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.
Galip Dede Caddesi Tımarcı Sokak No. 3/B
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.
I’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.
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.
Order 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
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.
The 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.
Anahtar Sokak No. 13
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.
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?