The European, historic vibe of Istanbul is unarguably a world favorite. That said, the Anatolian side (Asian side) hosts some of the most magnificent and creative dishes that you’ll be thanking your muses that you went.
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If your tastebuds are incredibly refined, here are some of the best restaurants on the Asian side of Istanbul:
In a beautiful Chateau-mansion on the edge of the Bosporus, there is a goat cheese salad with pineapple, orange, and fennel that’ll blow your mind. Imagine sipping Earl Grey at a place that looks like the backdrop in a James Bond film.
If you’ve never tried cumin pea puree or pineapple with grilled asparagus, you can’t go wrong here. Not to mention, the chocolate mulberry coffee or a nice glass of red wine with the cheese platter may have you returning time and time again.
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2. Ismet Baba Fish Restaurant
Half on land, half on the sea, this is the place to pair the delicious Turkish mezes with a silky white-yellow sauced, zesty sea bass. You’ll understand why people eat brains when you see the tempura/fried yet chewy dish cooked here.
There’s helva for the traditional or watermelon for the health-conscious. A cruise-like restaurant, you’ll feel like you’re at sea. Call us Ishmael; otherwise, we may be as obsessed with this place as Captain Ahab is obsessed with Moby-Dick.
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3. Divan Brasserie – Kalamış
Like a typical brasserie, the French vibe here gives this place a sense of class. What really exults it, however, is the menu. If you order the cheese and charcuterie platter, you’ll still be thinking about the dried apricots and the fig marmalade.
The wine and cocktail list host a wide variety… that is, if you can resist re-ordering that zingy ginger lemonade. Whoever came up with the idea of pairing sweet and sour veggies with salmon – or putting mango into the fragrant quinoa tabbouleh – deserves an award from Gordon Ramsey.
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4. The Townhouse Istanbul
At The Townhouse Istanbul, you can excite yourself with a ‘tour’ of Scottish whiskeys, chill with the Japanese Yamazaki, explore local craft beers like the unbelievably great Gara Guzu Blonde Ale, feel posh with the Fig Fashioned or be responsible with the non-alcoholic Pure Mario if the lavender Kombucha isn’t your thing.
And you can’t ignore the food—especially not the popcorn shrimp with spicy mayo. You’ll find your friends stealing from your vegan bowl if you don’t order the otherworldly Townhouse Burger. Otherwise, satisfy your senses with the creamy San Sebastian Cake.
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5. Victor Levi Şarap Evi
Sit in their greenery-filled posh garden and lose yourself in the taste of the beef fajita or the three-cheese steak.
Though this trendy wine bar has an impressive list of new and old-world bottles, they do have other alcoholic drinks. If you’re out to impress a date, the cherry wine with the chocolate souffle is an absolute must. However, if you’re winding down with friends, their Viktor Levi 17 white wine is an absolute must with the creamy chicken siciliano.
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6. Ioki Sushi
A terrace with mountain-top-retreat views, a diverse menu with that authentic Japanese taste… what else is there? Oh yep, it’s the veggie roll that may be your first time trying quinoa in a sushi roll or the tiger roll, which is absolutely unique with its creamy avocado and cream cheese inside and fried sweet potatoes topping – amongst other ingredients. There are options with eels and honey-mustard sauce, all served in colorful, cute slices. Don’t leave without trying the gyoza or the shrimp taco!
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Follow the white rabbit, and you may end up in wonderland, or you may find yourself with a super saucy, moist, delicious, brown, and dark orange dish descended from the heavens called Karayaka Kuzu Incikli Makarna (aka oven-roasted lamb on spaghetti).
There is no need for lengthy introductions; you tell from the taste that their focus is on sustainability and using fresh, seasonal ingredients. That said, the nettle soup is an eye-opener.
You’ll leave regretting that you didn’t eat everything like the pine nut handmade ravioli – that’s folded like an envelope enclosing a love letter – with pesto sauce to the creamy, organic beetroot burrata. This conversation-friendly place cooks slow and from scratch: just the way food should be made.
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8. Lacivert Restaurant
The ultimate self-date guide? Make reservations, get picked up by boat, and introduce yourself to the marinated sea bass with orange and fennel.
Is there a better way to celebrate a friend’s birthday than grilled lobster with champagne while taking in the wonderous views of the Bosphorus?
If you’re not a seafood fan, their kebab with yogurt makes a lovely coating for the quince dessert. However, if you really want to go wild, they have this crispy, flaky pastry which, like a burrito, has, in the middle, clotted cream, pistachio, and chewy ice cream. If that doesn’t hit the spot, nothing will.
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We hope you found this list helpful and that we were able to provide some useful information about what the best restaurants on the Asian side of Istanbul are.
If you’re planning a trip to Istanbul, we recommend coming with us as part of our Taste of Two Continents food tour so that you can experience Kadıköy first-hand. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner time, there is always something delicious waiting for your taste buds! Join one of our upcoming food tours today and see why everyone loves Turkish food!
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