Travellers seeking the best of Turkish cuisine should come to Köşebaşı, named one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants by readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Once you visit, you realise why Köşebaşı boasts eight Istanbul locations, restaurants in two other Turkish cities, and now locations in four other countries: excellent southern Anatolian cuisine executed to perfection since 1995. Specialities such as pide, a Turkish-style pizza, and lahmacun, a meat, spice and tomato flatbread, have made Köşebaşı one of the most successful upscale chains in Turkey.
Köşebaşı, Bronz Sokak 5, Maçka, +90 (0)212 230 3868
For great Italian comfort food, look no further than Zazie, a pizza and pasta heaven in the dining oasis of the see-and-be-seen Nişantaşı neighbourhood. Chef Gianluca Guagneli serves up authentic Italian pizzas big enough for two with enough topping options to make any diner pause for thought. If you prefer pasta, the selection will delight lovers of Italian dishes. The smart dining room interior is so cosy, you may want to stay long enough to finish your pizza solo. In warm weather, you can also enjoy a lovely, leafy garden dining area.
Zazie, Atiye Sokak 7/2-4, Teşvikiye, +90 (0)212 231 8781
AL JAMAL BADAWI
While tourist-trap, prix-fixe restaurants featuring belly dancers abound in Istanbul, Al Jamal Badawi takes the concept and makes it right. The beautiful, decadent, Arab-style interior draws in visitors and the first bite of the first-rate, traditional Anatolian cuisine confirms they have made a good choice. The performances range from Turkish singing to female and male belly dancing to an interactive dessert rite that has to be experienced to be appreciated. Many Turks can be found enjoying Al Jamal Badawi; you won’t feel like a tourist and you won’t want the night to end.
Al Jamal Badawi, Süleyman Seba Caddesi 42-46, Akaretler, +90 (0)212 236 5017
This beautifully appointed townhouse is an elegant culinary grande dame in the Cihangir neighbourhood. Chef Murat Bozok has worked in European Michelin-starred restaurants, including a stint alongside Gordon Ramsay at Petrus in London. Bozok has left no detail up to chance. The Mediterranean cuisine is flawlessly prepared; ask the friendly sommelier to recommend one (or more) of the restaurant’s 250 fine wines. Cooking classes are offered at the restaurant during the day; not many people can boast of training with a chef up for a Michelin rating.
Mimolett, Sıraselviler Caddesi 55A, Cihangir, +90 (0)212 245 9858