Foodie's Guide to Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul

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Brooke Yool

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 Foodie's Guide to Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul
Curator’s statement

Enchanting Istanbul delights all the senses, but my favorite is the taste. From juicy kebabs to rich baklava, there is something for everyone. Istiklal Caddesi covers a mile of cafes, restaurants, and bars, and it's a stone's throw from all of Istanbul's best tourist sites. Get to know this magical city through its cuisine.

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Where to stay

The Marmara Taksim

The Marmara Taksim is an iconic hotel situated in the heart of Istanbul. Overlooking the bustling Taksim Square, it offers stunning views of the city's skyline and the Bosphorus. With its contemporary design, spacious rooms, and luxurious amenities, this hotel provides an upscale urban retreat. Its central location provides easy access to cultural attractions, shopping districts, and vibrant nightlife. The hotel boasts multiple dining options, a fitness center, and a rooftop terrace where guests can unwind while enjoying panoramic views of Istanbul. The Marmara Taksim is the perfect blend of modern comfort and Turkish hospitality in a dynamic city setting.

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CAFES/BAKERIES

Hafiz Mustafa: While this local chain has multiple locations, the one near Taksim Square has second floor seating with a great view to the street below. I enjoy one of their many cakes alongside a Turkish coffee.

Galleria Vitavien Istiklal: Delicious ice cream, which can either be enjoyed on its own, or in a sundae. It is not Turkish style, like that sold by guys wearing fezes out on the street. It is traditional and very tasty!

Asmali Bakery: This neighborhood favorite offers delightful baklava, cakes, and cookies. Sit upstairs and get a birds-eye view of their offerings.

RESTAURANTS

Bereket Doner: The Istiklal location is just off the main street, close to the action but tucked away from the crowds. They have many meat dishes, but I enjoy the savory red lentil soup.

CMR Cig Kofte: Don't judge by its appearance -- cig kofte is delicious! This vegan treat serves as either a hearty snack or a light meal. Try it for yourself!

Dürümcü Urfalı Hasan Usta: The menu is small, but everything here is exquisite, from the flavorful kebabs to the hearty soup. I recommend the Adana Kebab as a local favorite.

Yigit Sofram: A cozy place to try the large Turkish breakfast spread. Their house made jams and bread will keep you coming back, since they're so tasty.

Bursa Kebapcisi: This traditional restaurant is only two blocks from the action of Istiklal. No matter what variety of kebab you try, you will have a winner. For a light side dish, I recommend the salads.

Balkan Lokantasi: When in Turkiye, a lokanta is a must-try. Traditional foods are served cafeteria-style. This is one of the most affordable types of restaurants in Istanbul!

Need to Know

You can't go wrong with many of the eateries on Istiklal. I love ordering small amounts from each one, so that I can go to them all! Reach out to me, and I will plan your ideal foodie journey in this delicious city!

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Istanbul.

In need of further inspiration? Check out Matthew Troia’s guide, Complete 3-Day Itinerary for Istanbul.

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Brooke Yool

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