonable prices. You can order from an English menu or choose from the bain marie -the vegetable dishes are particularly appetising. No alcohol served. No reservation needed. Address: Nuruosmaniye Cad. 17,Cagaloglu, Sultanahmet
Karaköy Lokantasi. Tucked into the street behind the yet-to-be gentrified wharf district at Karakoy, this family-operated meyhane (a traditional restaurant where the menu consists predominantly of mezes) has great food, personable service and tasteful décor. With blue tile walls and old style stone floors it is reminiscent of the Turkish Republic of the 1930s and has a daily-changing lunch and dinner menu offering a variety of traditional Ottoman and Turkish cuisine. Highly recommended to anyone who likes traditional food, a cool traditional setting and calm environment. Closed on Sundays. Phone: 0212-292 4455. Address: Kemankes Caddesi 37, Karaköy. Click here for the web page.
Hamdi is an excellent Turkish kebab/ meat restaurant with an amazing range of specialties from south-eastern Turkey. Overlooking the Galata Bridge and the Golden Horn, the view from its terrace (sometimes overcrowded) during summer is breathtaking. Phone: 0212-528 0390.. Address: Tahmis C. Kalcin Sokak 17, Eminonu. Click here for the web page.
Pandeli (open only during lunch), a historical restaurant located in the entrance of the Spice Bazaar is a good choice for lunch. Ottoman stone and turquoise tiles adorn the walls and floor as they did hundreds of years ago and the sights and smells of the Spice Bazaar outside make the atmosphere here almost magical. Closed on Sundays. No reservation needed. Address: Misir Carsisi (Spice Bazaar), at the Galata Bridge entrance, Eminonu
9 Ece Aksoy. Ece Aksoy is a well-known chef who closed her big restaurant along the Bosphorus a year ago to open a much smaller, intimate restaurant in Beyoglu. The small size of the restaurant makes it possible for her to use fresh ingredients which she buys from marketplaces in and around İstanbul. A good choice for vegetarians too. Selections may change according to what is at hand on the day, but all are fine examples of Istanbul mezes and dishes our grandmothers used to make. Jams served in our breakfast are also made by herself. We recommend booking a place at one of the two long tables. After dinner you can go to Off Pera, a tiny neighbourhood bar just around the corner, for a final glass of wine or coffee before heading back to the hotel. Recently opened by two young women, one a production manager and the other a mathematician, it is very popular among certain clientele. The Turkish music night on Tuesdays is great fun. Phone:0212-245 7628. Address: Oteller Sok No: 9, Tepebasi, Beyoglu. Click here for the web page.
Münferit is often referred to as an upscale modern version of a meyhane (the Turkish taverns that serve a vast variety of meze and which for most local people are places for socializing and dining). Both the atmosphere and the food have a contemporary touch. Worth a visit just for its excellent cocktails, good ambience and great food. The restaurant features an indoor bar, plays good music and is great for dinner (with outdoor as well as indoor seating). It is also a good option for after-dinner drinks in a small and cozy atmosphere. Phone: 0212 2525067 Address:Yeni Çarşı Cad 19, Galatasaray, Beyoglu.
Some other restaurants in the same area that we like are Sofyali, (a traditional meyhane with a good street view - if a table on ground floor is available), Zubeyir (the best ocakbasi or kebab restaurant in Beyoglu) and two upper-end trendy restaurants NuPera (a terrace restaurant open only during summer) and Mikla both with eclectic international menus.