15 Best Cafes in Istanbul: A Blend of Tradition and Innovation

 In Cafes, Food, Istanbul, places to eat, Travel, Turkey

Istanbul is the original home of the world’s first coffee shop which opened in the 16th century. You may wonder, with so many incredible things to do in Istanbul, why waste your holiday time sipping coffee in one of the city’s many cafes?

Well spending time in Istanbul’s cafes is a good way to get under the skin of this huge diverse city as locals do. Sit back and observe people discussing business deals over Turkish coffee, friends socialising, students with their noses buried deep in textbooks, and couples canoodling. This is your chance to just soak up the rhythms of the city.  Many places to visit in Istanbul are located extremely close to each other and easily accessible from the best cafes in Istanbul.

The coffee shops in Istanbul come in all shapes and sizes, you’ll find charming cafes located in historical houses or converted from stations, cafes furnished with antiques, mismatched furniture, and paintings. You will find sleek and minimalist cafes with laptop charging points and expert baristas who approach the art of coffee making as though it’s a science experiment, sitting beside simple tea houses frequented by old men playing backgammon.

Our list of the best cafes in Istanbul has something for everyone. Whether you are a digital nomad looking to combine productivity with good coffee or a photographer on the hunt for the best views of the city, we have got you covered with Turkey Tour Packages!

Top 15 best cafes in Istanbul

  • Pierre Loti Hill Cafe
  • Cuma Cafe
  • Ara cafe
  • Dem Karakoy
  • Akali cafe
  • Mandabatmaz, Istiklal Caddesi 
  • Velvet Cafe, Balat
  • Siete Cafe & Art Studio
  • Sirin Firin, Galata
  • Minoa Akaretler, Beşiktaş
  • Cafe Naftalin K, Balat
  • Nevmekan Baglarbasi, Uskudar
  • Fahriye Cafe, Moda, Kadikoy
  • Buyuk Valide Han, Grand Bazaar 
  • Bohem’s Coffee, Harbiye

1. Pierre Loti Hill Cafe


This famous cafe in Istanbul has been named after the well-known French novelist Pierre Loti who was a big fan of the city and resided here for many years. The café offers a stunning picturesque view of the famous Golden Horns. 

The recommendations from the café menu are their freshly brewed Turkish coffee, their dark chocolate ice cream, and the snacks are also available at very pocket-friendly prices. 

You can also take a cable car ride to reach the café while enjoying the views. The cafe is also one of the best cafes in Istanbul for couples as it happens to be a meeting point for the love birds.

Location: Eyupsultan, Istanbul

Timings: 11 AM to 8 PM, closed on Sundays

2. Cuma Cafe


If you are one of those travellers who want to relish authentic Turkish food then you must visit the very famous Cuma café in the city. The café is located just a hundred metres from author Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence and has both a vintage-themed restaurant and an open terrace café and is one of the best cafes in Istanbul.

Sitting on the terrace, you can enjoy stunning views and a tropical feel due to the fresh breeze around. The people working in the café give you a very homely feel and the menu of the café is majorly filled with authentic Turkish cuisine. So the next time you are in the city, you must visit this café to satisfy your taste buds.

Location: Beyoglu, Istanbul

Timings: 9 AM to 12 AM

Suggested read: Places to visit in Turkey

3. Ara Cafe


This café will make your Istanbul experience even more memorable. This cafe is located near Galatasaray High School, on a dead-end street just behind the Yapi Kredi Cultural Center. Their menu has mouthwatering dishes from international cuisines like the Balkan meatballs, falafel plate, and çökertme kebab. 

The spot is a food heaven for buffet lovers as it hosts a sumptuous Buffet breakfast every Sunday. Secretly situated almost on Istiklal Street away from its hustle and bustle, it’s one of the best cafes in Istanbul for people who love secret places hidden in the middle of famous locations.

Location: Beyoglu, Istanbul

Timings: 9 AM to 11:30 PM

4. Dem Karakoy


Located in one of the best neighbourhoods of Istanbul, Karaköy, Dem is pretty famous amongst tea lovers as they sell 60 different varieties of tea. If you, too, are someone who is strongly addicted to tea, you must visit this café to taste a variety of white, green, oolong, black, smoked, and fermented teas from their menu.

They have a unique concept of “tea-smelling” sessions. The different specimens of teas are brought to your table, after smelling their fragrance and getting the complete information about them. you can finally choose which one you want to try. 

