The gastronomic spectrum of Istanbul extends from the common street and excellent kebab restaurants (lokanta) to the distinguished cuisines of the luxurious hotels, Istanbul has a rich mixture of the inheritance of a great cuisine culture and a close contact with the experimental approaches in the world cuisines. You can come across with all kinds of food in any comer around Istanbul including the traditional tastes of the Ottoman court cuisine or fresh fish of the Bosporus; various kind of sushi, the favorite dish of the Japanese cuisine; the fusion cuisine of Australia; the mystical Indian cuisine and the spiced dishes of Mexico from distant geographies. All of the delicate examples of the Mediterranean, Spanish and French dishes; and of course the fast food that has become indispensable all over the world.
The most stylish and distinguished restaurants of Istanbul are gathered in the Bosporus, Taksim, the districts famous with the luxurious shopping centers such as Nisantasi, Tesvikiye, Etiler and Levent. All of the specialized and high quality restaurants in the five star hotels of Istanbul also provide the examples of different cuisines.
Istanbul Food – The “Meyhane”s are the most typical examples of the restaurants peculiar to Istanbul. They present the most authentic entertainment in Istanbul with a rich selection of Turkish ‘mezes (Hors d’Oeuvres), in accompaniment with Turkish raki and live Turkish music. There are hundreds of kinds of mezes. Since they are generally vegetal and contain very little meat or fish, mezes can be good alternatives for the vegetarians. Although raki is the most consumed drink, Turkish wines and beers of good quality and all kind of important drinks are available.
Kebab, pide and lahmacun are very popular foods in the West, although they are originally the tastes of the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey. Hence, there are many kebab restaurants (kebapci) in many parts of Istanbul.
Istanbul Food – The Ottoman culture has originated, evolved and become famous with the cuisine and eating customs that are the most part of the culture, from the historical background going back to Asian Turks. Thus, the qualities of Ottoman cuisine must be evaluated by considering the variety coming from its cultural and historical background, the wealth brought by its geography and climate and finally the abundance coming from the sea.