As a city that is one of the major melting pots of the world, where the continent of Asia meets that of Europe, there is a kaleidoscope of cuisines that you can enjoy - all with a unique Turkish twist. As you venture out from your accommodation at the best Istanbul hotels, you will be just a short distance from a large variety of restaurants, cafes and street vendors that make the city’s food culture so eclectic. With its location on the Bosphorus, which connects the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea to the north, there is always an abundance of seafood to try, amongst myriad other exotic delights. Perhaps even take some snacks and street food discovered on a shopping expedition back to your room in the best Istanbul hotels to sample before the main event of dinner.
The best Istanbul hotels are often located on the much-coveted waterfront. And, from your hotel, you will likely be able to see the local fishermen in action, down by the water from early in the morning casting their lines. While there are several well-known and internationally respected seafood restaurants in the city, you often can do very well by simply wandering along the shore and popping into any number of seafood restaurants – many have their own boats bringing in the freshest catch from the nearby seas every day. If you don’t have time to sit down and relax, stop at a fish merchant’s stall by the water; you can choose your fish to be prepped and cooked in front of you and then served on a bun for you to eat as you go. The city is truly a seafood lovers’ paradise.
While enjoying the amazing historical and artistic culture of the city, you may not want to head back to your accommodation at the best Istanbul hotels for your lunch – tempting as the fare may be. Instead, why not have an adventure and sample the abundant array of delicious street food like a local?
You may have noticed bakers selling their “simit" from sticks or balanced on a board on their head as you waited in traffic to get somewhere; these pretzel-like bread rounds are a traditional street food and are often eaten on their own or with jams at breakfast. We’ve all had a late night kebap or doner, but what you get in the UK and on the streets of Istanbul are worlds apart. Give one of those a go, or try the Turkish version of pizza, lahmacun, which is a thin dough base with minced meat and tomato sauce. It is often served with lettuce and lemon slices for you to roll up and eat like a burrito.
If you want something more familiar, borek may be more your thing - a similar dish is served in Italy. Try the delicious flaky pastry with a savoury filling, such as the popular ispanakli borek, or spinach borek. Then, before you head back to your room at one of the best Istanbul hotels to get ready for dinner, try a sweet treat like the macun - a candy that tastes a bit like a melted lollipop. If you don't want to spoil your meal, grab a few boxes of local Turkish delights and baklava for later!
Looking for the best Istanbul hotels ? Roberta Stuart is the Travel Manager for Worldhotels, a company offering the best rooms in a selection of unique four and five star hotels around the world.