Along with different varieties of teas, they have a lip-smacking menu of breakfast dishes like simit and white cheese, menemen (eggs with vegetables), and börek varieties. So on your next trip to the city, surely visit this cafe. 

Location: Beyoglu, Istanbul

Timings: 9 AM to 11 PM

5. Akali Cafe

Image source: Tripadvisor

This café is a great place for all those who want to enjoy a relaxing time while sipping on some coffee. This quiet little café is hidden on a street side in the mostly residential Beşiktaş neighbourhood. 

While enjoying your coffee don’t forget to try your hands on their sandwiches made with artisan bread as well as their excellent croissants and cakes. This is the best cafe in Istanbul to enjoy your holiday while hanging out with friends.

Location: Beşiktaş, Istanbul

Timings: 12 PM to 12 AM

6. Mandabatmaz, Istiklal Caddesi


Situated on a steep side street in Iskitlal Caddesi, this cafe has a reputation for serving the best Turkish coffee in Istanbul and is one of the authentic coffeehouses in the city. Mandabatmaz first opened in 1967 and the focus from the beginning was to offer its customers delicious Turkish coffee. 

The original cafe is tiny, featuring a few wooden benches and decorated with old newspaper articles, a portrait of Ataturk, and various paintings of Istanbul, this could be any Turkish cornerstone. Mandabatmaz has expanded to include a larger modern cafe.

Location: Beyoglu, Istanbul

Timings: 9:30 AM to 12 AM

7. Velvet Cafe, Balat


Velvet Cafe is one of the best cafes in Istanbul situated in the gorgeous area of the Balat. The cafe features a beautiful garden terrace, decorated with dark mahogany furniture and mismatched antiques. It is one of the cutest cafes in Istanbul, Turkey.

One of the best things about this cafe is that one of the exposed brick walls is decorated with multiple shells of antique traditional Turkish coffee cups. If you ordered a classic Turkish coffee you can select one of these lovely cups to have your coffee in.

Velvet Cafe also has a fabulous menu that offers a variety of breakfast and lunch dishes. There are also many other light snacks and mouth watering homemade desserts such as orange cake, banana pudding, lattice fruit tart, Borek, and wraps.

Although Turkish coffee is delicious here, the star of the show is Reyhan Sherbat. Made with purple basil leaves, this pretty pink drink is extremely tasty and super refreshing in the summer.

Location: Fatih, Istanbul

Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM, closed on Monday & Friday

8. Siete Cafe & Art Studio


If you’re looking for a nice offbeat cafe in Istanbul look no further than Siete Cafe, located between Kurtulus and Ferikoy. Housed in a historic building owned by the Gormezano family since 1919. This cafe speaks to Istanbul’s diversity, history, and cultural heritage. 

‘Siete’ actually means seven in Ladino/Judeo Spanish, the language of Sephardic Jews, and refers to the fact that the building has seven floors and is also located at door number 7.  

Siete serves some of the tastiest and best quality coffee Istanbul has to offer but the star of the show here is their lunch and dessert menu, which features homemade family recipes. Cinnamon buns and chocolate brownies with sour cherries or walnuts. The homemade quiche has the perfect balance between flaky shortcrust pastry and a yummy filling is a must-try when you visit here. 

Location: Ferikoy, Sisli, Istanbul

Timings: 11 AM to 11 PM

9. Sirin Firin, Galata

Image source: Daily Sabah

Giving out a Parisian vibe, this cafe is located on the corporate side street leading up to the Galata Tower and is considered to be one of the top 10 coffee shops in Istanbul. 

One of the best bakeries in Istanbul, Sirin Firin offers a wide range of mouth watering sweets and savoury baked goods from the simple Simit to San Sebastián cheesecakes, lemon tarts, baklava, sandwiches, quiches and croissants. 

However, the baked goods are not the only attraction at this cafe because this coffee House has the best view of the Galata Tower and is one of the top photography spots in Istanbul

Location: Beyoglu, Istanbul

Timings: 6 AM to 12 AM

10. Minoa Akaretler, Beşiktaş


It is the best cafe in Istanbul for book lovers. First opened in 2014 and located in the Akaretler area of Beşiktaş, Minoa is an independent bookstore and cafe. Read across three floors, Minoa has over 60,000 English and Turkish books covering all interests like art, literature, cooking, politics, and more.

