Food & Drink

The Ultimate Guide to Best Karaköy Restaurants

Karaköy, located in the heart of Istanbul, is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood that has become a foodie’s paradise in recent years. If you are wondering what are some of the best places to eat in Karaköy, this is the guide for you. With its wide range of options, from traditional Turkish cuisine to modern fusion dishes, Karaköy restaurants has something to offer for everyone. In this guide, we will explore the best restaurants and street food vendors in Karaköy to help visitors make the most of their culinary experience in the area.

Best Karaköy Restaurants

Among many Istanbul restaurants, Karaköy holds a special place. If you’re looking for the best places to eat in Karaköy, there are several restaurants that should be on your list. Here are our top 10 recommendations:

Karaköy Lokantası

Karakoy-lokantasi-istanbul

Photo Credit: @KarakoyLokantasi

Karaköy Lokantası is a popular restaurant known for its delicious Turkish dishes and cozy atmosphere. The menu features a range of traditional dishes, such as lamb stew and stuffed grape leaves, as well as some modern twists on classic recipes. Prices are reasonable, with most dishes costing between 40-60 Turkish Liras.

Insider tip: The restaurant has a cozy upstairs area with a great view of the neighborhood and the service is even better up there. So, if you can, try to plan ahead and ask to be seated upstairs. Also note that, they only take reservations for dinner, between 7 and 10 pm.

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Karaköy Gümrük

Gumruk Karakoy Istanbul

Photo Credit: @Gumruk

Karaköy Gümrük is a high-end restaurant located in a historic building that used to be a customs office. The menu features Mediterranean and Turkish dishes, with a focus on seafood. Prices are on the higher side, with most dishes costing between 120-180 Turkish Liras.

Insider tip: If you wish to have a more quiet dining experience, ask to be seated on the terrace. Note that, the place gets very crowded at times, so be sure to plan ahead. Also, if you are not sure about any item on the menu, be sure to ask as Karaköy Gümrük has some of the most attentive and knowledgeable staff in the entire Istanbul. The serving is great too.

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Zula Restaurant

Zula Restaurant is a popular spot for brunch or dinner, with a menu that features a mix of Turkish and international dishes. The restaurant also hosts live music events in the evenings. Prices are moderate, for the service you get, with most dishes costing between 80-100 Turkish Liras.

Insider tip: Definitely try the grilled octopus if you enjoy seafood and make sure that you arrive rather early before the music starts in order to be done with your meal once the crowd rushes in with the live music. Also, definitely stay for the live music after your dinner. It will be worth it.

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Karaköy Brasserie

Karaköy Brasserie

Photo Credit: @KaraköyBrasserie

Karaköy Brasserie is a chic restaurant with a menu that features French and Turkish cuisine. The restaurant is known for its delicious breakfast options and creative cocktails. Prices are on the higher side, with most dishes costing between 120-180 Turkish Liras.

Insider tip: Definitely try their Sunday brunch, which is a popular event and tends to get crowded. The brunch menu offers a wide variety of dishes, including classic French breakfast items, seafood, salads, and pastries. Be sure to arrive early to avoid the crowds and to secure a table with a view of the Bosphorus. Additionally, if you’re a fan of cheese, don’t miss the cheese platter, which features a delicious selection of French cheeses that are sure to satisfy any cheese lover’s cravings.

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Hayvore

Hayvore is a traditional Turkish restaurant that specializes in Black Sea cuisine. The menu features a range of seafood and meat dishes, as well as some vegetarian options. Prices are reasonable for the service you are getting, with most dishes costing between 60-100 Turkish Liras.

Insider tip: Be sure to order the mezze platter first. Some standout items on the mezze platter include the muhammara, a spicy red pepper and walnut dip, and the mıhlama, a cheesy cornmeal dish. If you’re a seafood lover, be sure to try the hamsi tava, which is fried anchovies served with a side of garlic yogurt sauce.

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Karaköy Güllüoğlu

Karaköy Güllüoğlu

Photo Credit: @Gulluoglu

Karaköy Güllüoğlu is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. The restaurant is famous for its baklava, a traditional Turkish dessert made with layers of phyllo pastry, nuts, and syrup. Prices are reasonable, with most desserts costing between 30-40 Turkish Liras.

Insider tip: Try their signature dessert, the Güllaç, which is a delicate pastry made with thin layers of starch sheets and a special syrup made with rose water. The Güllaç is a traditional Turkish dessert that is only available during the Ramadan month, but at Karaköy Gülloğlu you can enjoy it all year round.

