What other city in the world extends across two continents? Turkey’s vibrant metropolis, Istanbul, sits partially in Asia and partially in Europe. From the beautiful, blue waters of the Bosphorus, to the impressive gold mosaics of the Hagia Sophia, and the abundance of the Grand Bazaar. Istanbul is simply filled with extraordinary sights and cultural landmarks to explore. With so many things to do, I’ve gathered a few of my favorite sights and restaurants to help you wander through this magical place!
Where to Stay:
– this luxurious hotel is located in a waterfront, 19th-century Ottoman palace. It has an incredible Italian restaurant, a Turkish restaurant, as well as a lounge bar. The hotel also has several other amenities such as an indoor and an outdoor pool, a beautiful spa (must try the Turkish Hammam), gym and hair salon. It is conveniently located near many of the sightseeing sights.
– similarly to the Four Seasons, this hotel is also set in a beautiful historical building inspired by Ottoman palaces. It has four restaurants and bars, such as the popular Shang Palace, and it is only a fifteen minute walk from the Dolmabahçe Palace!
– Soho House Istanbul is set in a stunning 1873 neoclassical building. Many rooms are apartment style with a kitchen, terrace with a Jacuzzi and have beautiful panoramic views. The hotel has two sophisticated restaurants and a bar, Turkish baths and massage rooms. Additionally, it is only a seven minute walk from Galata Tower and a ten minute walk from the Sishane metro.
– unlike the previous hotels, the St. Regis Hotel in Istanbul has a modern, Art Deco inspired design. It is located in Istanbul’s best neighborhood and has incredible amenities. The hotel also hosts renowned rooftop restaurant, Spago, by chef Wolfgang Puck.
– Ciragan Palace is yet another astonishing hotel set inside an ancient Ottoman palace that overlooks the Bosphorus. It has a beautiful infinity pool, open-air bar, two restaurants, a spa and a fitness center (and even a helipad). The hotel is down the street from the Four Seasons and very close to the Dolmabahçe Sarayı museum.
What To Do:
– also known as the Seraglio, this beautiful museum used to be the residence of Ottoman sultans. The museum is very large, so be prepared to walk a lot and make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes.
– the Grand Bazaar is one of the largest markets in the world with over 4,000 shops. At the Bazaar you’ll find every kind of authentic Turkish delights, food, gold, crafts and more.
Spice Bazaar – The Spice Bazaar is only a 15 min walk from the Grand Bazaar, so make sure to make your way to both. They have amazing spices but I specifically recommend the spicy chili and loukoum.
Sultanahmet Area – This area is the old center of Istanbul. Many of the city’s most famous historical buildings are located here, so make sure to set some time to explore this beautiful area!
osque, this beautiful site is one of the city’s most visited attractions. Although it is highly visited by tourists, the mosque is still active and is closed to non-worshippers during the five daily prayers — so make sure to plan your visit accordingly!– Known as the Sultan Ahmed M
our Seasons Bosphorus hotel. It used to be the administrative center and residence of the late Ottoman Empire Sultans. This beautiful palace is a must see!– This gorgeous palace is located very near the F
– Cute French cafe that is known for its fresh, homemade croissants and is a perfect spot for a quick and easy breakfast!
– This traditional restaurant is perfect if you want to experience an authentic Turkish style breakfast. There is one set menu and the food is extremely fresh and delicious! Make sure to try a little bit of everything they serve and order a fresh mint tea.
– This cozy bistro is a great spot for weekend brunch. Not only will you enjoy incredible food, but also stunning views of Bebek Bay. I recommend the poached eggs on avocado toast and the menemen.
– Gabfoods is an entirely gluten-free and refined sugar-free restaurant! It has an amazing menu of healthy breakfast dishes. Try the purple chia pudding, the avocado paleo toast or the Gabfoods Turkish breakfast, if you want something more traditional. You can also take their amazing gluten-free and refined sugar-free granolas and baked goods to-go!
– A sophisticated and modern cafe located at Bebek that is ideal for lunch. The famous spot is happening all day and night. A lot of locals go for pre dinner drinks or cocktails after dinner. It offers an extensive selection of Turkish-American fusion sharing plates, so it is a great option for a larger group. I recommend the artichoke mash, the vegan bowl and the lemon sea bass.
– I highly recommend this restaurant for anyone who wants fresh and delicious seafood and a great view of the Bosphorus strait! My favorite dishes were the jumbo shrimp and the sea bass.
– Al Madina is a great lunch spot to experience authentic Turkish food in a lively setting! I recommend ordering a few dishes to share, but make sure to try the pistachio kebab.
