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Foods You Must Try in Istanbul

Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, can be called a melting pot of different cultures. This has resulted in some very mouthwatering dishes being available for you to enjoy in Istanbul. Istanbul is the de-facto best place in Turkey to experience these cultures and to enjoy all sorts of Turkish cuisines. But how can you make sure to enjoy all the best foods when visiting this city? To help you with this we have prepared a list of the best Turkish foods that you must try during your visit to Istanbul. So, without further delay let’s dive right into it.


Menemen is a Turkish style omelet made using onions, tomatoes, green bell peppers, eggs, olive oil, and ground black pepper. Although many variations exist in terms of ingredients as some derivations include extra ingredients. You can also order your Menemen with meat. The dish is usually served with fresh Turkish bread. Menemen is mostly eaten for breakfast but it can also serve as a light lunch.


Simit food to try and tea in Istanbul on a table.

Simit is a circular shaped Turkish bread. It is commonly encrusted with sesame seeds but variations with poppy, sunflower, or flax seeds can be found too. Simit can be bought from Simit vendors which are founds all over the city. It is either eaten plain as a snack or with tea as breakfast. In short, it is a simple, tasty, and cheap snack that can be found anywhere in the city. Production of this bread can be traced all the way back to 1593 according to some sources.


Lahmacun can be called the Turkish pizza. Lahmacun is comprised of a thin flatbread topped with vegetables, herbs, and minced meat. The meat is usually either lamb or beef. It is baked in a pizza like oven and after being baked it is crispy on the edges while being chewy as you get closer to the center. Lahmacun is a light and aromatic dish which can be eaten as a snack. In order to eat a Lahmacun, you roll it up with vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions, etc.


The easiest way to describe Pide is to say it looks like a pizza boat. It is closer to a pizza than Lahmacun. Peynir cheese, cheese made from goat milk, is traditionally used to fill Pide. Pide can be made with a variety of different toppings so you can try them all out if you want to. Pide is a very filling dish and is an important Turkish cuisine.


Meze is a set of appetizer dishes served before the main meal. They are absolutely delicious, to say the least. Meze is often shared by a table and almost all restaurants and even street food places serve Meze before the main meal. As said before Meze is a set or family of dishes so they come in a large variety. Some common types of Meze are dips, cheese, pickles, pastries, ezme, meatballs, hummus, purees, and salads, etc.

Midye Dolma

Midye Dolma is a Turkish snack that is quite popular. The name translates to “stuffed mussels”. Notably, this dish has a very enticing aroma. As the name suggests the dish consists of mussels stuffed with aromatic spiced rice, pine nuts, and currants. Usually, lemon juice is sprinkled on top before eating Midye Dolma. This dish is commonly sold as street food in Istanbul and can be found all over the city. It is not an expensive dish either while also being very delicious.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There is a multitude of dishes that can be enjoyed in Istanbul. But these foods are a must for anyone visiting Turkey to try at least once.