You can tour the world on a plate without burning a hole in your pocket in Istanbul. Let’s explore Istanbul’s vibrant tapestry of tastes through its affordable eateries, from the historic Sultanahmet to the buzzing Taksim Square. Let your taste buds do the walk and embark on this gastronomic voyage, experiencing the best cheap eats in Istanbul.

Sultanahmet: Where the past meets the palate

Venture into the heart of Istanbul’s historic district, Sultanahmet. At Havuzlu Restaurant, Fatih, nestled within the Grand Bazaar, dine like the Sultans on authentic Ottoman-Turkish dishes priced affordably around 20 TL per person. The nearby Sultanahmet Köftecisi offers its signature köfte, a symphony of flavours at only 15 TL. If seafood is more to your taste, make a beeline for the floating restaurant Tarihi Eminönü Balık Ekmek on Galata Bridge, serving up delectable grilled mackerel sandwiches at an inviting 15 TL.

Sadri Alışık Sokak: Breakfast of champions

A short walk from Sultanahmet, Sadri Alışık Sokak Street is home to Lades Menemen, famed for their sumptuous menemen, a breakfast delight priced between 15-20 TL.

Beşiktaş Bazaar: The carnivore’s corner

A meat-lovers paradise, Karadeniz Pide ve Döner Salonu (Asım Usta’s) at Beşiktaş Bazaar is the go-to place for a mouth-watering meat döner served in lavash or pita bread, priced between 16-24 TL.

Taksim Square: Street food heaven

At the heart of Istanbul, Taksim Square hosts Kizilkayalar for a quick ıslak hamburger, a treat at just 5.75 TL. While in Taksim, don’t miss Şampiyon Kokoreç’s traditional kokoreç, a Turkish delight made with grilled sheep or lamb intestines, for just 20 TL.

Offbeat locations: Hidden treasures

Off the beaten path, you’ll discover some charming dining options. Resto Ethnica offers a delightful dining experience, while the Pier Cafe Restaurant is a perfect blend of tempting food and stunning views. Seher Restaurant is a haven for food enthusiasts exploring Turkish cuisine, and the HafIz Mustafa 1864 Pera will satiate your sweet tooth with traditional desserts.

Street Foods you shouldn’t miss

Istanbul’s culinary scene boasts a plethora of street food options. Do try the grilled fish sandwich, balık ekmek, the vegan-friendly çiğ köfte, lahmacun or Turkish pizza, kumpir or jacket potato, pide or Turkish flatbread, the protein-packed tavuk döner dürüm or chicken döner wrap, haşlanmış ve közde mısır or boiled and grilled sweetcorn, traditional pastries simit, açma, and börek, tavuk pilav or chicken and rice, and sweet treats like halka tatlısı and tulumba.

Culinary Istanbul adventure

Istanbul is a city that beckons you to savour the local cuisine. This guide to the city’s best cheap eats offers a passport to a world of flavours, extending far beyond Istanbul’s breathtaking architecture and rich history. Venture off the beaten track to these culinary landmarks and immerse yourself in Istanbul’s vibrant food culture.