I must agree with Mr. Süreya as almost everyone from Turkey does (at least I think so). Breakfast has a special meaning in Turkey. Learn everything you need to know about Turkish breakfast as a traveler and find out which 3 places are my top breakfast places in Istanbul.
Turks love to eat. This is no big secret. And they are lucky enough to have the perfect climate for growing delicious products that can make it to the table. And Turks are not the only one who love to eat. I love to eat when I travel. I love to try different food. And I always try to eat local food, so I can get to know a country. Every meal in Turkey is an event and sometimes can last for hours. It is a time to relax and enjoy in a company. The most important meal of the day is breakfast. Breakfast breaks the overnight fasting period, replenishes your supply of glucose and gives you energy.
Kahvalti = turkish word for breakfast
What is “kahvalti” ?
Literal translation of kahvalti is “before coffee”. Kahvalti is the first meal of the day that you eat before you drink coffee. Presentation is everything at a Turkish breakfast. It is a buffet style meal, based on the very familiar scene of a gathering of mezes. Kahvalti is the breakfast of champions. Even if you are not a morning person, you will be impressed by this celebration of food. There is nothing better than to sit outside and have your Turkish çay when the sun is shinning on your face and you are waiting for your food. You have to sit at a big table, because you will be served a mountain of food.
The basic elements of a Turkish breakfast are bread, butter, jams and preserves, honey, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheeses, yoghurt, fruit juices and Turkish tea. Most places across Turkey will add eggs (hard boiled, fried or as an omelette) to breakfast.
You may also find a “menemen” (Turkish scrambled egg, mixed with tomatoes, peppers and onions), “suçuk” (spicy sausage mixed with various spices, “gözleme”, pastries and “kavut” (a roasted and crushed cereal flour mixed with milk like a porridge).
One of my favourite thing about Turkish breakfast is tea. Strong freshly-brewed Turkish tea, served in a tulip-shaped glass that is filled up to the top. The good thing is that you get a loooot of tea and you can enjoy in your tea for so long.
Where to find the best Turkish breakfast in Istanbul?
You can enjoy a Turkish breakfast almost everywhere in Istanbul. Most of the cafes and restaurant serve breakfast. Get out of your hotel early morning and go to a neighborhood cafe or use you Istanbulkart and take a ride to get the best Turkish breakfast in Istanbul. You are gonna love it, but be prepared for a food coma.
I didn’t had a breakfast in Sultanahmet, as I prefer non-touristic places. But I believe that there are many good places to eat breakfast in Sultanahmet.
(by the way, you will find the best kofte in Sultanahmet)
#3: VAN KAHVALTI EVI
Address: Kilic Ali Pasa Mahallesi, Defterdar Yokusu, No: 52A, Cihangir
The restaurant has quickly become one of the area’s most popular. So don’t be surprised if you decide to come and you will find a queue outside Van Kahvalti Evi (specially on Saturdays and Sundays). People line up for Kurdish kahvalti – a set of tiny breakfast plates with white cheeses, butter fresh bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, honey, jams, eggs and even Nutella. Van Kahvalti Evi’s most popular item at breakfast is a small dish of clotted cream, known as kaymak.
You will pay 30TL per person for this Turkish piece of heaven. Totally worth it!
Van Kahvalti Evi’s set menu is inspired by the Kurdish “breakfast salons” of Van – a pretty, easterly city near the Turkish-Iranian border, from which the restaurant takes its name.
#2: NAMLI GURME
Address: Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Rıhtım Cad. Katotopark 1/1, Karaköy
The breakfast delights in Karaköy are something else. With so many attractive places spread throughout its pretty and narrow streets, Karaköy is one of the most loved breakfast routes in Istanbul. And there is also an umbrella street – one of the most instagrammable streets in Istanbul.
This restaurant has an interesting set-up. It’s basically a grocery store with a seating area right in the middle. The experience here is a bit different from other breakfast places I visited – you order at a counter filled with endless options behind a glass. I went for a traditional breakfast – cheese, meat, olives, fluffy bread, eggs, jam, butter, honey and of course, a cup of Turkish tea.
I highly recommend goind there, as the food is delicious, experience is unique and the price is not high at all (it depends on what you choose). It’s a great place to have breakfast in Istanbul.
#1: VELVET CAFÉ BALAT
Address: Balat Mah, Çimen Sk. No:8 , Balat (Fatih)
The majority of tourists never make it to this quarter in Istanbul, although Balat’s picturesque buildings and streets have made this neighbourhood a hotspot for locals from all across the city. Velvet Cafe is a reflection of Balat, where the city’s best vintage and antique dealers are located among old Greek houses. The decor inside is charming. It is a cozy place, decorated with some matching antique furniture. This place even has its secret garden. This place is a hidden gem! This is absolutely one of the breakfast places in Istanbul.
You can even select your own coffee cup from a bunch of antique ones. Some of these cups are up to 100 hundred years old. Do not leave this place if you haven’t tried their homemade juice or Turkish coffee.
Try their Turkish breakfast – every little bowl has a bursts of flavors. They will serve you fresh bread, simit, white cheese, green and black olives, peanut butter, different jams and spreads, butter, honey, walnuts, cucumbers, tomatoes, hard boiled egg and some sort of a fried bread. Delicious!
Price per 2 person: 80TL
Turkish breakfast is a perfect way to start the day. There is no need to wake up early, as they are not early birds and breakfast is served all day.
Where are your favourite breakfast places in Istanbul?