6 of the best contemporary restaurants in Istanbul Münferit

6 of the best contemporary restaurants in Istanbul

Our pick of the best contemporary Turkish restaurants in this uber cool city.



Istanbul's cuisine, influenced by its unique cross continental position, has always been incredibly multicultural. With the city's rising popularity in recent years new restaurants have opened up that focus on reinterpreting classic dishes using rich spices from the East combined with Mediterranean flavours from the West. Here are some of our favourites...


Years ago, a meyhane used to be a place where men got their daily dose of raki. Nowadays they are seen as places to celebrate a special occasion and Münferit is the best meyhane in town. Elegantly furnished by famous Turkish design office Autoban, Münferit (meaning individual) delivers an impressive experience with almost 30 different meze. The first floor is where you can dine and sip either raki or wine and the second floor serves as a bar with the hip crowd filling up the dancefloor around 11pm. Don't miss the Circassian chicken made with duck. www.munferit.com.tr

Lokanta Maya

Lokanta MayaLokanta Maya

Lokanta Maya is a great choice if you’re staying around Beyoğlu and you want to taste some excellent contemporary Turkish cooking. Its brilliant chef/owner Didem Şenol grew up in an Aegean household where locally-grown seasonal food was the focus of the kitchen. Simple and minimalistic, the menu is full of light and delicious items from Aegean and Mediterranean cuisines. Especially popular with local and visiting foodies, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner so book your table before you go. The caramelized sea bass with sautéed chard and figs should not be missed. www.lokantamaya.com

Ulus 29

Ulus 29Ulus 29

For years, Ulus 29 has hosted a ritzy crowd in its elegantly furnished nest high at the top of a hilly neighbourhood overlooking the Bosphorus. Designed and owned by renowned interior decorator Zeynep Fadillioglu, Ulus 29 is an elegant classic that is always a favourite with local and international foodies. Surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows with glamorous views of the Bosphorus in the winter and sporting an open terrace in the summer, Ulus 29 offers innovative dishes prepared with seasonal products, Turkish comfort food and, also, a delectable sushi selection. The shaved artichoke and asparagus with smoked beef, parmigiano, arugula and truffle vinaigrette is truly fabulous. ulus29.com

Related: How to drink raki in Istanbul



The perfect place to people-watch along the glittering Bosphorus seaside. This eatery has a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere with spacious couches and long wooden tables. Executive Chef Willy Moya is a veteran of Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain. Moya oversees Lucca’s menu of bistro fare with Mediterranean influences. Lucca is especially popular for its creative tapas and cocktails (our favourite is the satsuma vodka). This cool restaurant is packed all day and is frequented by Istanbul’s in crowd. Don't miss the lobster spaghettini. luccastyle.com

Sunset Grill & Bar

Sunset Bar & GrillSunset Bar & Grill

A classic Istanbul venue at which you can spend the whole night, from dusk until dawn. Sunset lives up to its name as one of the best places to catch the day’s last rays over the Bosphorus from its hillside location in the Ulus district. This terrace-floor eatery offers Turkish, international and Japanese cuisines and is particularly noted for its sushi bar. Its extensive wine menu has won many awards. The outdoor bar is also popular for its first-rate cocktails, and a DJ plays on summer nights. The grilled beef tenderloin with yuzu mustard sauce is highly recommended. www.sunsetgrillbar.com



Müzedechanga is the summer venue of the famous Changa in Beyoglu, and it is even more glamorous. Located in the beautiful garden of the Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Emirgan (hence the name), this restaurant typically serves light modern Turkish-Mediterranean fusion dishes during the day, with select breakfast options also available at weekends. Watch for special menu items inspired by the current exhibitions, such as a cheese platter resembling a Miró painting. After you dine on Müzedechanga’s patio overlooking the ever-captivating Bosphorus, you walk of the food by mingling with the art-loving crowds touring the museum next door. www.changa-istanbul.com

1 Lokanta Maya
2 Münferit
3 Ulus 29
4 Lucca
5 Sunset Bar & Grill
6 Müzedechanga

Related: The best kebabs in Istanbul