Turkish cuisine is famous around the world for its kebabs, but not everyone knows that the best of Turkish cuisine is actually its breakfasts. Discover everything you should eat for breakfast when you visit Turkey and where to find the best traditional Turkish breakfast in Istanbul!
I’m not ashamed to say I love eating, especially when I travel! I love trying new things and discovering the local tastes in the places I visit. One of my favorite things to do in Istanbul is going out for breakfast. Of course, it’s more like brunch because Turkish breakfasts are huge!
I hope you’re not on a diet when you visit Turkey because there are so many foods you need to try! I recommend you start the day with a good kahvalti (the traditional Turkish breakfast). In this post, I will share with you the foods you need to try and the best places to have the best Turkish breakfast in Istanbul!
Foods You Should Try in a Traditional Turkish Breakfast
In Turkey, having a traditional Turkish breakfast is a weekend ritual. Turks love to gather around a table full of breakfast items: various types of cheese, honey, tomatoes, cucumbers, scrambled eggs, jams, black olives, and above all, lots of çay (Turkish tea).
There are many foods you can order for breakfast in a Turkish restaurant, but for now, I’ll mention some of my favorites and the ones that are most different from typical breakfast foods in other parts of the world.
- Menemen – These are Turkish-style scrambled eggs with tomatoes and peppers.
- Bal Kaymak – This is a mix of clotted cream with honey. A dream come true for those with a sweet tooth!
- Gözleme – Turkish crepes stuffed with cheese, potatoes, mushrooms, etc.
- Börek – A kind of Turkish pie typically stuffed with feta cheese, potatoes, or spinach.
- Tahin Pekmez – This is my absolute favorite breakfast food! It feels like a healthy version of Nutella (even though it doesn’t contain chocolate or hazelnuts). It’s a paste made by mixing tahini with grape molasses. I know it sounds strange, but I promise it’s delicious and healthy!
- Pişi – These are fried dough buns filled with chocolate, cheese, mushrooms, etc.
- Simit – A sesame bagel that’s very common in Turkey. These are sold everywhere as street food!
- Çay – Turkish black tea.
Where to Find the Best Turkish Breakfast in Istanbul
Now that you know what you should eat, I can tell you the places where you’ll have the best breakfast in Istanbul! Most places offer a traditional Turkish breakfast (serpme kahvaltı in Turkish), but I’m also including some places that offer international brunch options such as crepes or eggs Benedict. These are some of my favorite places to have breakfast or brunch in Istanbul, and after three years of living in Turkey, you can trust that I know what I’m talking about.
To make this guide easier to follow, I’ve organized these restaurants by district. You can find a great Turkish breakfast no matter where in Istanbul you go!
Apart from its soccer team, the Beşiktaş neighborhood is known for its amazing Turkish breakfasts and brunch spots. I can’t mention only a few places because Beşiktaş has a whole street full of restaurants that only serve Turkish breakfasts: Çelebioğlu Sokak (aka “breakfast street”).
If the weather is nice, most restaurants will put their tables outside. Keep in mind that they get really crowded on the weekends!
In the exclusive neighborhood of Nişantaşı, you can find one of the best Turkish breakfasts in Istanbul at Çeşme Bazlama Kahvaltı. This place is well known among Turkish high society and gets very crowded on the weekends. They offer one of the most extensive breakfasts in Istanbul, with up to 25 different jams! Address: Osman F. Seden Sk. No: 3, Teşvikiye, 34365 Şişli
By the way, if you pass through Nişantaşı and want the whole Turkish experience, you must drink a Turkish coffee and have your fortune told from the leftover coffee grounds in the cup! There are many coffee fortune tellers in Istanbul, but I personally recommend Aykut from Symbol Fal Café, where for around 40 TRY, you can have a coffee with a prediction of your future included!
In addition to its antique shops, hamams, and the Museum of Innocence (which is one of my favorite museums in Istanbul, by the way), this historical district of Istanbul boasts some of the best Turkish breakfasts. Two of the most popular places to have a Turkish breakfast here are:
Van Kahvaltisi – In Van Kahvaltisi, they serve a traditional Turkish breakfast that also includes some specialties from Eastern Turkey. The perfect place to try a variety of Turkish flavors! Address: Defterdar Ykş. No: 54, Kılıçali Paşa Mahallesi, 34425 Beyoğlu.
Kahve 6 – In addition to a good Turkish breakfast, this place has a beautiful garden. Enjoy the view while you dine! Address: Anahtar Sk. No:15, Kılıçali Paşa Mahallesi, 34425 Beyoğlu
The Asian side of Istanbul is also perfect for a good Turkish breakfast! There are two areas I love: one is Yeldeğirmeni, which is traditional and charming, and the other is Moda, which is a little more sophisticated. In Yeldeğirmeni, I recommend:
- BOP! Breakfast of pan – This restaurant doesn’t exactly serve a traditional Turkish breakfast, but they don’t stray too far from it either. They make their own bagels and have a slightly different style compared to other restaurants nearby. A perfect place to have brunch in Istanbul! Address: Rasimpasa Mahallesi, Duatepe Sok. No: 4 / D Kadikoy
- Kuff Cafe – This is one of the most popular and crowded places for brunch in Istanbul. It has a very extensive menu, and a very nice vegan kahvaltisi (vegan breakfast). Address: Rasimpasa Mah. Karakolhane Cad. No: 54 / B Kadıkoy, Yeldegirmeni.
- Brekkie Croissant and Cookie – Of all the places on this list, this is my new favorite! They don’t really serve the traditional Turkish breakfast, but they have the best croissants (both sweet and salty) I have ever tried and homemade jams and sauces they served on the side. The place is also very cozy and full of cats. The only thing to keep in mind is that on the weekends you should be ready for queues, because it’s getting very popular. However, I still highly recommend this place for the best brunch in Istanbul. Address: Yogurtcu Parki Cd. No:68/b. Istanbul
- Naga Putrika – This is one of the most popular breakfast places in Kadiköy. They serve eight different kinds of Turkish breakfasts with organic jams and honey. The restaurant isn’t very big, so I recommend you go early if you want to get a seat! Address: Caferağa Mahallesi, Moda Cd. 161/A, 34710 Kadıköy
- Naan Bakeshop – This is another of my favorite places for brunch in Istanbul. In addition to offering a traditional Turkish breakfast, it’s also a bakery that makes its own bread and offers good coffee and international brunch specialties (such as eggs Benedict and Florentine). Address: Caferağa Mahallesi, Moda Caddesi, No 113, Kadıköy, İstanbul
- Maybe – Another great option for a fancy Sunday brunch in
Kadıköy. Address: Zühtüpaşa Mahallesi, Sabri Kiraz Sk. 14/B, 34724 Kadıköy