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5 Best Michelin Guide Restaurants in Istanbul To Try (With Video)

Do you want to try some of the best restaurants in the Istanbul Michelin Guide?

Istanbul, the city where East meets West, is not only a melting pot of cultures but also a haven for food lovers. From street food to fine dining, the city offers a gastronomic journey that is as diverse as its history.

Having dined at many Michelin restaurants like Alinea, n/naka, El Celler de Can Roca, Soil Athens and most Michelin-starred restaurants in Toronto, I was excited to explore Michelin dining experiences in Istanbul.

I tried Istanbul restaurants from all categories (Michelin Star, Green Star, Bib Gourmand and Michelin Recommended) and loved the fact that Turkish cuisine is very well-represented in the Michelin Guide culinary scene.

In this Istanbul food guide, we feature five Michelin Guide restaurants that you must try, which are among some of the best restaurants in Turkey.


Istanbul Best Michelin Guide Restaurants - Turkey Restaurant Guide on Travelling Foodie

Istanbul Michelin Guide

The Michelin Guide Istanbul 2023 made its debut in October 2022, recognizing 53 restaurants with 1 Two Michelin Star, 4 One Michelin Star, 10 Bib Gourmands and 1 Green Star.

In the latest 2024 edition of the Michelin Guide, which expanded to include İzmir and Bodrum, a total of 77 Istanbul restaurants were recommended in the guide, including:

  • 1 Two Michelin Star restaurant
  • 6 One Michelin Star restaurants
  • 18 Bib Gourmand restaurants
  • 2 Green Star restaurants

The Michelin rating is awarded to restaurants based on anonymous dining experiences by the Michelin inspectors:

  • One Michelin Star: High quality cooking, worth a stop!
  • Two Michelin Stars: Excellent cooking, worth a detour!
  • Three Michelin Stars: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey!
  • Green Stars: Awarded to restaurants in recognition for their leadership in sustainable gastronomy.
  • Bib Gourmand: Great food at reasonable prices.
  • Recommended: Sign of a chef using quality ingredients that are well cooked; simply a good meal.

2 Michelin Star Restaurants in Istanbul

Turk Fatih Tutak

From chef-owner Fatih Tutak’s namesake restaurant, Turk Fatih Tutak is not only the world’s first two Michelin Star Turkish restaurant but is also the only two Michelin Star restaurant in Turkey.

Located in Bomonti neighborhood inside the Now Bomonti building, this World’s 50Best Discovery restaurant helped shine a spotlight on Turkish cuisine as a fine dining experience through modern twists that embody a clear understanding of Turkish produce and cooking techniques.

I highly recommend the Chefs Table at this tasting menu-only restaurant. You’ll get front row seats of the kitchen in action as courses are served to you from the pass with culinary director chef Ogün Koca making sure each dish is coming out perfect.

Vegetable Course with Red Wine at Istanbul Michelin Star Restaurant, Turk Fatih Tutak
Eggplant Borek

Plus, the wine pairing is carefully curated to showcase Turkish wines along with some international wines. Don’t sleep on their cocktails which are crafted with products from different terroirs based on the 7 geographical regions of Turkey.

An experience at Turk Fatih Tutak includes a Sweet End, a surprise way to end your tasting menu that I’ve never had in other Michelin restaurants before.

Favourite dishes at Turk Fatih Tutak:

  • Eggplant Borek, TT Selection Caviar, Burnt Yoghurt
  • Thracian Lamb Baklava, Potato, Buffalo Milk
  • Egg, Sepet Cheese, Matsutake Mushroom
Watch the video for full Chefs Table tasting menu with wine pairing, behind-the-scenes with chefs and the Sweet Ending at Turk Fatih Tutak

Website // Address: Cumhuriyet Hacıahmet Silahşör Cad, Cumhuriyet, Yeniyol Sk. No:2, 34440 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkiye


1 Michelin Star Restaurants in Istanbul

Neolokal

Located in Galata region, Neolokal specializes in modern Anatolian cuisine by chef-owner Maksut Askar, inspired by mother earth and modelled and designed from traditions including recipes from his mother.

Neolokal is the only Michelin Star restaurant in Turkey to have a Green Star, by working with producers and farmers that practice clean, fair and traditional methods, collaborating with a kitchen garden and using kitchen waste as fertilizer.

Being inside the Salt Galata building, this World’s 50Best Discovery restaurant has breathtaking views of the Golden Horn with its floor-to-ceiling windows.

Fish Course at Istanbul Michelin Star and Green Star Restaurant, Neolokal
Bonito

Neolokal is one of the few tasting menu-only and Michelin restaurants in Istanbul that has different menus that captures most dietary restrictions/allergies. Aside from the main neolokal Tasting Menu, this fine dining restaurant also offers a Vegetarian Tasting Menu, and a Gluten, Lactose, Nut Free Tasting Menu.

Favorite dishes at Neolokal:

  • Morel Dumpling – mushroom sauce and emulsion, sauteed morel, isot oil.
  • Slow Cooked Lamb – meatball and ‘kokoreç’, sweet bean ‘piyaz’
  • Bonito – olive oil-braised spotless black-eyed pea ‘pilaki’ with tarragon, fish sauce
Watch the video for the full Neolokal tasting menu experience

Website // Address: Azapkapı, Mahı, Bankalar Cd. No:11, 34420, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye


Istanbul Michelin Bib Gourmand Restaurants

Alaf

Located in the Kuruçeşme neighborhood, Alaf is a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant by Chef Deniz Temel, specializing in nomadic Anatolian cuisine offering both ala carte and tasting menu options.