  • Additionally, if you’re looking for a unique souvenir to bring back home, you can purchase a box of Güllaç sheets to make your own Güllaç dessert at home. Another insider tip is to try their baklava, which is another popular dessert in Turkey. The baklava at Karaköy Gülloğlu is made with high-quality ingredients and is known for its delicious, flaky layers and sweet, nutty filling. Note that the restaurant is self-service.

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Namlı Gurme

Namlı Gurme Karakoy

Photo Credit: @NamliGurme

Namlı Gurme is a deli that offers a range of Turkish delicacies, such as cheese, olives, and cured meats. The deli also serves sandwiches and salads for a quick lunch or snack. Prices are reasonable, with most items costing between 50-80 Turkish Liras.

Insider tip: Try their handmade börek, which is a traditional Turkish pastry made with thin layers of phyllo dough and filled with savory ingredients like cheese, spinach, or meat. The börek at Namlı Gurme is made fresh daily and is a delicious and satisfying snack or light meal.

  • Additionally, if you’re looking for a unique souvenir or gift, you can purchase some of the store’s high-quality spices, dried fruits, or Turkish coffee. Another insider tip for Namlı Gurme is to visit during the off-peak hours, as the store can get quite crowded during the lunch rush. If you have time, take a stroll through the store’s many aisles and shelves to discover some new and interesting gourmet products.

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Privato

 

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Turkey. Known for its Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine, the restaurant prides itself on using fresh ingredients and serving homemade dishes. The menu features a variety of meze (appetizers), seafood, meat dishes, and vegetarian options. Privato Beyoğlu’s warm and welcoming atmosphere is perfect for a romantic dinner or a casual night out with friends. Its central location makes it easily accessible by public transportation. Be sure to make a reservation in advance, as the restaurant tends to get busy during peak hours.

Insider tip: Try the mixed grill platter. The restaurant is known for its flavorful meat dishes, and the mixed grill platter is a great way to sample a variety of them. The platter includes lamb chops, chicken skewers, adana kebab, and köfte (Turkish meatballs) served with rice pilaf and grilled vegetables. It’s a generous portion that’s perfect for sharing, and it’s a great way to try some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.

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Galata Frida The House Cafe

The House Cafe Karakoy

Photo Credit: @HouseCafe

Galata Frida House Cafe is a trendy cafe located in Istanbul’s Karaköy neighborhood, known for its stylish decor and a menu that features a mix of international and Turkish cuisine. The cafe is housed in a historic building that has been renovated to blend traditional and modern elements, offering a unique atmosphere. The menu includes breakfast dishes, salads, sandwiches, and pastries, as well as signature cocktails. The House Cafe Karaköy is a popular spot, especially for breakfast, so it’s recommended to visit during off-peak hours.

Insider tip: The House Cafe Karaköy has a well-curated cocktail menu that features creative and delicious drinks. Try the “Cherry Blossom,” a gin-based cocktail with cherry liqueur and lime juice, or the “Elderflower Martini” a refreshing drink made with elderflower syrup and vodka. Also, you should choose a table by the window. The cafe has large windows that offer a stunning view of the Bosphorus and the surrounding area. If you’re lucky, you can get a table by the window and enjoy the view while you dine.

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Bonus: Street Food in Karaköy

Karaköy Midyecisi

Karaköy Midyecisi is a must-visit spot for those looking to try traditional Turkish street food. The restaurant specializes in mussels, which are served in a variety of ways. Some of the standout dishes at Karaköy Midyecisi include the stuffed mussels and the fried mussels. The restaurant has a lively and bustling atmosphere, making it a fun spot to grab a quick bite to eat.

Insider tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for help: If you’re not sure what to order or how to eat something, don’t hesitate to ask the staff for help. They are knowledgeable about the menu and can offer suggestions based on your preferences. Also, Karaköy Midyecisi occasionally offers daily specials or limited-time dishes. Be sure to check their menu or ask the staff if there are any specials available.

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Köfteci Hüseyin Usta

Köfteci Hüeyin Usta is a small shop located in the heart of Karaköy that specializes in köfte, a traditional Turkish meatball made with ground beef or lamb. The köfte at Köfteci Hüseyin is grilled to perfection and served with fresh vegetables and pita bread. The shop has a simple and rustic atmosphere, and it’s a great spot to grab a quick and affordable meal.

