I love a good Turkish breakfast. Who wouldn’t?

I’ve only been to Istanbul thrice. It has always been for work but each time I was able to extend a few days to explore the city. Home to some 14 million people, Istanbul is HUGE. There are so many parts of Istanbul that I’ve yet to visit.

I have however spent a fair amount of time wandering around the lively Beyoğlu district which is on the European side of Istanbul. Here are three places in the area that I’d recommend for their excellent Turkish breakfast.

Privato Cafe
Galip Dede Caddesi Tımarcı Sokak No. 3/B
Şişhane, Beyoğlu
Daily 0830-0000

I rented a room near Galata Tower when I first visited Istanbul. The lady hosting me suggested that I try the breakfast at the cafe downstairs. Turned out that she worked there. Breakfast was lovely, washed down with a thick Turkish coffee served in a pretty gold patterned glass. With a view of the nearby Galata Tower, it was amusing to see the tiny human figures crowding the top of the former prison.

Privato Cafe - Galata TowerI’ve since returned to Privato Cafe every time I’ve been back in Istanbul. It’s always a pleasure to start the day with a sumptuous feast that doesn’t leave me feeling heavy afterwards. I can eat a lot in the morning 😉

I like the mix of modern and traditional culinary styles, as well as the generous use of spices and herbs. The brick walls of the homely cafe are covered with historic illustrations and aged photos, while the rest of the place is filled with eclectic furniture and accessories.

Cafe Privato @ 3B Galip Dede Caddesi Tımarcı Sokak02cc

I think it must have been featured in some guide books as there were many tourists the last time we were there in April. More so than the previous occasions when I’ve been there. Anyhow, this shouldn’t deter anyone from visiting Privato Cafe for breakfast.

Cafe Privato @ 3B Galip Dede Caddesi Tımarcı Sokak02k64Order the key kahvaltası (village breakfast) which is served all day. It’s a little bit of everything: homemade preserves with huge chunks of fruit, ezme (spicy tomato dip with onions and herbs), gözleme (stuffed spinach pancakes), local cheese and olives and more. Each item is served on a separate plate. Before you know it, your table will be covered with dishes! Don’t worry, the friendly staff are attentive and quick to clear empty plates. If there are at least two of you, try the assortment of mezze too.

Van Kahvaltı Evi
Kılıçali Paşa Mh., Defterdar Yokuşu No. 52
Cihangir, Beyoğlu
Daily 0800-1700

This is one of several popular spots clustered in a small area in Cihangir. Trying to get a table, with no prior reservations, on a weekend requires patience. At Van Kahvaltı Evi, your patience will be rewarded and your growling stomach will forget its discomfort the moment food starts arriving at your table.

Van Kahvaltı Evi @ 52 Kılıçali Paşa Mh., Defterdar Yokuşu k64The city of Van is not far from Turkey’s border with Iran. The city is renowned for its big breakfasts. At Van Kahvaltı Evi, you can expect quality produce from Van such as a delicious cheese with bits of salted wild herbs, local honey and fresh kaymak (clotted cream).

While it doesn’t have a garden, the tables pour out onto the sidewalk which is ideal for people-watching.

Kahve 6
Anahtar Sokak No. 13
Cihangir, Beyoğlu
Daily 0930-0030

The Cihangir neighborhood is known for its bohemian spirit and is overrun with hipsters. After walking by several cafes that reportedly serve good Turkish breakfast in the area, I entered Kahve 6 and found myself a spot under the sun in the cosy garden at the back.

Kahve 6 @ 13 Anahtar Sokak - Izmir kahvealti (melted Tulumi cheese w Simit, cottage cheese w mulberry jam, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes)k64

I ordered a breakfast set which came with a delicious mulberry jam and fresh cheese, cucumber and olives plus a toasted simit bread to soak up the hearty menemen (Turkish scrambled eggs cooked with tomatoes). It was delicious. The service did seem rather aloof though.

Have you been to Istanbul? What are some of your favorite breakfast spots?

12 replies on “Turkish breakfast in Istanbul: Beyoğlu

  1. I should’ve saved your post for later! I’m so hungry now! 🙂

    Have never been to Turkey but it is one of my must-visit destinations! I’m so envious that you’ve been three times!

    1. Istanbul is a fascinating city and I’d love to visit it again. I’d also like very much to see more of the rest of the country next time as I’ve only been to Istanbul and Bursa. Hope that you’ll make it there some day!

  2. When I travel, I love to chk out the local cuisine as well. I’ll keep these places in mind, if & when I ever get a chance to visit Turkey. I’ve never been there, but would love to. I love to travel and explore.

  3. Have you ever been to Asitane which makes Ottoman recipies and Ciya which makes anatolian recipies ? And I loved your love for breakfast, you can ask anyone in Turkey, we love food 🙂 And the photos you take are fun 🙂

    1. Ciya, as in Ciya Sofrasi on the Asian side? If so, yes, and I loved it! It was a little confusing when we first entered the restaurant as we didn’t know how to go about ordering the food nor did we recognise several of the dishes at the counter. The food was delicious and I’d love to return the next time I’m back in Istanbul. I’ve not been to Asitane but shall make a note of it to try it out. Thanks for the tip! I wish that there is a restaurant/cafe in Brussels that serves Turkish breakfast – what a treat this would be…

      1. Yep it is Ciya Sofrasi, the owner travels Anatolia and collects the almost forgotten recipes and they also publish a magazine called “Yemek ve Kultur” (Food and Culture). The chef there actually explains the food also, which is needed since some of the food are rarely seen 🙂 Asitane recipes are based on Ottoman palace cuisine, you should try them also just for the experience… If you plan to be in Istanbul and want someone to travel, photograph and have some food just drop a line. Hope you find Turkish food/breakfast in Belgium by the way 😉

        1. Thanks for the info and great to know that the chef will be able to share the stories about the recipes 🙂 I realised that I had noted down Asitane as one of the places to try when I was in Istanbul but we didn’t get to try it out. I’ll definitely make sure to go there the next time I’m back in Istanbul!

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