Frequently Asked Questions

Curious about something?

In 7 years of running thousands of food tours across Istanbul we’ve been asked almost everything! 

Here are the answers to the most common questions asked by our guests:

Tour Safety & COVID-19

Tour Safety & COVID-19

Yes! As of 28th June, 2020, we have resumed operation for all our tours.

But, as a family business ourselves,  we also want your family to be safe and secure during this time.  We are doing our utmost to ensure the health and safety of our guests, team members and partners.  We are following all local and national health authorities and their guidelines and restrictions.

Our group size on all tours has been reduced to max 5 until 28th February, 2021 and our tour guides will be wearing protective face coverings. We ask that guests provide their own face coverings as well. Please take the necessary precautions to stay healthy.

If you are sick or showing signs of illness, we kindly ask you to please do not attend a tour. We encourage you to avoid all physical contact and stay out of the personal space of our guides and other guests. As always, please wash your hands.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us directly. 

In short, no. Your safety during this time is our utmost priority and our tour guides will be wearing protective face coverings. We request all tour participants to join the tour with your own face coverings, also. Please take the necessary precautions to stay healthy.

If you are showing any signs of illness please do not attend your tour, but please contact us for an alternative arrangement. At all times please avoid physical contact and refrain from entering the personal space of our guides and your fellow foodie guests.  Please wash your hands often.

Choosing the Right Food Tour

We know that choice can be overwhelming – especially when it comes to getting the most foodie enjoyment from your Istanbul visit. We’ve put together a few criteria that might help you to choose the right tour for you:

Choosing Your Food Tour

To be honest, the foods sampled on each of our tours are similar, that’s the Turkish way! However, few minor distinctions include: our Kadikoy Street Food Tour, by name, specialises in street food; being concentrated in the heart of the Old City, our Flavours of the Old City tour serves more traditional ‘worker-style’ meals; weaving through a local market areas means Taste of Two Continents concentrates more on home-style meals; while Taksim Evening Food Tour blends old with fast sampling a mixture of traditional and street foods.

If you’d like to wander through a very traditional and historic neighbourhood, choose Flavours of the Old City; if you’d like to visit the Asian side, a very local and chic area, try Taste of Two Continents or Kadikoy Street Food Tour; or, if you’d like to see an older neighbourhood with a contemporary vibe, you’ll enjoy Taksim Evening Food Tour.

Our daytime Taste of Two Continents and Flavours of the Old City tours start at 9:00 or 9:30 am and last for approximately 7-hours; while our Kadikoy Street Food Tour and Taksim Evening Food Tour kick-off at 5:00 pm or 6:00 pm and last about 3.5 hours.

While our daytime tours run every day (check our tour calendar for availability), our evening Kadikoy Street Food Tour and Taskim Evening Food Tour operate only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings.

We know we offer the best-value food tours in Istanbul, with all food and drink tastings included in our price. We also offer two different options to suit your budget: our full-day daytime tours are US$110/pp while our shorter evening tours are $69/pp.

We can deal with a range of nutritional needs and preferences. Please refer to our section on Dietary Requirements below for more specific information.

Planning Your Istanbul Food Tour

Planning Your Food Tour

We highly recommend taking our food tours at the beginning of your visit to Istanbul; this will allow you plenty of time to revisit the vibrant neighbourhoods off-the-beaten-path and also enjoy returning to your favourite food tasting locations. We’ll have lots of recommendations for you to keep you out of the path of “tourist traps”.

In short, no. Out of respect to the other guests who have already booked that tour, we don’t exceed our advertised maximum group size limits. Our maximum group size on all tours is 8, and we are strict about sticking to this. We hope you’ll be able to find another date which fits in with your Istanbul plans.

Our food tours include all food and drink tastings on tour, as well as water and public transportation, and your English-speaking guide.

Absolutely, we also offer private tours. If you have a larger group, or just want a more intimate tour for your private group, please reach out to us so we can plan your private tour together.

More info on our private tours, here.

Your Family & Our Tours

Your Family & Our Tours

Unfortunately, tours are offered only in English at this time.

Children are more than welcome to join our tours. We love exposing children to new neighbourhoods and foods and offer discounted pricing for 6-12 years old. For teenagers, adult tickets and portions are applicable.

If you are joining our tour with your small child or infant (aged 5 or under), you do not need to purchase a ticket for them.

Yes, you are very welcome to bring a stroller with you. *(Flavours of the Old City tour has many steps and hills to climb) Please be aware that some of our food tours visit tiny shops and busy neighbourhoods, so a small collapsible stroller that can be quickly folded is best. If you have an infant, a carrier may be more practical and comfortable for you.