Insider tip: If you have a big appetite, consider ordering the “special” which includes a larger portion of meatballs, rice pilaf, grilled peppers, and a salad. It’s a filling and delicious meal that is perfect for sharing. Be sure to leave room for the awesome desserts they have such as kunefe, baklava, and many more.

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Oses Çiğköfte

Oses Çiğköfte is a popular Turkish çiğ köfte chain that specializes in serving traditional çiğ köfte, a popular Anatolian dish made from cracked wheat and spices. The restaurant chain has multiple locations across Turkey and offers a wide range of menu options, including vegetarian and vegan dishes. One of the unique aspects of Oses Çiğköfte is that they make their çiğ köfte from scratch, using only fresh ingredients and traditional methods. The result is a flavorful and authentic dish that is popular among both locals and tourists.

Insider tip: In addition to the signature dish of çiğ köfte, Oses Çiğköfte also offers a variety of other menu items, including pide, lahmacun, soups, salads, and appetizers such as stuffed grape leaves and fried eggplant. They also have a selection of refreshing beverages, including ayran (a Turkish yogurt drink), fresh juices, and traditional teas. Be sure to not limit yourself with çiğköfte.

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Balıkçı Emin Usta

Karaköy Balıkçı Emin Usta is a popular seafood restaurant located in the Karaköy neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey. It has been serving fresh and delicious seafood dishes for over 50 years and has gained a reputation as one of the best seafood restaurants in the city.

The restaurant’s menu features a variety of seafood dishes including grilled fish, seafood meze, and fried calamari. One of their signature dishes is the grilled sea bass, which is cooked to perfection and served with a side of salad and bread.
Insider tip: Definitely try the mezze platter here as well. It is amazing and deserves all the love it gets.

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Tarihi Beşaltı Kirvem Tantuni

Tarihi Beşaltı Kirvem Tantuni

Tarihi Beşaltı Kirvem Tantuni is a popular Turkish street food vendor that specializes in Tantuni, a traditional dish made with thin slices of marinated beef or lamb, cooked on a hot grill with spices and served in a warm pita bread.

This small and casual eatery attracts a loyal following of locals and visitors who are looking for a quick and tasty bite to eat.

Insider tip: Do not forget to add some fresh lemon juice and herbs to your tantuni. If you like your food with a kick and are brave enough, you can order it extra spicy. The place is very small and can get overwhelmingly crowded, so choose the time of your visit carefully. 

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Karaköy is a vibrant neighborhood in Istanbul that offers a diverse range of food options to locals and tourists alike. From street food to fine dining, there is something for everyone. In this guide, we have highlighted some of the best restaurants and street food spots in the area. Make sure to try the fresh seafood at Karaköy Balıkçısı, the delicious meze at Lokanta Maya, the unique kebabs at Karaköy Güllüoğlu, and the famous Turkish delight at Hacı Bekir. Don’t forget to stop by Karaköy Midyecisi for some of the best mussels in the city.

We hope that this guide has helped you plan your food journey in Karaköy. Remember to always check Google Reviews and the restaurant’s website for the latest information and reservations. For exploring more tasty food, make sure to check our blog on Best Restaurants in Istanbul! Bon appetit!

FAQ

What is the best time to visit Karaköy for food?

The food scene in Karaköy is bustling all year round, but the best time to visit would be during the spring or autumn seasons when the weather is mild and comfortable for outdoor dining.

Are there any vegetarian or vegan options in Karaköy?

Yes, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options in Karaköy. Restaurants like Lokanta Maya and Karaköy Güllüoğlu offer delicious plant-based dishes that are sure to satisfy your cravings.

What is the average cost of a meal in Karaköy?

The average cost of a meal in Karaköy varies depending on the restaurant and the type of cuisine. However, most meals cost around 100-150 TL per person.

Do I need to make reservations in advance?

It is always recommended to make reservations in advance, especially for popular restaurants like Karaköy Balıkçısı and Karaköy Güllüoğlu. You can make reservations directly on the restaurant's website or through popular online platforms like OpenTable.

What is the best way to get to Karaköy?

Karaköy is easily accessible by public transportation, including the metro, bus, and tram. You can also take a taxi or walk from nearby neighborhoods like Galata or Tophane.
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Onur Berk Özgün

I am an English Literature student from Ankara, Turkey. I enjoy travelling and experiencing what the world has to offer.
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