Turkey, one of the most popular countries, is at the top for its cuisine. The main ingredient of its dishes is herbs and spices ! Tasting therefore a wide variety of dishes we suggest you try the following dishes ! Check out Turkish Cuisine and try one of the dishes during your visit to Istanbul !
Corba (Soup) – If you are soup lovers then you will love it ! Turkish soups are very tasty, especially the one made from green lentils. It is a simple soup dish that is very popular in Turkey. Many Turks eat it as breakfast.
Kumpir (Baked Potatoes) – Kumpir is a type of food sold on the streets. It is very popular especially in the coastal resorts and cities of Turkey. It is a baked potato with the skin that is dry and crispy, while the inside is soft, smeared with butter and you can fill it with various ingredients such as cheese, sausage, ham, pickles and Russian salad. If you find yourself in Istanbul, the most popular place to eat good kumpir is Ortakoy!
Pide or Lahmacun – Pide is a popular dish served in restaurants offering cheap and traditional Turkish food. It consists of a thin crust of dough covered with toppings such as cheese, egg, diced meat, chicken or tuna and then placed in a hot stone oven. Another lighter version is Lahmacun, served with chopped meat (minced meat), salad and lemon juice on thin bread (sort of like a pizza).
Köfte – It’s the Turkish version of meatballs. It is sold on the streets in sandwiches or served with rice and salad in restaurants. There are many different types of Köfte and the taste varies depending on the region where the recipe comes from. Çiğ Köfte are raw meatballs with bulgur, onion, pepper, tomato paste, spices and herbs that are kneaded by hand for a long time and then baked. The recipe comes from southeastern Turkey and they are traditionally eaten as a snack or appetizer and served on lettuce leaves.
Street Kebap – There are more than 40 different types of kebab in Turkey, but the most popular is the traditional kebab sold on the streets with the large rotating skewers of chicken or beef that the cook cuts into thin strips and places them on a thin pastry pita along with lettuce, onions and tomatoes. The kebab sandwich is particularly delicious with a glass of Ayran (a drink with yoghurt, salt and water).
Gözleme – Cheap, tasty and very filling. Gözleme is a popular food sold in local markets. Traditionally considered the worker’s food, it is a layer of dough stuffed with spinach, cheese, potatoes and parsley. It is cooked on a large special grill and is usually accompanied by tea or Ayran.
Menemen – You won’t often see it on restaurant menus, but it can be made anywhere as it’s quick and easy to make by roasting peppers, onions and tomatoes in a pan with eggs mixed in. Serve with fresh bread and olives.
Şiş Kebap – Turkey is the first country in the world to invent chopped meat and souvlaki. Şiş Kebap is made with small pieces of roasted lamb, chicken or fish and served on a wooden or metal rod. You will drool when you smell and see the kebabs grilling on the charcoal.
Döner – If you like sandwiches you will definitely love it. Doner is the Greek pita round simply made from chicken, lamb or beef and served with vegetables, spices and garlic yoghurt or hummus.
İskender Kebab – These are long strips of spicy lamb cooked in tomato sauce and served with melted butter over rice and pita bread with yoghurt. Named after a Lord (İskender Efendi) of the Ottoman Empire who lived in Prusa, it is a very popular dish in Turkey.
Yaprak Sarma – Vine leaves wrapped around a stuffing of rice and onion, flavored with mint, raisins, pepper and cinnamon, cooked in steam, are the well-known in Greece sarmadakia. This dish has influence from the Ottoman Empire and is known from the Middle East to Southeast Europe. It is a bit time-consuming to prepare, but it is worth it and is one of the most popular dishes in Turkey!
İmam Bayıldı – They are eggplants stuffed with tomato, onion and garlic, with rice or bulgur and other vegetables, baked in the oven. It is the well-known imam baildi, one of the most delicious oil-based stews in Greece as well. There is a funny joke about its name that an Imam fainted when he heard the cost of the ingredients needed to make this dish.
Taze Fasulye – Green, fresh green beans cooked with tomato or tomato paste and of course onion, a well-known and popular oil dish in Greece as well.
Karnıyarık – Fried eggplants with minced meat, onion, parsley, garlic and tomato. These are the well-known Greek “papoutsakia”.
Mücver – The main ingredients of this popular Turkish dish are shredded zucchini, eggs and flour. They usually add white cheese, green onions and mint. It is lightly fried in vegetable oil or olive oil and served hot as a side dish.
Manti – It is a type of pasta that resembles ravioli and deserves its reputation as a treasured traditional food in Turkey. There are many varieties of manti. The filling may vary, the recipe may be different, but when we say ‘manti’ the first thing that comes to mind is a pouch of thin dough stuffed with minced meat, boiled in water and served with yoghurt and garlic sauce and hot butter with red pepper powder (paprika) or tomato paste.
Of course we could not overlook the sweets you must try !
- Baklava – Perhaps the most popular Turkish dessert
- Halva (pishmaniye)
- Mosaic paste (chocolate cake with broken cookies)
- Güllaç (a unique texture made with yeast, milk, rose water, nuts and pomegranate seeds)
Finally, Turkish coffee will become your daily habit !
RESTAURANTS IN ISTANBUL
Turkish cuisine is very rich and you can try many versions and dishes! The recommended dishes can be found in restaurants all over the country.
Below we recommend three of the best restaurants you can find in Istanbul!
It is the restaurant where you can taste the most delicious doner kebab in Istanbul and is located in the right wing of Hocapasha Street on the corner.
The most delicious dish served at Kasap Osman is a portion of kebab doner. In addition, you can try traditional meat dishes and Turkish kebab options.
It was founded in the 19th century by a family that came to Istanbul from the Balkans. One of the best meatball restaurants in Istanbul.
This restaurant is a preferred place for lunch. You can also order bean salad with meatballs and enjoy a simple but delicious meal. Filibe Koftecisi is considered as one of the best local Turkish restaurants in Istanbul.
The restaurant first opened as “Lades Muhallebicisi” in 1969, very close to Taksim Square, which served light Turkish desserts. It has now been converted into a restaurant with a traditional menu since 1986.
Thanks to the collaboration of brothers Ahmet and Mehmet Selikkol, both chefs, the restaurant became famous in Istanbul. It has been located for many years on Sadri Alisik Street on Istiklal Avenue (near Taksim Square).
In the restaurant you can find traditional dishes of Turkish cuisine, such as karniyarik (eggplant stuffed with onions, tomatoes, peppers and ground meat) and hunkar begendi (lamb stew served with mashed eggplant).
Since the Lades restaurant opened as a dessert shop in the 1960s, it has continued this tradition. In the lades dessert section you can find sekerpare (baked soft dough dipped in thick syrup), ekmek kadayifi (crepes in thick syrup) and kabak tatlisi (pumpkin with syrup and nuts).
Lades restaurant is the closest place to Taksim Square on the list of local Turkish restaurants in Istanbul. You can walk to this restaurant from popular hotels in and around Taksim.