Istanbul, a city of timeless beauty and rich traditions, is as famous for its architectural wonders as it is for its culinary delights. And when it comes to starting the day right, Istanbulites take their breakfast seriously. Dive into this article to discover the best breakfast spots and dishes in this enchanting city.
The Traditional Turkish Breakfast Spread
Before we dive into the places, it's essential to understand what a traditional Turkish breakfast (known as 'kahvaltı') comprises:
- Simit: A sesame-crusted bread ring, often dubbed the 'Turkish bagel'.
- Beyaz peynir: A white cheese similar to feta.
- Olives (zeytin)
- Tomatoes & cucumbers: Freshly sliced.
- Eggs: Boiled or as "Menemen" (scrambled with tomatoes, green peppers, and spices).
- Pastirma: Seasoned and air-dried cured beef.
- Jams & honey: Often homemade and very varied.
- Kaymak: Clotted cream, perfect with honey or jam.
- Börek: Flaky pastry filled with cheese, meat, or vegetables.
- Tea (çay): Served in tulip-shaped glasses.
Top Breakfast Spots in Istanbul
- Van Kahvaltı Evi
Located in the trendy Cihangir district, this place is known for its comprehensive Van-style breakfast, comprising cheeses, creams, and other delicacies from the eastern city of Van.
- Nezih Kebap & Muhallebici
A favorite in Beşiktaş, Nezih offers a no-frills, classic Turkish breakfast. Their Menemen is a must-try.
- Privato Café
Located in Galata, Privato is famous for its homey feel and dishes made from organic ingredients sourced from the owner's village.
- Naan Bake & Shop
This modern spot in Bebek offers a fusion of classic Turkish breakfast with contemporary dishes. Their sourdough bread and avocado toasts are divine.
- Emirgan Sütiş
Overlooking the Bosphorus, this place is ideal for those looking to combine a sumptuous breakfast with a view. Their böreks and pastries are a delight.
- Çakmak Kahvaltı Salonu
Situated in Beşiktaş, Çakmak is always bustling with locals, a testament to its popularity. Their breakfast spread is vast and satisfying.
This chic eatery in Bebek offers breathtaking views of the Bosphorus along with a mix of Turkish and international breakfast dishes.
- Kale Café
Located in Rumelihisarı, Kale Café offers an incredible view of the fortress and the Bosphorus. The ambiance and the traditional breakfast spread make it a favorite spot for many.
A hidden gem in Karaköy, this retro-style café serves an excellent traditional breakfast along with fantastic coffee options.
Dishes to Try
While the breakfast spread is a must, individual dishes stand out:
- Menemen: A delicious scrambled eggs dish with tomatoes and peppers.
- Sujuklu Yumurta: Eggs scrambled with spicy Turkish sausage.
- Gözleme: A flatbread, filled and sealed with ingredients like cheese, potatoes, or spinach, then cooked on a griddle.
Breakfast in Istanbul is not just a meal; it's an experience. The city offers myriad options from the traditional to the contemporary, ensuring that every palate, preference, and pocket is catered to. So, next time you're in Istanbul, make sure you begin your day with a hearty Turkish breakfast and bask in the flavors and ambiance of this beautiful city.