Discover the best places to eat, drink and rest in Karakoy neighborhood of Beyoglu district in Istanbul, from authentic Turkish to International and Mediterranean cuisine, cheap eats to steak, fish, kebab restaurants, breakfast, brunch to snacks with local advice, plus the best vegetarian and vegan options.
Karakoy, one of Istanbul’s most historic and culturally rich neighborhoods, has recently undergone a spectacular transformation. It has evolved from a port area and trade center to one of the city’s most sought-after culinary destinations. Nestled between the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, Karakoy is filled with an array of dining options. Here, in the heart of Istanbul, you’ll find everything from local taverns serving traditional Turkish cuisine to fashionable bistros offering global flavors.
Karaköy’s Culinary Canvas
What sets Karaköy’s food scene apart is its delightful combination of old and new. Here, age-old establishments still hold their ground, serving traditional recipes handed down through generations. In the same locale, trendy restaurants have sprung up, offering modern interpretations of classic dishes or entirely new culinary concepts.
From the tantalizing street food vendors selling balık ekmek (fish sandwiches) near the ferry terminal to the stylish rooftop bars serving craft cocktails with Bosphorus views, Karaköy offers a delightful culinary diversity. The area is also known for its burgeoning café culture, boasting a plethora of coffee shops, patisseries, and brunch spots that serve everything from third-wave coffee to delectable Turkish pastries.
The Karaköy Dining Experience
The dining experience in Karaköy is as diverse as the food itself. Whether it’s an old-school seafood lokanta with a view of the bustling Galata Bridge, a bohemian café in a narrow alley filled with street art, or a stylish restaurant in a converted warehouse, there’s a venue to suit every mood and occasion.
One of the standout features of Karaköy’s culinary scene is its ability to blend the contemporary with the historical. Several establishments have made their home in beautifully renovated historical buildings, preserving the architectural charm while introducing modern design elements. It’s not uncommon to find a hip new café or an elegant restaurant nestled in a historical Han (inn) or a restored Ottoman-era building.
As you navigate through Karaköy’s bustling streets, you’ll discover that each restaurant, café, or street food stand tells a story, offering a piece of Istanbul’s culinary heritage while embracing the future. It’s this seamless blend of history and modernity, local and global, that makes dining in Karaköy a truly unique experience.
Best Restaurants, Places Eat & Drink in Karakoy
Here’s our pick of the best cafes & restaurants in Karakoy, Beyoglu, Istanbul.
€€€€ · Turkish, Modern Cuisine
Nestled in the heart of Karaköy, within the culturally rich Salt Galata, Neolokal is where Chef Maksut Aşkar and his enthusiastic team honour and reinvent their culinary heritage, crafting an engaging gastronomic narrative that connects past and future. The Neolokal team aims to serve its visitors genuine food inspired by mother earth and modelled and designed from traditions. One of the 1 Michelin starred restaurants in Istanbul, Karakoy.
Consider the inventive ‘cupcake’, a finely spiced delight made of bulgur, paired with a scrumptious chicken preparation. This is enveloped in a rich cream velouté and a full-bodied chicken demi-glace, and crowned with a crispy potato chip for an added layer of texture. Each plate is a demonstration of culinary craftsmanship that masterfully balances tradition and novelty.
But the allure of Neolokal is not confined to its food alone. Housed in the historic Salt Galata building, the restaurant boasts large windows and a fabulous terrace that offers panoramic views of Istanbul’s cityscape, from the intricate rooftops to the majestic mosques. The views serve as a striking backdrop that enhances the entire dining experience, making each visit a memorable encounter with the evolving story of Turkish cuisine.
Address: SALT Galata, Bankalar Avenue, Karakoy, Istanbul
€ · Turkish
Ensconced in the heart of Istanbul’s energetic Karaköy district, Karaköy Lokantası is a vibrant epicurean destination that effortlessly combines traditional Turkish cuisine with an ambiance that’s both charming and stylish. With its selection of 80 mezze, traditional dishes, and sharing platters, the restaurant offers a delightful dilemma to diners. One of the finest restaurants in Karakoy.
At Karaköy Lokantası, the menu is a compelling homage to traditional Turkish fare, but what truly stands out is the spectacular variety of mezze – over 80 different types, to be precise. From delicately light hummus and tzatziki to crispy dumplings lavished with a creamy yoghurt sauce, each plate is a masterstroke of balance and flavor. Don’t miss out on the lamb börek, a traditional pastry dish that encapsulates the essence of Turkish comfort food. Beyond mezze, the menu extends to a host of sharing platters and traditional dishes, making this culinary experience one to be shared and savoured with friends and family.
Address: Kemankeş Mahallesi, Kemankeş Caddesi No:57, Karaköy/Beyoğlu, Istanbul
€€ · Turkish
Situated on the eighth floor of the Hotel Momento, Tershane Restaurant is a premier destination for those wishing to immerse themselves in a contemporary interpretation of Istanbul’s vibrant culinary scene. At the heart of Tershane’s gastronomic philosophy is the timeless allure of Turkish cuisine – mezze, kebabs, and succulent grilled lamb are the stars of the show here. Each dish is crafted with respect for tradition, with bold, generous flavors playing out in a symphony of spicy, creamy, and robust notes that epitomize the essence of Turkish food.
The open kitchen allows guests to witness the meticulous preparation of these culinary delights, turning each meal into a gastronomic spectacle. At Tershane Restaurant, you’re not just enjoying a meal, you’re embarking on a journey through modern Istanbul’s culinary landscape. Here, the rich flavors of the food are only matched by the intoxicating allure of the cityscape stretching out beneath you. This is more than a dining experience, it’s a Turkish feast for the senses.
Address: Azapkapı, Tersane Caddesi No:24, Beyoğlu, Hotel Momento 8th Floor (8. kat), Istanbul
€€€ · Grills, Turkish
Situated in the vibrant neighborhood of Karaköy, Mürver sets the bar high with its incredible views of the Bosphorus, a menu focused on dishes prepared in a wood-fired oven, and an impressive selection of wines. The heart of this culinary adventure is the open kitchen, where fire and smoke imbue the dishes with a delicious, primal depth that captivates the senses. Standout creations like the butter-soft grilled octopus are prime examples of Mürver’s culinary philosophy.
Mürver is not just about delectable dishes. This trendy rooftop restaurant houses a fabulous cocktail bar, where you can indulge in crafted libations as you bask in the radiant vibe of Istanbul’s nightlife. The sublime terrace unfurls the city’s charms before your eyes, making every visit to Mürver more than just a meal – it’s a panoramic feast for all senses. This is Istanbul dining at its finest, a perfect blend of taste, ambiance, and vista that keeps you coming back for more.
Address: Kemankeş Caddesi No:57-59, Karaköy, Istanbul
€€€ · Mediterranean Cuisine
Poised on the ninth floor of the JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus hotel, Octo Restaurant presents a captivating panorama of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus that’s as unforgettable as its cuisine. The chef’s enticing creations are inspired by his Portuguese roots, skillfully interwoven with local flavours to craft dishes that are both distinctive and on-trend.
Unpretentious yet sophisticated, Octo delivers a culinary narrative that’s as vibrant as Istanbul itself. Once you’ve savoured the last bite, elevate your evening further by heading to the cocktail bar on the 10th floor. As you sip on expertly mixed drinks, the DJ’s beats resonate across the pool, adding a perfect note of rhythm to your unforgettable night.
Address: Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi, Kemankeş Caddesi Veli Alemdar Han No:49, Beyoğlu