Nusr-Et & Other Places to Eat in Istanbul

The best places to eat in Istanbul


For all of its flair, I have to mention Nusr-Et as one of the best places to eat in Istanbul. Nusr-Et is a thirty to forty minute Uber ride from where we were staying in Istanbul’s Karaköy neighborhood. You should add another ten to fifteen minutes to that if you’re staying across the Ataturk Bridge near the Sultanahmet neighborhood where the Hagia Sophia is located. It’s worth the journey across town, though just be sure to have a reservation booked in advance!

Mustached men (it seems that’s a requirement to work here) glide through the groups of beautifully dressed people who are nestled around the bar. It’s a wonderful place to people watch and, depending on what meat platter you order, you may have a blow torch in your face as one of the many mustached men sear the appetizer in front of you.

I visited Turkey in 2017, not yet knowing who Salt Bae (Nusret Gökçe) was. He has since opened a Nusr-Et and Salt Bae burger in New York, though the burger join hasn’t gotten the best reviews. I enjoyed Nusr-Et in Istanbul though and highly recommend visiting if you’re in Istanbul. Order the lamb or Nusr-Et special (cooked in front of you), really anything but a salad. I hope you didn’t come to Nusr-Et just to eat a salad…

You can take a look at Nusr-Et’s menu here.

Asitane Restaurant

Asitane is a special restaurant in Istanbul as it serves historically accurate food eaten at the royal palaces during the Ottoman period. The very name of the restaurant, Asitane, harkens back to the Ottoman Empire as it was a nickname for Istanbul in Persian meaning “gateway.” This gateway restaurant’s menu is comprised of recreations of forgotten silk and spice road dishes cooked with local produce. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere is inviting. If you’re a history + foodie buff, I’d add this restaurant to your list of places to eat in Istanbul.

You can find Asitane’s menu here.

Sunset Bar & Grill

The Sunset Bar & Grill seems to be a prime Russian hang out in Istanbul. Yet another fantastic people-watching spot. It is, once more, an Uber drive away up the steep, winding hills of the Ulus neighborhood. Grab a seat just before sunset to admire the views of Istanbul and the Bosphorus Bridge.

Sunset Bar & Grill is one of the best fine dining experiences in Istanbul. If you’re on a budget (I always am) you can grab a seat at the bar and have a drink and appetizer instead. But dinner for two should cost around 80 USD.

You can check out Sunset’s menu here.

Mambocino Artisan Coffee – Karakoy Neighborhood

There are a couple of Mambocino Coffee spots in Istanbul but I recommend the one in Karakoy. This cafe is close to so many cool storefronts and wonderful dining spots that I think anyone visiting Istanbul should explore. Karakoy is an awesome neighborhood and absolutely worth the visit. Plus, Mambocino Artisan Coffee serves up memorable mochas and cappuccinos.

Karakoy still has some tourists moving through its narrow streets but they blend with the young, hip, Turkish crowds dining outside any time of day. Head to this coffee shop and explore the streets for some amazing Turkish breakfast. You’ll start your day off full of energy and ready to take on Istanbul.

You can find the Google Maps directions to the coffee shop here.

Places to eat in Istanbul - Karakoy Neighborhood