Best Foods to Try in Istanbul Turkey | Popular Foods in Istanbul

Istanbul upholds a very diverse community of people who range from modern European to an old classic Asian. So a plethora of palette is served which ranks among the top foods in Istanbul. You must hold a big appetite to taste all of the famous cuisines as they are filled with a lot of delicious meat and heavily flavored nuts. The foods you must eat in Istanbul are rich in nutrients and proteins. While the desserts are packed with crunchy nuts and very skillfully plowed dough to mold them into the signature cuisine of Istanbul. 

Food To Eat in Istanbul

1. Simit

Popular Foods in Istanbul


This food in Istanbul is basically a circular Turkish bread that gets along with every Turkish cuisine. This famous food in Istanbul is more like a bagel or pretzel which is plowed into the shape of a very thin twisted wheel and baked in the oven with tonnes of goodbye kisses of cute little sesame seeds. You can either dip them in any meat puree of Turkish Cuisine or just fill a regular wheel into your mouth and let the sesame seeds stick with all of your salivae to bring you the creaminess and crunchiness of freshly baked bread at the same time.

2. Köfte

Popular Foods in Istanbul


Turkish Cuisine is filled with the love of all types of meats you can encounter in Istanbul, so don’t bother about extra protein being slid into your diet(you can sweat it out later at you early 5:00 a.m. gym right?). Just enjoy the juicy flavors of this city. Kofte is one of those best foods to try in Istanbul which is sometimes referred to as Turkish meatball by the various tourists. These juicy meatballs are made with all kinds of meats even sometimes the lamb and beef meat are combined together to provide an explosion of flavors from these extra juicy crunchy and mouth-watering meatballs served with grilled peppers, spicy sauce, and usually bread or rice.

3. Döner

You can imagine this most popular food in Istanbul as the ‘Hulk of kebabs’ which is roasted with simmering hot coals skewed over a vertical rotisserie which is constantly being rolled and thin shavings of the meat are scraped off as it cooks to make a delicious meal. These scraped slices are crunchy and spicy which are then filled heavily, into a Simit bread to make a Doner sandwich or just eaten bare like regular fries but they call it Iskender kebab(imagine a baby Hulk of kebab). You can enjoy them even as topping over your main course meals to enhance their juicy flavors of smoky meat.

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4. Menemen

Popular Foods in Istanbul


Perhaps, hard to pronounce but it is a regular dish that is served every day as the popular breakfast cuisine in all the restaurants of Istanbul. These are typically soupy, scrambled eggs that are blended with paprika and tomatoes in such a great manner that they make their way into the list of top foods of Istanbul. You can find them in every corner and such cuisines even sometimes break the borders of rich and poor as they are an everyday breakfast that is consumed by all the communities of Istanbul as they are very affordable and delicious.

5. Lahmacun

Popular Foods in Istanbul


This is a must-try food in Istanbul and mostly people insinuate it as a ‘Turkish pizza’ but it has nothing to do with pizza. In fact, it is a thin and crispy round of dough that is topped with minced seasoned meat and parsley(okay, it does sound like pizza but it’s not! really not a pizza!). People even whirl it up into a roll to taste all of its flavourful, delicious elements. Don’t forget to squeeze lemon on top as all of this is going to be very heavy over your tummy so make sure to get your metabolism on ease.

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6. Manti

Popular Foods in Istanbul


If I might explain to you in the most typical food critique language this is among the best foods to try in Istanbul which is prepared with a fine combination of steamed meat blended with the complex flavors of oil, paprika, mint, and garlic all stuffed into a fine crust of handmade dumpling. Now coming to our street food slang, it’s just a non-veg momo that is topped with flavored Dahi(yogurt) and distinctly flavored sauce. But what can be so different about a Turkish Non-veg Momo? The juicy blend of immaculate Turkish spices and nuts which are so creamy that they might sometimes melt your heart out of your big yummy sound vibrating inside all over your head.

7. Balik Ekmek

Popular Foods in Istanbul

Balık Ekmek

An extraordinary take of Turkish cuisine over a general sandwich has increased the glamor of such a boring dish to another level that it became now a famous food to try in Istanbul. This sandwich contains grilled fish, onions, and salad(seriously who would stuff the seafood into a bread? definitely Turks). You can grab one thick sandwich of fish under the Galata Bridge and enjoy it while staring across the water at the Galata Tower. As one thing I can assure you that in all the meat cuisines of Istanbul you will never run short of meat in your dish as the Turks love meat and they love it when there’s a load of meat in their daily cuisines(even a normal sandwich).

8. Künefe

Popular Foods in Istanbul


This is a ridiculously tasty Arab cheese pastry which is an incredible combination of a dessert and a sandwich. Yes, Turks are a bit weird I know but this cuisine is a must-try food in Istanbul. As the balance of flavors between sweet and salty is mind-blowing. The creamy cheese is filled heavily between the two thin crusty layers of kadayıf which is a fine bread 

Dressed with the grounded pistachios on top. This can be an amazing mouth-full during winters as the pistachios provide a fresh zesty flavor while the crunch of the bread compliments the creamy filling of flavored cheese at the very best.

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9. Baklava

Popular Foods in Istanbul


This is the most famous Turkish food in Istanbul which is prepared with very regular ingredients of phyllo dough, nuts, and syrup but the bigger magic lies in the plowing of dough and the time it is rested for raising and baking time took in the natural oven to provide them the rustic flavors of the smoke. It’s just a more delicious version of a snicker bar where the layers are filled Turkish nuts and syrup and baked into the oven as a pastry. The famous places to fill your mouth with this mouth-watering dish are Güllüoğlu and Köşkeroğlu.

10. Turkish Delight

Popular Foods in Istanbul

turkish delight

Who would visit Istanbul and forget to have this famous dessert? Turkish are very proud of this dessert( as it is the only Turkish thing which successfully made through Hollywood movies!). This famous sweet snack is the best food of Istanbul which must be tasted at least once in life because later you will be hallucinated by this dish and turn into a Turkish Delight monster(of course I am kidding, or am I?). Well, you must consult it with the Edmund of Narnia movie who had the only wish from a White Witch and he demanded this( yes, Turkish Delight). And do visit the back of the restaurant if you get the chance and see those mesmerizing cutting techniques of bakers turning big blocks of Turkish confections into small cubes of Turkish delights.

11. Lüfer

This is a local cuisine but very famous among the Turks. This food in Istanbul comprises of a big Lüfer fish that is caught freshly from the nearby Bosphorus river and grilled with various seasoned spices to create the delicious flavor which is enjoyed with a famous Istanbul beverage

combination of raki ( anise-flavored strong beverage). Younger lüfer is called sarikanat, which is even tastier if it is available.

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12. Kuyu Kebabi / Tandir

Popular Foods in Istanbul

kuyu kebab

This is food from Istanbul which resembles a  normal kebab which is a distinct specialty from the city of Kastamonu in the midwest of the Black Sea Region. The cuisine gets its name from the cooking style, where kuyu means ‘well’. As the whole male lamb is hung in a well over a charcoal fire to roast and then the meat is scraped off just like doner to create this delicious meal of Tnadir. They use the pine tree branches for creating a signature flavor in their cuisines.


If you are thinking of exploring Istanbul’s famous entourage then be clear that they won’t let you get away with the small bits of food in your mouth. As Turks are very emotional with their food services so if you get to them they will try their best to fill your tummy with the best foods in Istanbul they can bring over your plate. So get ready to stretch your pants a bit more, to create space for a bit of extra delicious food from the mainland of Istanbul.  

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