The cafe area of the store is also surrounded by books. You can either sit inside or in the small outside area at the front of the store. It is quite a stunning cafe. You will notice that books are displayed in all sorts of ingenious ways, from book chandeliers to lampshades. We would recommend trying their sandwiches and falafel panini. It is one of the most Instagrammable cafes in Istanbul.

Location: Beşiktaş, Istanbul 

Timings: 8 AM to 1 AM

11. Cafe Naftalin K, Balat


It is a slightly eccentric cafe with quirky decor and a unique food and drink menu. The cafe is decorated with vintage treasures, you will see old telephones, biscuit tins, soda bottles, books, and even many classic cars. The tables are decorated with colourful crochet clothes, the entrance to the toilet is through a bright orange retro fridge door and the menus are gorgeously handwritten and designed to look like antique airmail letters.

It is the best cafe in Istanbul for regional coffee specialties. You can sample generic coffee and Syriac-style coffee with cardamom. All these coffees hail from south-eastern Turkey and are served with sugar-coated almonds, which is a traditional sweet from this region. Cafe Naftalin also serves nice light meals for breakfast and lunch. There are some great vegetarian and vegan options on the menu too.

Location: Fatih, Istanbul

Timings: 9 AM to 9 PM

12. Nevmekan Baglarbasi, Üsküdar


Located on the Asian side of Istanbul Uskudar, Nevmekan Baglarbasi is housed in a converted former IETT tram hangar and garage and features a cafe, library, art gallery, and stage. The building retains some of the features from its former days which is you will see the original red metal beams under the roof. 

This cafe has a very reasonable price on the menu. The menu has decent options for vegetarians. Don’t forget to try their pizza and falafel burger.

Location: Uskudar, Istanbul

Timings: 10 AM to 11 PM

13. Fahriye Cafe, Moda, Kadikoy


It is situated on the Asian side of the country. It is one of the best cafes in Istanbul on the Asian side and a lovely place to work. It is surrounded by various antique knick knacks and stuffed bookshelves. 

The cafe is known for its homemade desserts. You must try their brownies and the carrot cake but more importantly, their Fahriye cookies, made with chocolate, hazelnut, and coffee, they are made to order and served hot. The staff is also very friendly and happy to serve generous mugs of tea with a side of milk.

Location: Kadikoy, Istanbul

Timings: 9 AM to 12 AM

14. Buyuk Valide Han, Grand Bazaar


It is one of the best rooftop cafes in Istanbul which is hidden in the warren-like back streets near Grand Bazaar. Buyuk Valide Han is in the 17th century and used to be home to workshops, where houses, shops, and restaurants. Recently, it has become Instagram’s most famous best cafés in Istanbul with a view of the Bosphorus.

The cafe inside Buyuk Valide Han is decorated in a slightly haphazard way which adds to its beauty. There are paintings scattered everywhere, colourful shirts, dresses, and leather satchels hang from the walls, old telephones sit on the table and there is a gramophone in the corner.

The view from the window is incredible. You can see over the rooftops and the most towards the water in the other direction of Galata Tower. It is undoubtedly one of the best cafes in Istanbul with a view of the Bosphorus.

Location: Fatih, Istanbul

Timings: 9 AM to 7 PM

15. Bohem’s Coffee, Harbiye


Situated on the ground floor of a gorgeous historic apartment building, Bohem’s serves some of the best specialty coffee in Istanbul. Decorated with antiques, Bohem’s has a museum-like atmosphere that points to its unique history. The apartment building was constructed by Dr Arif Pasa, grandson of Ekda sarica Pasa who was the last Ottoman place doctor. 

We recommend trying their Raspberry Mocha which is a perfect blend of chocolate and coffee with raspberries in it. The menu also includes a Spanish latte, turmeric and cinnamon latte, and zebra mocha. That regular coffee is also fantastic.

Location: Sisli, Istanbul

Timings: 8 AM to 10 PM

What are some must-visit cafes in Istanbul?

The best cafes in Istanbul are Pierre Loti Hill Cafe, Cuma café, Mandabatmaz Iskitlal Caddesi, and Cafe Naftalin.

Which cafes in Istanbul offer the best views of the city?

Buyuk Valide Han, Le Fumoir, and 360 Istanbul offer the best views of the city. 

What are the opening hours of cafes in Istanbul?

Generally, cafes in Istanbul are open from around 8 AM till Midnight. 

Which cafes in Istanbul are popular among locals?

Sirin Firin, Siete Cafe, and Cafe Privato are popular among locals.

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