Top 5 Restaurants for Fine Dining in Istanbul

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Hey fellow food enthusiasts! If you’re like me and have an insatiable appetite for culinary adventures, then you’re in for a treat. Having lived in Istanbul for over 5 years, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring the city’s vibrant food scene, particularly its fine dining offerings. So, without further ado, let me take you on a gastronomic journey through the top 5 restaurants for fine dining in Istanbul.

Fine Dining in Istanbul

Fine dining restaurants in Istanbul often boast luxurious and sophisticated settings, ranging from historic mansions overlooking the Bosphorus to rooftop terraces with panoramic views of the city skyline. These elegant surroundings contribute to the overall dining experience, creating an atmosphere of refinement and indulgence.

What is more is the influence of Turkish food culture on fine dining in Istanbul. Turkish cuisine is renowned for its use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and fine dining restaurants in Istanbul take full advantage of this bounty. Chefs often work closely with local farmers and producers to procure the highest quality meats, seafood, fruits, and vegetables, ensuring that each dish is bursting with flavor and authenticity.

Here are the top restaurants I recommend for fine dining in Istanbul:

1. Mikla

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istanbul dining

Nestled atop the iconic Marmara Pera Hotel, Mikla offers a fusion of modern Scandinavian and traditional Anatolian flavors, curated by the renowned chef Mehmet Gürs. With its panoramic views of the city and exquisite dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients, Mikla stands out as one of the best restaurants in Istanbul for those seeking an elevated dining experience.

At the heart of Mikla’s culinary philosophy lies a profound respect for the bounty of Anatolian land, sea, and sky. Chef Mehmet Gürs expertly crafts each dish with a meticulous attention to detail, sourcing only the finest locally grown produce, freshest seafood, and succulent meats.

My dining experience at Mikla was nothing short of extraordinary, a culinary odyssey that left me inspired and satiated. To kick off the evening, I was presented with a tantalizing amuse-bouche, a bite-sized teaser that set the stage for the culinary adventure to come.

Moving on to the appetizers, I indulged in a selection of small plates bursting with vibrant flavors and creative presentations. One standout was the “Manti” Dumplings, a modern interpretation of the traditional Anatolian dish. For the main course, I had Lamb Shank, slow-cooked to perfection. It was served with creamy Turkish bulgur pilaf and roasted seasonal vegetables.

2. 360 Istanbul

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True to its name, 360 Istanbul provides diners with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city skyline, including iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. This restaurant seamlessly combines its mesmerizing setting with a menu featuring Mediterranean and Turkish cuisines, making it a must-visit destination for anyone wondering where to eat in Istanbul.

For the main course, I opted for a classic Turkish favorite: lamb kebab. The dish featured tender chunks of marinated lamb, skewered and grilled to juicy perfection, served atop a bed of fluffy rice pilaf and accompanied by charred vegetables. If you are a vegetarian, they also have splendid vegetarian options on the menu, such as risotto and rigatoni.

To round off the dining experience in true Turkish fashion, I savored a cup of traditional Turkish coffee, rich and aromatic with a hint of cardamom. Sipping on the velvety brew while taking in the stunning views of Istanbul’s skyline was the perfect way to conclude an unforgettable evening at 360 Istanbul.

3. Ulus 29

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Situated in a historic mansion overlooking the Bosphorus, Ulus 29 exudes elegance and sophistication. Its menu showcases a delightful blend of international and Turkish dishes, prepared with precision and finesse. Whether you’re dining indoors surrounded by opulent decor or outdoors on the terrace enjoying the gentle breeze, Ulus 29 promises an unforgettable dining experience.

In Ulus 29, I tried a perfectly grilled fillet of sea bass, served with a luscious lemon butter sauce. I must tell you, the tender fish, infused with smoky charred flavors, pairs beautifully with the bright acidity of the lemon sauce. It is a dish that is both elegant and satisfying.

4. Nicole


Tucked away in the heart of Istanbul’s historic district, Nicole offers a culinary journey inspired by Turkish and Mediterranean flavors. Helmed by chef Aylin Yazıcıoğlu, this Michelin-starred gem delights diners with its innovative dishes and impeccable service. For those seeking Istanbul fine dining restaurants that combine tradition with innovation, Nicole is a perfect choice.

I started my meal with a classic Turkish meze, stuffed vine leaves filled with a savory mixture of rice, herbs, and spices. Served with a dollop of creamy yogurt sauce, this dish was a refreshing and flavorful way to awaken my taste buds. I also tried the seafood risotto, a decadent dish featuring a creamy risotto studded with tender shrimp, scallops, and calamari.

5. Zuma Istanbul


Our final destination in our fine dining journey in Istanbul is the wonderful Zuma Istanbul! For lovers of Japanese cuisine, Zuma Istanbul presents a unique dining experience where tradition meets contemporary flair. Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Ortaköy, Zuma delights patrons with its upscale atmosphere and an array of meticulously crafted dishes, including sushi, sashimi, and robata grill specialties.

I had the wagyu beef tataki, featuring thinly sliced wagyu beef seared to perfection and served with a tangy ponzu sauce. The richness of the beef was complemented by the acidity of the ponzu, creating a harmonious balance of flavors that danced on my palate with each bite.

To round off my meal on a sweet note, you indulged in a decadent matcha green tea tiramisu. The creamy dessert was infused with the earthy flavors of matcha and layered with delicate sponge cake. It was a dessert that was both elegant and indulgent.

FAQ about Fine Dining in Istanbul

What is the average price of dinner in Istanbul?

The average price of dinner in Istanbul can vary depending on several factors, including the type of restaurant, its location, the dishes ordered, and the level of service provided. However, as of my last update, you can expect to pay anywhere from 200 to 500 Turkish Lira per person for a meal at a mid-range restaurant in Istanbul.

How many fine dining restaurants are in Istanbul?

Istanbul boasts a thriving culinary scene with a diverse array of fine dining establishments to satisfy even the most discerning palates. While precise numbers may fluctuate over time due to new openings and closures, it’s estimated that there are dozens of fine dining restaurants scattered throughout the city.

What is the meaning of fine dining?

Fine dining typically refers to a high-end dining experience characterized by several key elements. These include upscale ambiance and decor, attentive and formal service, high-quality ingredients, expertly prepared and presented dishes, and often a higher price point compared to casual dining establishments.

Does Istanbul have any Michelin star restaurants?

Nicole and Mikla have 2 Michelin stars.

Do you tip in Istanbul?

Yes, tipping is customary in Istanbul, as it is in many parts of Turkey. While it’s not mandatory, it is appreciated and considered a gesture of gratitude for good service. In restaurants, a tip of around 5-10% of the total bill is common, although you can adjust this based on the level of service you received and your satisfaction with the experience.

Thanks for coming with me on this journey! Now it is your time to get out and try these amazing fine dining places in Istanbul for yourself!

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