Preparing For Your Tour

Preparing For Your Tour

The tour cost can be paid online with a credit card, or in cash direct to your foodie guide at the commencement of the tour. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept credit card payments on the day of the tour.

Bring your appetite for fantastic food.  Bring a camera (or phone) for beautiful pics and memories.  Bring your questions; we love sharing stories and recommendations about Istanbul and Turkey.

We work closely with all our providers, and they expect us daily; however, as small independent businesses, our partners will be busy juggling their local customers, too, so we may face a short wait at some stops. This ‘waiting our turn’ is part of our commitment to supporting local businesses and showcasing the best eats in the neighbourhood.

All our tours operate rain, snow or shine; so, please dress for the weather and consider bringing an umbrella, if necessary.

We provide the exact meeting point and finishing locations at the time of ticket purchase. They will be somewhere in the specific area that your visiting (i.e. the meeting point for our Taksim Evening Food Tour will be at a central Taksim location).

Our walking food tours do not finish at the same place as the meeting point; however, our ending site is usually a short walk or a comfortable ferry/metro ride from the start.

Yes, all of our tours operate rain, snow or shine. In the event of inclement weather, we will be able to enter inside many of the establishments we visit. You should still dress appropriately for the day’s weather conditions as walking outside is unavoidable.

Flavours of the Old City tour visits a more traditional and conservative area of the city and, therefore, you may feel more comfortable if you dress accordingly.

For all our other food tours, feel comfortable to dress as you usually would. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing.

No, the guide will meet all tour participants together at a central designated meeting point to begin the tour. We will provide detailed instructions about how to reach this meeting point once you book your tour.

Allergies & Dietary Requirements

Allergies & Dietary Requirements

The most suitable tour for our Vegetarian guests is the Taste of Two Continents tour. On this tour, we can offer you vegetarian options at most of our stops. However, please do note that we are still unable to provide meat-free alternative dishes at 3 (out of 10) stops. There are also 1-2 other stops where we sample multiple dishes and, of these, some of them are vegetarian-friendly while others may not be.

Due to the nature of Turkish street food, on our Kadikoy Street Food tour, we are unable to offer Vegetarian-friendly options at 3 out of the 7 stops on this foodie walk.

We strongly recommend that our Vegetarian foodie guests do not join our Flavours of the Old City tour and Taksim Evening Food Tour. The areas that we visit on these walks serve primarily meat-based specialty dishes, and we’re sorry that you will not find sufficient vegetarian options on these tours.

We can offer the most options to our Vegan guests on our Taste of Two Continents tour. Even so, please be aware that Turkish dishes, by nature, are prepared using animal by-products such as butter, cheese and honey. Therefore, there will be at 5-6 stops (out of 10) where we cannot offer any Vegan-friendly dishes.

We do not recommend our Flavours of the Old City, Kadikoy Street Food Tour or Taksim Evening Food Tour for Vegan guests.

If you follow a Pescatarian diet or prefer not to eat red meat, we recommend you join either Taste of Two Continents or Kadikoy Street Food Tour. On these tours, we only have two stops out of 10 (Two Continents) or 7 (Kadikoy Street Food) where the specialty dish we taste is a red meat-based dish. Unfortunately, at these two stops, there is no other alternative dish.

We strongly recommend that our foodie guests who do not eat red meat or who follow a Pescatarian diet, do not join our Flavours of the Old City and Taksim Evening Food tours. The areas that we visit on these walks serve specialty dishes that are primarily red meat-based, and we’re sorry that you will not find sufficient alternatives on these tours.

While Halal food preparation is dominant in Turkish kitchens, please note that most restaurants we visit do not carry a Halal food certificate, as this certificate is not expected in Turkey. Some of the restaurants visited on the tours are alcohol-serving restaurants.

No problem – we can handle Nut Allergies on all our tours. There are 1-2 stops (depending on the tour) where the dish that we taste contains nuts, and we may not be able to find an alternative food for you at these stops.

Note: Nuts are a common ingredient used in the Turkish kitchen, and there may be traces of nuts in the preparation spaces at all stops we visit. If your Nut Allergy is severe, then our tours are not suitable for you.

For our foodies who are intolerant to Gluten, we recommend our Taste of Two Continents tour. On this tour, however, we are still unable to offer any Gluten-free alternatives at 3-4 (out of 10) stops we visit, due to the nature of traditional Turkish dishes. At 2-3 other stops where the meals are traditionally served inside a wrap or bread, we will offer just the ‘inside’ tasting on a plate, rather than served as Turks would typically eat it.

