Friendly disclaimer! We want to be as accurate as possible, but given these challenging times, we urge you to recheck that the venues are open when you decide to visit.
Food is so intrinsic to Turkish culture that you are sure to encounter a local in Istanbul talking about their food culture at length with pride. And why not, when the city can take you on a breathtaking journey through its culinary delights. In all corners of Istanbul, you will be greeted by the sight of people gathering and socialising over meals. Turkish cuisine is a delicious combination of the East and West, and its breakfast specials are what will stun you with their innovativeness. The locals love a good spread at the start of the day, that’s for sure!
Here are some unmissable breakfast spots in Istanbul to experience.
Emirgan Sütiş is a trusted, well-loved breakfast spot located on the banks of the Bosphorus River, in the district of Emirgan. Sütiş was started by Mevlüt Kocadağ in 1953 at Nişantaşı, as a small shop selling milk pudding. It soon became popular with the locals for its delectable breakfast items and signature milky desserts prepared with milk, produced in its own farms. Half a century later, it still continues to woo people with food and, of course, its history.
What to eat: Apart from their famous milk pudding, do not forget to check out their cheeses and breads.
Phone: +90 212 323 50 30
Located in the historic neighbourhood of Bebek, this restaurant is a traditional breakfast spot always teeming with people such that it’s impossible to catch a crowd-free moment. But if you have the patience for a lovely Turkish buffet on an idle Sunday, then Bebek Kahve is just the place for you to indulge in a long brunch.
What to eat: Apart from the traditional spread that includes cheese, tomatoes, eggs, and bread, relax with a cup of Turkish coffee to beat that morning lethargy.
Phone: +90 212 703 78 87
Kafadaroğlu is a relatively lesser-known dessert spot in Istanbul that serves some of the best Turkish su börek (a traditional form of sweetmeat that resembles thin layers of pastry), baklava, and kadayif. Most of these Turkish desserts are difficult to make and involve long hours and delicate proportions. The restaurant in itself is simple and basic, but you can enjoy your breakfast and coffee at leisure.
What to eat: Once done with the su börek, check out their milk nuriye to further satisfy your sweet tooth.
Phone: +90 212 258 07 59
Cuma, at the heart of Çukurcuma, is a sought-after breakfast spot with a steady customer base that vouches for its farm-to-table food items, fresh and ideal for the conscious customer. This rustic restaurant has some of the best spreads of organic bread, jams, and honey in Istanbul, combined with the lovely green decor that will immediately make you feel at ease. A lot of the menu at Cuma is seasonal, with a focus on natural flavours and healthy ingredients.
What to eat: Their scrambled eggs with goat cheese are a favourite option, and pancakes layered with fresh fruits and honey.
Address: Çukurcuma Caddesi 53a Çukurcuma
Phone: +90 212-293 2062
This breakfast spot is best known for its unique flavours and the very generous spread of ‘kahvalti’, an assorted Turkish breakfast. Doğaciyiz Gourmet is located in the Cihangir neighbourhood, a relatively quieter area with less hustle and bustle. It specialises in food from Antakya (a city in southern Turkey), along with the usual Turkish breakfast items. The massive breakfast spread here includes different types of cheeses and breads, along with a variety of olives, garlic yoghurt, eggs, preserves, jams, and butter.
What to eat: Check out their salads and hummus, sure to titillate your appetite and taste buds.
Phone: +90 532 177 11 18
Van Kahvaltı Evi
Van Kahvaltı Evi breaks the customary pattern of Turkish breakfasts and introduces a far more elaborate spread that is typical of Turkey’s Kurdish culture. This ‘breakfast salon’ located in Van brings to life the idea of ‘Van kahvaltı’, an assorted breakfast style that can go on for hours and include varieties of ingredients (this mainly includes the use of herbs) from the culinary heritage of the country’s eastern provinces.
Van Kahvaltı Evi is perfect for an anthropological experience of food – if you are the kind who enjoys that. There is definitely a huge throng of loyal customers of this breakfast spot, proven by the almost booked-out weekends.
What to eat: Do not forget to check out their ‘murtuğa’ (wheat-flour porridge) and ‘gözleme’ (hand-rolled dough sheets filled with potato, cheese, or spinach).
Phone: +90 212 293 6437
In Istanbul, conversations can flow as long as you can guzzle down cups of tea and coffee. This lends most eateries an air of cheer, even in the early hours of the morning. Kale is one of the restaurants that specialise in traditional Turkish breakfast, overlooking the beautiful Bosphorus and the sight of ships passing by. Needless to say, Turkish kahvalti is a delicious mixture of bread, eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and olives, to name a few common ingredients, and Kale excels in the authenticity of this spread. What’s truly special is the unlimited number of cups of tea included in the breakfast, so it is up to you how many you can have!
What to eat: Check out their ‘sucuk’ (fermented sausage) and ‘menemen’ (scrambled eggs with tomatoes) and you are bound to go back for more.
Phone: +90 2122652629
Emek Cafe Yeniköy
Emek Cafe is one of the oldest restaurants in Istanbul. It is located in Yeniköy on the banks of the Bosphorus. Its traditional spread of Turkish kahvalti is one of the must-haves in the city. The vintage decor retains the charm of old Istanbul, making it one of the truly atmospheric eateries here. Once you are done with breakfast, you can take a walk around the river to catch sight of the exotic ‘yalis’ or villas built on the river shores.
What to eat: Their menemen is a must-eat, which comes loaded with herb-infused cheese.
Address: Yeniköy Mh., İstanbul
Phone: +90 212 2237728
Yılmaz Tandır Ve Dürüm Evi
Yılmaz Tandır Ve Dürümevi, located in the Feriköy neighbourhood, specialises in items from the northeastern city of Erzincan. This makes the food here quite unique and rich in flavours and different from the usual breakfast spreads. The butter and tulum cheese are brought from Erzincan while they make their own lavaş bread. Talk about authenticity!
What to eat: Definitely try their bread with melted butter and cheese, simple yet delectable.
Phone: +90 212 241 66 64
Breakfast Place Street, Beşiktaş
The Breakfast Street in Beşiktaş is an exciting food hub in Istanbul that will give you an idea about just how passionate the Turkish are about their morning meal. Referred to in Turkish as ‘kahvaltıcılar sokağı’, this street comprises lively eateries that are always buzzing with people and conversations. The breakfast venues and cafes offer classic breakfast items along with experimental dishes, beautiful decor, and a relaxing vibe. Çakmak and Cafe Faruk are two of the older eateries in the area while Teyzanne, Reçel Türevleri, and Eleven Brothers lend modern twists to some old classics.
What to eat: There are plenty of eateries in this hip street, each with its own list of famed items that people seek out again and again. From pesto burgers and zeyze to pişi and mıhlama, there is no dearth of options to explore.
Address: Sinanpaşa Mh., Beşiktaş, İstanbul
Istanbul’s culinary traditions reflect its larger tryst with history and the stunning amalgamation of the East and West. Which makes it a truly exotic destination waiting to delight you. If you want to plan a trip to this city, check out our detailed itinerary on how to unravel Istanbul in 3 days.