Food in Istanbul- what to eat and definitely not miss!

Having tried and loved Turkish food all over the world, we were really looking forward to eating the food in Turkey- and it did not disappoint!

From lavish breakfast spreads and super-satisfying street food, to wholesome iftar meals, finger-licking kebabs and desserts worthy of sultans, Turkish food itself is worth the flight to Istanbul!

Breakfast

The spread is very similar to that we saw in Greece, and as tasty! Fresh juicy fruits, home-made cakes, cheeses and olives; its a great way to begin the day!

Turkish breakfast of champions!
Turkish breakfast of champions!

Super-satisfying street food

One could easily spend the whole day, eating their way across the city!

Islak “wet” burger

No visit to Taksim square is complete without one (or actually two) of these. Comprising the bare bones of a burger- a meat patty and two pieces of bread soaked in a tomato-based special sauce, they may sound soggy and unappealing, but are delicious and addictive!

Fish sandwich

The Marmara sea is a rich source of fresh fish, and when fried, they make tasty sandwiches!

Fresh fried fish sandwiches
Fresh fried fish sandwiches

Gozleme

To an Indian, this looked like a thin stuffed paratha. It is made (often right in front of you) by adding stuffings of your choice (spinach, cheese, aubergine, minced meat, sausage) onto a super thin circular piece of dough, which is folded on itself, like a calzone, and cooked on a piping hot iron pan. It is finger-licking good!

Sausage and cheese gozleme
Sausage and cheese gozleme

Boregi

More stuffed bread, but this time, unlike the filo dough rolls or the gozleme described above, this had more of a bread taste and consistency. Eaten with yogurt and sauce.

Spinach boregi
Spinach boregi

Pide

The Turkish pizza, could serve as a snack or a meal, and is delicious!

Mince meat and chicken-cheese pide
Mince meat and chicken-cheese pide

Kebabs

They are everywhere, can cost anything from 10-100 Turkish lira (2.50 – 25 USD) and are a must-eat in Turkey! Some of the kebabs we tried and loved include:

Adana kebab

Meat marinated with spices and cooked on a grill- how can you go wrong!

Beyti kebab

A spicy kebab, wrapped in a thin tortilla and grilled, served with yogurt and salad, we could eat them all day (and night)!

Testi kebab

This was new for us- an earthen pot was brought to the table on a sizzling hot iron tray. The pot was then broken open with a hammer and the steaming contents transferred to a fresh plate to be eaten!

Kofte

Marinated, spicy meatballs! They could also be eaten in a sandwich, which was also delicious.

Kofte
Kofte

Iftar menu

We happened to be in Turkey during the month of Ramadan so were lucky to experience iftar (breaking of the day-long fast at sunset) with the locals. The set menu in most restaurants consisted of a soup, salad, freshly baked bread and kebabs. Wholesome and tasty!

Dessert

Turkish desserts are delightful and leave you satiated and for anyone with a sweet tooth, it is dessert-heaven 🙂

Baklava

Ubiquitous on the streets of Istanbul, we tried the home of the baklava Karaköy Güllüoğlu and would definitely recommend it!

Halka and similar fried sweets

Fried dough, soaked in sugar syrup and whats not to love!

Kunefe and Gullac

Specialties of the Ramadan season, they were also delicious and very different from anything we’ve tried before.

Special tip: Get the Kunefe with ice cream! It is double the delight 🙂

Kunefe and Gullac

Drink

Turkish coffee and tea definitely cannot be missed!

Kahva

Strong, black and served with a glass of water, Turkish coffee really wakes you up!

Kahva
Kahva

Çay

Turkish tea (pronounced chai) is consumed at all times of the day, and by the end of the week we were hooked too! Served with two lumps of sugar, it is drunk as often as the mood strikes..

Ayran

Ayran is a salty, buttermilk drink and complemented kebabs and wet burgers perfectly! It is one of the most common drinks for the locals – just look around and you’ll see it.

Wine

Cappadocia is a wine growing region and makes very good reds!

Cappadocia red wine

Beer

In keeping with our tradition of drinking local beer, we tried a couple of the beers- one refreshing lager and a tasty stout.

A foodie’s paradise, we can’t wait for the next trip to Turkey (or more realistic visit to the neighborhood Turkish store)!

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