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What time to eat in Istanbul?

Shrewsbury, United...
Level Contributor
9 posts
35 reviews
What time to eat in Istanbul?

Hi. My Husband and i are going on our first trip to Istanbul next week, and are very excited. We like the nightlife as much as the sight seeing, so i was wondering about what time people have dinned in Istanbul? We made a mistake in Poland when we went last and seemed to eat our dinner about 2 hours before it crossed anyone elses mind! Also, we like to have a couple of drinks when we go out, is this easy to do in Istanbul? Do most restaurants have a wine list?

Thanks in advance

Mrs B x

Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
42,249 posts
67 reviews
1. Re: What time to eat in Istanbul?

Hi MrsBee,

In Istanbul dinner does not start before 8.00 PM but in some restaurants you can have dinner later. In fact restaurants are very flexible on this timing issue. There are lots of cafes/bars/pubs that you can get a few drinks before dinner and you have them both in Sultanahmet and Taksim. In Sultanahmet/Sirkeci area Red River, North Shields, Sultans Pub, etc. are well known bars. You should check the bars and restaurant reviews here on TA. Most of the nightlife though is in Taksim/Beyoglu/Pera/Tunel area and there are numerous bars there. You should also try a Turkish Meyhane, while you are in Istanbul. Plug in "meyhane" at the searc box above for the Istanbul forum and you will get a lot of references!

good luck,


Level Contributor
7,098 posts
17 reviews
2. Re: What time to eat in Istanbul?

The answer is anytime you want to!

If however you want to sample the nightlife in Beyoglu or any of the trendy areas where the locals hang out, as Enigma says, 8pm is early! Have a look at Kozano's blog which in one of the posts deals with this very issue.


London, United...
Level Contributor
1,892 posts
9 reviews
3. Re: What time to eat in Istanbul?

Istanbul's smart or smart-ish restaurants or Meyhanes don't really start getting customers until 8, 8.30. there are though numerous all day dining cafes or bistro style restaurants and people eat at these any time of the day. As Enigma said except from a couple of very high-end restaurants there is no culture of double sittings and set reservation times, your table is yours for the evening.

Level Contributor
2,989 posts
4. Re: What time to eat in Istanbul?

And regarding your question on wine:

- all decent restaurants will have wine lists.

- the well known Turkish brands are, kavaklidere, Doluca, sevilen, Terra, Sarafin, gulor, Corvus.

- they all have different named wines according to type of grape, time kept in casks, etc.

- You can also get Chilean, French, Italian, Spanish, South African and California wines on some wine lists.

- wine is generally expensive because of the very high tax on it.

- our favourite medium priced wines are, 'Doluca Kav Okuzgozu/Bogazkere,

doluca DLC Kalecikkarasi, Kavaklidere Selection, and some Merlots.

- We do not like Yakut and Angora, which feature on almost every wine list.

Also, here are two restaurant recommendations:

- For good fish, special greens and other excellent meze without going all the way up the Bosphorus and with an excellent view if you reserve in advance : 'Doga Balik' at Cihangir, on the terrace of Villa Zurich hotel.

- "Changa Restaurant" at Siraselviler, near Taksim, the only Turkish restaurant to be selected among the top 50 restaurants in the world. Turkish-Oriental-Continental fusion dihes. excellent wine list and reasonably priced. i recommend the tasting menu with many orders of the terrific deserts. (I am overweight :))

- for Turkish music bars, you just need to walk down istiklal and try some side streets.

- for jazz, you can go to Nardiz, near the Galata tower or istanbul Jazz center at ortakoy (Spyro Gyra is appearing 22-23 October)

- for other types of music, check on the web, ghetto, babylon and the ticket site 'Biletix'

- most good restaurants (not the traditional fish ones) will also have good bars (i.e. "8" or "Sekiz" on side street of istiklal)

- For the bar scene, without live music, try the upscale bars on Abdi Ipekci street at nisantasi, where there are also good restaurants.

- The French Street, again off Istiklal, is fun but the food is not that good.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
2,173 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: What time to eat in Istanbul?

hi. welcome to the forum.

the restaurants in Taksim/cihangir start filling up around 8-9 and on into the evening. the Doga balik place,mentioned here,is always busy,every night and you do need to book. the food is really good,and they have a very nice selection of cold and hot mezes(appetizers).

by 6:00 in Sultanahmet,the tourists have gone back to their hotels and then at about 8-9 and later,people have dinner. I have seen people come in as late as 9:30 also. I have eaten as late as 9:30,no problem. you can go earlier if you like. perhaps go to a cafe for a drink and then on to dinner.

Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
4,035 posts
93 reviews
6. Re: What time to eat in Istanbul?

In the Sultanahmet area, we ate dinner around 8 PM, while in the newer part of town off Istaklal near Tunel, we ate at 9:30 PM.

Shrewsbury, United...
Level Contributor
9 posts
35 reviews
7. Re: What time to eat in Istanbul?


I just want to thank you all for the fantastic and quick responses! I'm really looking forward to going, and armed with this knowledge, i'm sure to have a fantastic time! Thanks all!

Mrs B

8. Re: What time to eat in Istanbul?

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