As a Bib Gourmand, this World’s 50Best Discovery restaurant is a great way to have a Michelin fine dining experience at a reasonable price.

I highly recommend doing the tasting menu at Alaf to get the whole Anatolian culinary journey, where you’ll get to enjoy some courses that are interpretations of traditional dishes and some using ingredients produced by Anatolian farmers combining both terroir and technique.

Dried Pepper Dessert at Istanbul Michelin Bib Gourmand Restaurant Alaf Kurucesme
Kale Pepper from Denizli

Plus, their unique wine pairing matches courses with wines grown only in Anatolian lands.

Favorite dishes at Alaf:

  • Lokma, goat butter from Nomads, 9 month aged pottery cheese, dried meat
  • Aegean, the food of the Balkans, Istanbul “Kokoreç”
  • Kale Pepper from Denizli, dried and stuffed with chocolate ganache and served with Tire/Izmir black mulberry sauce
Watch the video for the full Alaf tasting menu with wine pairing experience

Website // Address: Kuruçeşme, Kuruçeşme Cd. No:19, 34345 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Türkiye


Istanbul Michelin Recommend Restaurants

Matbah Restaurant

Located in Sultanahmet district in Istanbul, Matbah Restaurant is a Michelin Recommended restaurant specializing in Ottoman Palace Cuisine. Being inside the Ottoman Hotel Imperial, you’ll want to dine by the window to enjoy beautiful views.

Out of all the Michelin restaurants in Istanbul, Matbah Restaurant is the best place to enjoy authentic traditional Ottoman food like the Sultans did, with both ala carte and tasting menu offerings.

Ottoman Palace food at Michelin Recommended Matbah Restaurant inside Ottoman Hotel Imperial Istanbul
On the table:
– Vişneli Yaprak Sarma / Stuffed Vine Leaves With Sour Cherries (1844)
– Babaganus / Baba Ganoush (1469)
– Ballı Gemici Böreği / Sailor’s Roll With Honey (15th c./yy)
– Hassa Böreği / Hassa Pastry (1473)
– Nar Ekşili Çoban Salatası / Shepherd’s Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
– Bostan Patlıcanında Reyhanlı Bıldırcın / Quail in Garden Eggplant with Basil Sauce (17th c./yy)
– Beğendili Kuzu İncik / Lamb Shank with “Begendi” (1463)
– Bal Helvası / Honey Halva (15th c./yy)
– Helatiye (15th c./yy)
– Baklava (14th c./yy)

At the helm of Matbah Restaurant is Chef Kadir Yilmaz who uses cooking methods and recipes from various Ottoman recipe cookbooks like Fatih Devri Yemekleri (for Fatih food) and even the very first cookbook about Ottoman cuisine.

I highly recommend ordering the iconic Ottoman Palace foods that you typically can’t find in other restaurants so you can get a unique taste of Turkish history. Favorite dishes at Matbah Restaurant:

  • Kirde Kebab – roasted beef tenderloin with yogurt and vegetables on crispy dough
  • Ballı Gemici Böreği / Sailor’s Roll With Honey
  • Beğendili Kuzu İncik / Lamb Shank with “Begendi”
Watch the video for the dining experience at Matbah including behind-the-scenes cooking demonstration with Chef Kadir Yilmaz

Website // Address: Cankurtaran, Caferiye Sk. No:6 D:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye

Tugra Restaurant

Located along the Bosphorus, Tugra Restaurant is a Michelin Recommended restaurant specializing in modern Ottoman and Turkish food and cuisine.

What makes this fine dining restaurant so unique? It is the only restaurant in Istanbul where you can dine like a Sultan.

Tugra Restaurant is inside the only Ottoman imperial palace and hotel in Istanbul, Ciragan Palace Kimpenski, with views of the Bosphorus Strait. And they even serve dishes using the original palace cutlery.

Pastry Appetizer at Michelin Recommended Tugra Restaurant inside Ciragan Palace Kimpenski Istanbul
Sweetbread

I highly recommend doing the weekly Chef’s Tasting Menu which brings you on a culinary journey curated by Chef Emre Inanir.

Favorite dishes at Tugra Restaurant:

  • Sweetbread – baklava dough, mallow and sweetbread cream
  • Otlu Occe – vegetable pate with broad beans “Bodrum Fava”, fresh herbs, green apple seasoning
  • Bosphorus Bluefish – slow cooked fennel, crispy chard, cherry puree and tahini sauce
Watch the video for the full Chef’s Weekly tasting menu experience and behind-the-scenes with Chef Emre Inanir

Website // Address: Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel, Yıldız, Ciragan Caddesi 32, Çiragan Cd, 34349 Besiktas/Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Türkiye


Map: Istanbul Michelin Restaurants

Here’s a map of the Michelin Guide restaurants in Istanbul featured in this article.


It’s always hard to decide where to eat in a city, and we hope this Istanbul guide gave you an idea on which Michelin restaurants to try!

Each of these restaurants offers a unique dining experience that reflects the rich culinary heritage of Istanbul and is among the best restaurants in Turkey.

We’re always looking for more recommendations for our next visit so please let us know what you find are the best Michelin Guide restaurants in Istanbul.


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