Going to the city where east meets west? Here are 5 foods in Istanbul you have to try! Pictures and addresses included for each entry.
We came to Istanbul right after our trip to Sarajevo and Mostar. Two cities that were influenced by Turkish culture. In Istanbul there is so much to see, but for this article I’m going to focus just on some must try foods in Istanbul for a true Turkish experience.
If you want to more than double the amount of food you can try, do a one day 7 hour food tour comprising of 12 stops around the city. You can read Cody’s review about the Istanbul Food Tour and decide if it’s for you.
Probably the most famous of all Turkish food, there are plenty of Kebab places to choose from. While we were in Istanbul for a week, we probably had a kebab 4 times. They do make a great lunch if you don’t want to go to a proper restaurant and are busy visiting the sites.
My two favorite kebab places were Asmalimescit Durumcusu in Beyoglu and Kebapci Iskender in Kadikoy (home of the Iskender kebab).
This bagel like street food is something you’ll see all over the city. Quite possibly the most popular street food in Istanbul, there are hawker carts littering the main streets offering fresh and delicious simit. This is similar to a bagel, but coated in sesame seeds. It is most popular with breakfast and pairs well with menemen (tomato and egg) as well as cheese with honey.
There is no specific recommendation for what place to get it at, just find any cart and give it a shot.
This may not be for everybody, but it is a classic in Istanbul. It is usually lamb meat and offal wrapped up in intestines and grilled on a spit. It goes great with some freshly baked white bread bread and it is also all over the city.
I recommend one from Sampiyon Kokorec (a chain) that is all over the city. The original one is at the Fish Market in Beyoglu.
Commonly called Turkish pizza, a pide is more similar to a Georgian khatchapuri. It is dough that has been baked into a boat shape, and filled with cheese and meats. This is a popular street food, but is also commonly served at sit down restaurants. The most famous Pide place is called Pide Sun, located in Kadikoy. I recommend the mixed meat version, which has tons of great flavor.
I don’t know how many people think of seafood when they think of food in Istanbul, but it is right on the sea! There is tons of great seafood here, but one of my favorites is the mussels. You can get these from street vendors all over the city (avoid the ones selling on the Galata bridge) but you should definitely try the stuffed mussels from Mercan. This is another chain which is found all over the city, so it should make it easy to stop here for a quick bite. The mussels are filled with rice and spices and served in the shell as a type of spoon.
I recommend the one in Kadikoy here