The Turkish breakfast: “kahvaltı”
Turkish breakfast is a meal itself, it generally salty. The word kahvaltı has its origin in “kahve altı” which means “before coffee”. The kahvaltı comes with tea, and a coffee at the end. Turkish breakfast can be divided into 2 parts, the starters can be shared among the guests which usually consist of:
– A plate of tomatoes and cucumbers (domates and salatalık), a cheese plate (peynir), the best known is the beyaz peynir (white cheese). It is a cheese similar to the Greek feta but creamier and softer, some honey with cream (bal kaymak), grilled sucuk (Turkish chorizo, pork-free of course!), olives (zeytin), and jams (reçel). Everything is spread on toasted fresh bread, or simit and poğaca, traditional tasty Turkish pieces of bread.
– Then comes the main egg dishes served in an individual casserole. There are 2 main dishes:
- • Tavada yumurta (fried eggs), which can be eaten plain or accompanied by sucuk or kavurma (lamb meat) and cheese.
- • Menemen, which is scrambled eggs with tomatoes, onions, peppers with optional cheese.
Turkish breakfast is really something not to be missed to start the day on the right foot!
Advice: do not take your breakfast every day at your hotel, you would risk missing a true Turkish tradition. When you visit these breakfast places, we advise you not to take the “kahvaltı tabağı” (“breakfast plate”), it is best to order “à la carte” what you want.
Here’s our selection of the best breakfast places in Istanbul:
Do not be surprised if you have to wait for 15, 20 minutes before getting a table in those places. They are often crowded (especially the ones on the Bosphorus) on sunny weekends.
This is probably one of the best places to have breakfast in Istanbul. It is located on the banks of the Bosphorus in the district of Emirgan next to the museum of the foundation Sakip Sabancı (check out our article: the must-see museums in Istanbul). Everything is very good and the service is fast even though the place is always crowded. To get there you can either take a taxi in the morning or, afternoon, take the boat Hop-on & Hop-off.
This is an institution hidden on the Bosphorus in the upscale neighborhood Bebek, a perfect place to enjoy a breakfast in the sun. We recommend that you try the Menemen which is really good.
Address: Bebek Mh., Beşiktaş, İstanbul
VAN KAHVALTI CİHANGİR
One of the most popular places to have breakfast in Istanbul. This restaurant is located in the trendy bohemian neighborhood of Cihangir in the Beyoğlu district. The owner of this restaurant is from the city of Van is located in Eastern Turkey, a city known for its breakfasts. The atmosphere is very nice, everything is delicious. The place is often full on weekends, it is better to go during the week.
THE BREAKFASTS STREET OF BEŞİKTAŞ DISTRICT
Located in the student district of Besiktas, these establishments will welcome you in a simple and friendly setting. Everything is very good, do not miss the pişi, a kind of donut filled with cheese or chocolate that is the specialty of the area. On weekends there are often lines outside the restaurants, but we advise you to wait patiently because it is worth it!
Beşitkaş is one of the nicest and liveliest neighborhoods in Istanbul, and it is also a neighborhood we visit during our culinary and cultural walk on two continents.
Address: Sinanpaşa Mh., Beşiktaş, İstanbul
It is a nice little place in the Bebek neighborhood overlooking the sea. The place is frequented by Turkish celebrities and the atmosphere is pretty laid back. In addition to the local specialties, you can find more international food. A good place to have a good brunch with detox juices and teas of all kinds.
EMEK CAFÉ YENİKÖY
Further north of Istanbul in the affluent neighborhood Yenikoy this establishment is one of the oldest in the city. The situation of the restaurant on the banks of Bosphorus is exceptional. Do not miss the Menemen. As you walk into this area you will have the opportunity to see beautiful Yalis (villas built on the Bosphorus).
Address: Yeniköy Mh., İstanbul
To begin your breakfast experience we advise you to get there, this restaurant is specialized in breakfast (we call them the kahvaltıcı). it is located on the Bosphorus between the two bridges on the European side. The decoration of the place is minimal but the food is amazing. We recommend you order a “serpme kahavaltısı” in which you can find a little mix of all specialties. After breakfast, enjoy a walk on the Bosphorus and go visit the fortress of Rumeli Hisari, This fortress was built by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed the Conqueror between 1451 and 1452 before he conquered Constantinople.
THE SMALL STREETS OF KARAKÖY
The area was transformed in recent years into a temple for hipsters and it’s the showcase of the trendy bohemian life of Istanbul. Many small nice eateries have opened, and you will find a bit of everything, from pancakes to pastries, to more traditional brunch. Among the dozens of places you’ll find in the area, we tested the Pan, the Pim, and Karabatak but there are many others.
KONAK CAFÉ GALATA
Konak Coffee is a terrace cafe in the neighborhood of Galata, probably the one in this list that is the closest to your hotel because tourists often stay in the area. We recommend it for the magnificent view of the old city and its relaxed atmosphere more than for its food. A place not to be missed if you’re in the neighborhood!
Do not hesitate either to tell us about all your discoveries!
To discover in more depth the Turkish cuisine, and also to discover local neighborhoods like Beşiktaş and Üsküdar, you can take part in our culinary and cultural walk on two continents.
Click on the map to see the addresses of the places mentioned: