Best Restaurants for Ramadan in Istanbul
Much like the Christmas parties back home, restaurants in Istanbul capitalise greatly on Ramadan feasts. Most offer special fixed menus which include appetisers, a main course, dessert, fruit, water, soft drinks, tea and coffee (no alcohol, of course!).
In Feshane and Beyazıt, the Istanbul Municipality has organised a festival-style atmosphere with food stalls and tents and nightly entertainment. However, if you’re after something a bit heartier, head to one of the many Istanbul restaurants offering special menus over Ramadan. Whether you’re fasting or not, a chance to indulge in a true Turkish feast should never be passed up! Below is a list of my top five picks for best restaurants for different budgets and locations during the Islamic holy month. Reservations are advised as many of the tables get booked up well in advance.
Once an unassuming kebab shop, this small chain of restaurants over on the Asian side has evolved into one of the most talked about names in Turkish (and international) culinary circles. The focus of Çiya is on experimental cuisine, taking traditional regional tastes and fusing them to create mind-blowingly delicious dishes. Though popular year-round, Çiya’s fixed İftar menu attracts food appreciators from far and wide.
Offering a tempting array of traditional Turkish dishes done to perfection, Kanaat in Üsküdar has been in business for decades. The décor may be on the simple side, but the food is nothing short of spectacular. Diners can choose from the a-la-cart menu or head to the large food counters and point at whatever takes their fancy.
Situated right on the harbour in Karaköy, Liman is something of an Istanbul institution. This historic restaurant offers a different set menu for each week of Ramadan, featuring soup, pastries, a main dish, dessert and drinks.
One of Istanbul’s only true Ottoman palace cuisine restaurant, Asitane continues to wow food critics the world over. Thanks to intensive research, the restaurant’s dishes are based on centuries-old recipes developed by imperial chefs. This elegant eatery is perched above the Golden Horn and has a beautiful garden from which to enjoy the dedicated İftar fixed menu. Reservations can be made online.
Çıragan Palace Kempinski
There aren’t many times in life one can say they’ve feasted at an old Ottoman palace on the banks of the Bosphorus. Istanbul’s Çırağan Palace Kempinski offers just that opportunity, with a truly gourmet fixed menu offered during the month of Ramadan. The spectacular food and breathtaking views are complemented by live Turkish classical music, providing that extra touch of elegance.
Afiyet Olsun! (Bon Appetit!)