19-10-2022 - Food & Drink

Restaurants in Istanbul: Where to Eat in Istanbul Old Town

Istanbul is not only the meeting point of cultures but also of cuisines! There are various options to taste delicious food from all over the world in the city. While visiting the magnificent Hagia Sophia or taking great Instagram photos in the colorful streets of the old town, you will get hungry and start to look around for some restaurants with delicious food to refill your energy

In this article, we listed the best restaurants in Istanbul's old town for you, so you don't need to walk around and check restaurant names on the internet for comments. If you are not in Istanbul now, save this article in your browser, you may need it later!


1- The Famous Meatballs of Sultanahmet! 


Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi Selim Usta

Every list of the best restaurants in Istanbul old town should start with the famous meatballs of Sultanahmet. In the old city, there are various restaurants serving meatballs but only one of them is the original one! 

Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi Selim Usta has been serving its delicious meatballs since 1920. By 2022, the 4th generation of the family is in business and they are proud to serve the same recipe for over 100 years now

Because of their fame, the restaurant is nearly always full so you may wait around 30 minutes before getting seated. We recommend you have piyaz with your meatballs, which is a special white bean salad with onions. Still not full? There are some delicious desserts also being served such as Turkish rice pudding or semolina halva. 

Don’t forget to ask for your gift before leaving! They are giving old Turkish coins for you to keep in your wallet for luck. And finally, take some photos and share them with the #loveistanbul hashtag so we can share your ‘köfte experience’. 


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2- Big plates, huge taste! 


Resto Ethnica

This restaurant is relatively new in the area but it is already one of the favourites of both locals and visitors. At Resto Ethnica, they serve authentic Turkish and Mediterranean food. They also have many vegetarian options for visitors who prefer not to eat meat. Although they have these options; if you are looking for a real vegan place, check our list of best vegan restaurants in Istanbul.

Resto Ethnica is also praised to serve its food with excellent hospitality. You will have your lunch or dinner in a warm and welcoming environment. Guests enjoy good food with great cocktails. 

While enjoying your food and drinks, take some photos and share them with us with the #loveistanbul hashtag! 


3- Fresh Fish, Delicious Mezes!


Balıkçı Sabahattin 

In Turkish, Balıkçı means Fisherman. Only this translation explains a lot about the place. They serve fresh fish and seafood in a delightful wooden building. The building itself is famous because it was restored by Armada in 1927. Since then the restaurant has been owned and run by the same family. 

Balıkçı Sabahattin is placed in the heart of the old city. The restaurant is well-known for its fresh seafood among locals and tourists but its name was also mentioned as one of the greatest seafood restaurants in the New York Times not once but twice! Try some fresh fish and their authentic mezes with their selection of drinks.

So take time to enjoy a proper dinner there and enjoy the fresh fish of the season. Don't forget to make a reservation before you go as the restaurant is generally full. We would love to hear your comments about the place so share your moments with us on Instagram with the #loveistanbul hashtag!

For other great Fish Restaurants in Istanbul to Enjoy the Bosphorus View check out this article!


4- Enjoy Colorful Food with Live Music


Resto Han

Resto Han is a Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant in the historical district of Istanbul. At first look, it is a colourful and cosy place with comfortable seating. Then, you enjoy delicious food and drinks served by smiling personnel. You will feel very comfortable and welcomed while enjoying your food. 

In Resto Han, live music is one of the many reasons why people love the place and come back again when they are in İstanbul. 

Try their pottery kebab which has its own preparation show for customers. Who doesn't love delicious kebabs served with a show? While enjoying your special wines with your food, your kids can be spoiled with a well-prepared milkshake. So whatever you choose from the menu, we would love to hear from you. Mention us in their Instagram posts with the #loveistanbul hashtag so we can share your great times. 


5- Istanbul Tourist Pass' Treat: Free Dinner with an Amazing View


Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Turkish Shows

Istanbul has hundreds of great restaurants, eateries and cafes, but none of them is comparable with a great Bosphorus Dinner Cruise. While cruising around the magnificent Bosphorus, you will have a great dinner, and then a cup of Turkish coffee which is prepared just as you like. All dinner there will be traditional Turkish music also feeding your soul. 

Istanbul Tourist Pass offers this amazing experience for FREE with your pass! Bosphorus, the pearl of Istanbul, will amaze you with its rich and bold ambience. The city's bright lights at night, bridges, historical buildings and beautiful Maiden Tower... It will be a dinner to remember. Take a lot of photos and share them with us. All you have to do is mention the #loveistanbul hashtag while sharing. 


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