– Vogue is definitely one of best spots in town to gaze at stunning panoramic views of Istanbul while delighting in delicious cuisine. Their creative twist on Mediterranean dishes and sizable sushi menu are incredible. The tuna tartare, black cod and eggplant with goat cheese are must tries!
et located in Grand Bazaar. We had lunch here and then walked around the Grand Bazaarafter. It’s a bit touristy, but the food was still excellent. Definitely try the beef sushi, beef carpaccio and one of the famous steaks along with some side dishes, such as the tomato salad or mushrooms.– Another must try restaurant in Istanbul is the famous Nusr-
in Bebek is absolutely amazing! The cozy, yet sophisticated atmosphere along with the beautiful view makes this the perfect lunch date spot. I recommend the grilled octopus and the sea bass.– This seafood restaurant by the sea
– Delicatessen is a trendy restaurant in Nişantaşı. The menu always includes seasonal ingredients, along with wine pairing suggestions from their 1000 bottle wine cellar. The restaurant sells almost every product used there such as spices, sauces, charcuterie and wines. Try the artichoke pate with ricotta, the vegetable layers with goat cheese, and the oven baked salmon on top of avocado and arugula salad.
Turkish dishes. It is located in the trendy Nişantaşı neighborhood, so I really recommend exploring the area after lunch! I loved the lentil soup, zucchini pancakes, fresh hummus and the vegetable sauté.– This traditional, family-run restaurant serves authentic
– Akali serves the best Burger in town! This small café has two locations, Nişantaşı and Etiler, so make sure to make your way to either one and try their gourmet, juicy burgers that are served on homemade sourdough bread.
Italian spot is a great alternative! The elegant venue is one of the first Italian restaurants in town and has since become an Istanbul classic. Start with the artichoke and avocado salad and then try the baked eggplant parmigiana, asparagus and truffle linguine or the porcini mushroom risotto.– If you need a break from Turkish cuisine, this
Kevok Ocakbaşı – My friend recommended this place and we absolutely LOVED IT! It is super casual but very authentic. They play Turkish music and you can see people dancing at night. The starters were insane – get a mix of different appetizers including the eggplant! For entree, make sure to try the cop sis (lamb meat) and the adana kebab! It was one of the most flavorful meals I’ve eaten.
our Seasons hotel, so ask the concierge to arrange a private transfer for you during sunset. This waterfront restaurant is very romantic and beautiful. As soon as we sat down we were presented with an incredible vegetable and seafood spread. There is no menu, the waiters just kept bringing us food so we got to got a taste of everything. The tomato salad was out of this world. It was an incredible experience!– Balikci Abdullah is a 20 minute boat ride from the F
– This upscale, hilltop restaurant has an amazing view of the city! At night it turns into a trendy nightclub, so this is an ideal dinner spot before a night out. I recommend ordering a few sharing plates (eggplant was to die for) and pairing them with one of their crafted cocktails. They made me a very good Nedi Martini!
– Sunset is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul and has an amazing view of the Bosphorus! Definitely come here during sunset to delight in the view and in its eclectic, yet refined menu. The menu features a variety of seasonal dishes that combine Mediterranean, Turkish and Japanese cuisine. I recommend the yellowtail sashimi, the Norwegian salmon tartare and the yogurt kebab.
– This restaurant inside of the Les Ottoman hotel is right on the Bosphorus, so expect an amazing view! It has become a classic spot in Istanbul and is frequently visited by artists and celebrities. Its menu includes both Turkish and international food and I really recommend trying the salmon carpaccio and grilled steak tenderloin.
– This lively seafood restaurant on the Bosphorus is always packed and the DJ plays great music! The atmosphere is incredible and most people stay long after their dinner ends. The menu consists of mainly mezze dishes and fresh seafood. I recommend the lobster, grilled octopus and the seafood pasta.
– Spago, by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck, is located on top of the St. Regis hotel and has a beautiful view of Maçka Park and the Bosphorus! This contemporary restaurant has a creative and modern seasonal menu and an excellent selection of international wines. Try the octopus robata, house-made sweet potato gnocchi and the steamed sea bass.
– A seafood restaurant with stunning views of the Bosphorus, an enjoyable atmosphere and great service. Their seafood menu is not only delicious, but also fresh and high quality. Start with the eggplant salad and also try the Black Sea turbot and the boiled shrimp.
– This highly acclaimed, internationally recognized restaurant has finally made its way to Istanbul a few years ago! Zuma is definitely the best choice if you want to experience izakaya style dining with bold and authentic flavors. I recommend the salmon and tuna tartare, the miso black cod, the mushroom skewers and the tuna aburi.
Turkish Kebab in Nişantaşı! The restaurant is chic, yet vibrant and fun! Start with a selection of mezze and then try one of their famous kebabs!– Adana il Sınırı has the best
– Paper Moon is an elegant Italian restaurant with a quiet, cozy atmosphere and authentic menu. They have several locations in Milan, Manila, Hong Kong, Dova and more. I loved the baked eggplant parmigiana, the beef carpaccio and homemade black tagliolini with salmon.
– This classic spot is one of the best places for authentic Turkish delights. Although they are famous for their baklava, I recommend trying their loukoum because it is out of this world! Make sure to try the burek with spinach as well!
– Pelit is another amazing place for traditional Turkish delights! The entire menu is great, but definitely indulge in the baklava here – you won’t regret it!