Turkish street food is primarily served ‘to go’ inside wraps or bread. Therefore, we don’t recommend our Kadikoy Street Food Tour for our Gluten Intolerant guests.

Likewise, our Flavours of the Old City and Taksim Evening Food Tour are unsuitable for guests with Gluten Allergies. These tours visit older, more traditional areas of the city and sample dishes which generally contain flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), durum and other gluten-containing ingredients.

During Your Tour

During Your Tour

While we don’t list our stops in advance, you’ll be able to get a great sense of the adventure you’re about to enjoy from our tour pages (on this website) and social media channels. Plus, we believe that the magic of taking a food tour is the element of surprise! 

As local food champions and lovers of Turkish food, we take our guests to where we eat. Our local hang-outs, our special spots and places that have delicious stories to share. We pay full price to our partners; we don’t have kick-backs or promo deals like some other operators.

eWe run food tours, not the snack “tasting” tours that you might have joined previously. You can eat as much as you like!

Depending on the tour, you will typically stop at between 7-12 places to sample dishes along the way. We will provide a standard portion size, and it’s up to you if you choose to eat less. At most of the food stops, we served multiple tastings. While you won’t roll away uncomfortable, you’ll have plenty to eat and drink and certainly leave satisfied. 

PRO TIP: Skip or have a very light breakfast for our daytime tours, and come hungry!

Food is provided by local restaurants and eateries, street food vendors and specialty food shops. The type of food depends on the tour you join and the neighbourhood(s) that the tour is held in.

Yes, lots! Full day food tours definitely have more beverage servings – around 5-6 exciting and local non-alcoholic drinks. On our 3-hour-long street food tours you will try 2-3 different local non-alcoholic drinks. We do not serve alcoholic beverages on the tours.

Of course there are! Your tour guide will let you know when the next restroom opportunity is approaching throughout the day.

Yes and no. We never visit a food shop for shopping purposes. However, we do walk some individual neighborhoods, local backstreets and food shops and find their prices for some food items (e.g. saffron, Turkish delight, spices, molasses and other local food products) to be significantly more reasonable compared to touristic areas. We don’t frown upon our guests making quick purchases. But, we kindly remind you to consider your fellow foodies and be mindful of making them wait for you. We will be more than happy to give you directions to help you find your way back to any of the places we visit on our tours, by yourself following the tour. We do not receive any discounts, commissions or kickbacks from any of the establishments we visit on our tours.

Not more than you can handle! The pace is generally comfortable for everyone. The walking distance of our tours is around 2-3kms over flat terrain. ** Please note that there are some stairs and steep walking on our Flavours of the Old City tour. If climbing stairs is a problem for yourself or any of your guests, please do consider booking another of our tours.

If you have any other mobility concerns, please advise us during the booking process so we can consider options with you. While at most of our food stops and restaurants we sit down at tables and chairs to enjoy our food, there are usually just 1-2 stops where we will eat standing up.

Absolutely not! Your Istanbul On Food guide will combine historical facts, local culture and culinary insight into a unique Istanbul experience. Imagine walking through Istanbul, eating our local artisans’ most delicious foods while exploring the backstreets with real locals.

Gratuities are greatly appreciated, although not mandatory. If you enjoyed your tour and feel like you received exemplary service from your guide, it is customary to leave a tip at the end of the tour. In Istanbul, the standard gratuity in the service industry is 10-20%.

 

After Your Tour

After Your Tour

Most possibly, no. At the end of the tour (around 4pm), most people are stuffed and dinner afterwards is not necessary.

No, our food tours do not finish at the same location as the meeting point. You will receive detailed instructions regarding the starting point after ticket purchase.  At the end of the tour, we will ensure that you know where you are going.

Tour Changes & Cancellations

Tour Changes & Cancellations

We’re a family business … we understand that “life happens”. Our cancellation policy is quite relaxed and enjoyable from your end. We simply require a minimum 24-hours notice of cancellation for a full deposit refund for group tours. 

Note: For private tours, we require 5 days notice of any changes or cancellation.

  • Cancellations received greater than 24 hours prior to tour commencement are fully refundable.
  • Cancellations received within 24 hours of tour commencement are nonrefundable.
  • Amendment requests are subject to availability.
  • Cancellations received greater than 5 days prior to tour commencement are fully refundable.
  • Cancellations received within 5 days of tour commencement are nonrefundable.
  • Amendment requests are subject to availability.

Late arrivals and no shows are nonrefundable. This is applicable to any tour participant that fails to arrive, or arrives after tour departure.

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Please contact us to send your question and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!