Where to Eat in Istanbul’s Karaköy Neighborhood

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The Karaköy neighborhood in Istanbul has become a tourist hotspot that’s equally loved by the locals.

Its cozy streets are lined with cafes and restaurants with waiters ready to roll out the red carpet for you. Since the area has become a central gathering place for tourists, it is difficult to tell which are the best places to eat and which are the generic touristic restaurants. 

A good rule of thumb is to avoid the most flashy and bustling places— most of the time they just have a good promoter, and aesthetic interiors driving people to the restaurant.

The key to finding delicious food is to find the locals. They’re often times at the more humble restaurants that you wouldn’t look twice at if you didn’t know better— so I’ve put together a list of the 5 best Places to Eat in Istanbul’s Karaköy Neighbourhood, plus where to grab dessert after. 

Corbasi Ev (The Soup House

Corbasi Ev Directly translates to “Soup House” this place is a staple in the Karaköy food scene. They have more than different soups daily with different condemns available at each table to personalize your soup to your liking. 

It’s a great spot for vegan food in Istanbul as well because they always have 2-3 vegan soups available that are clearly marked on the menu— my personal favorite is the broccoli soup. 

They’re typically open 24/7 but because of COVID they’re closing around 2 am now. Either way, it’s still a great place to grab a late-night cup of soup for 25 Turkish Lira. 

Kapı Karaköy

Kapı Karaköy is a hidden gem that shouldn’t be missed. It serves traditional Turkish food, with Kebabs cooked over a fire. For the veggie and vegan options, the mezes and salads are incredible. Everything I’ve had there is bursting with flavor.

At night it’s common to order a bottle of rakı for the table. As the bottles empty, the restaurant gets livelier and livelier.


If you’re looking for a more upscale mayhane dinner, head to Ma’Na. The setting is beautiful and the food is mouthwatering. Make a reservation in advance to secure a spot on the covered terrace.

If you’re wondering how much to order, normally two mezze’s per person will suffice, but if you’re ordering meat or fish you can adjust accordingly to how hungry you are.

Galata Simitçi

What I would give to have my first simit at the Galata Simitçi. Not that my first simit was bad by any means, but once you know the taste of a good simit, you don’t ever want to go back.

If you’re not familiar with what a simit is, it’s like a bagel just thinner, bigger, and covered in sesame. They’re delicious— especially when they’re warm. I like my plain or with tomato, but you can get fresh cheese or even nutella added to yours.

Balık Dürüm Mehmet Usta

Now I can’t tell you from experience since I eat a plant-based diet, but from what I’ve heard the Balık Dürüm at Mehmet Usta is the BEST fish wrap quite possibly in the world. I believe it is because the fish is coming fresh from the Bosphorus, only a few streets away from the stand.

Be warned though, you’ll most likely have to wait in line because the place is always slammed— but from the look on people’s face when they bite into their wrap, it’s worth every second of waiting.

Dessert Bonus: Karaköy Güllüoğlu

After having all of your savior delights, it’s time for a Turkish delight— or baklava. The absolute best place is Karaköy Güllüoğlu (don’t ask me how to pronounce that)— plus they make the absolute best vegan baklava in Istanbul, even my non-vegan friends agree.

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