What can I say, I’m a lover of breakfast. (If you don’t believe check out any of my breakfast recipes!) It’s the one meal of the day that can get away with serving sweet and salty everything in one dish, and the options are abundant. I’ve come to savor breakfast overseas not only because of the endless croissants and espressos, but because of the slow, timeless tradition of spending a few hours eating with company. Turkish breakfast is no exception. In fact, they do it pretty damn well. After discovering countless places to enjoy a satisfying brunch, it occurred to me that breakfast in Istanbul is more than just a meal. It’s an experience that everyone should have. If you’re visiting, make sure you carve out time to hit one or two of these spots during your stay!
This is my number one pick for breakfast in Istanbul. A cute, unassuming little cafe located at the top of a hidden stairway with an incredible view of the Bosphorus. Mangerie offers a variety of breakfast options like avocado toast with a poached egg (my favorite) or the Mangerie breakfast which includes an assortment of olives, breads, cheeses and jams. I’m not a huge pancake lover, but I have to admit they make some of the best I’ve ever had. You’ll want to call and make a reservation especially on weekends.
Cesme Bazlama Kahvalti Nisantsi
Expect a line and be ready to wait a bit, but once inside, you’ll be happy you came. What’s cool about this place is that waiters walk around with little dishes of different items so you can create your own Turkish breakfast based on preference. The spread is huge and your table will be completely full so come with an appetite. Make sure to get the menemen!
This adorable cafe is located in the hipsterish area Karakoy. The breakfast is tasty, but the ambiance is even better. With open air ceilings and fun artwork, this is my pick for breakfast and an all day adventure. You can roam the streets of Karaoky, cruise through little thrift shops, or sit and have a drink in many of the cafes/bistros.
Hands down, greatest entrance ever. Istanbul is all about inside gardens or seaside views with their restaurants and this spot does it best. Head into a tiny door and walk down some stairs, keep going through a hallways and down a spiral staircase and you’ll be delighted to find this adorable breakfast spot. The wintertime you can sit outside with a firepit and stay warm. While it’s located in the middle of the city, you will feel secluded from the thousands of people.
Another great spot not only for the food but for the location. Gakki literally means “egg” and we all know you can’t go to breakfast without getting menemen… maybe that’s just me? Located in Beyoglu, the perfect area to tour around and walk off all the nutella, jams, and cheeses you’ll want to smother on warm simit.
Warning: Don’t eat the day before you do this. The Four Seasons Brunch is truly an experience. From coffee to little spritz, to the oyster and sushi bar, to the entire dessert table, you have to come hungry to really get the most of this spread. You can enjoy many of the traditional turkish delicacies including kepap, meze, and even dishes like pide. Head outside after the meal to walk off those extra calories along the Bosphorus.
Located literally on the water over on the Asian side of Istanbul in Cengelkoy, they serve breakfast all day! Perfect for those mornings spent sleeping in. Menemen here is must, as well as borek filled with meat and cheese. You can order small plates to complete your Turkish breakfast like olives or tahini with grape molasses. Make sure to get a table outside because the view is just as good as the food.
So if you’re trying to stay healthy on the road after eating your weight in Turkish breakfast, here are my go-to tips.
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