That Istanbul is a city of visual and cultural delights comes as news to no one. Every year, the largest city in Turkey brings thousands of visitors flocking to its Byzantine churches and triumphant mosques.
Still more come for the night-life, from ultra-hip cocktail clubs to traditional taverns serving raki. Many enjoy the lifestyle so much they decide to stay. But whether yours is a fleeting visit or the love affair of a lifetime, all that sight-seeing and revelry is hungry work. Those hoping to feast like sultans the morning after a big night will not be disappointed by the selection of breakfast menus here.
If you’re after a traditional Turkish breakfast, you’ll be literally spoiled for choice if you go for the numerous buffet options. Set prices that won’t break the budget often come with stunning surroundings, thanks to places like Hidiv Kasri, both restaurant and landmark, situated on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. A towering Ottoman relic and previous home to Egyptian Governors of old, the breakfast spreads here run to around sixty items, including a mixture of fresh fruits, olives, cheeses, eggs and pastries. Similar feasts can be had at Malta Koshu in Yildiz Park.
Sundays often find classic Turkish restaurants serving special brunches and one such establishment is Laledan, within the Ciragan Palace. This is top-notch fare, with hot and cold dishes of the restaurant’s speciality fish and sushi served, along with sweeter options. It won’t be the cheapest of meals but the service and riverside views are worth a one-off visit, if nothing else.
Those who like their eggs will be in for a treat at Lades 2, a breakfast joint with a traditional feel in Beyoglu. You can eat the first meal of the day whenever you like here and scrambled dishes like menemen are accompanied by sucuuk or pastirma as you would expect, but the standards are high and the egg is very much the star of the show.
Some days you can’t beat a hankering for home food, and it’s one these days you should head towards Molly’s Cafe near the Galata Tower. Maple syrup on pancakes, Tabasco sauce on your morning burritos; the selection of North American classics is done to perfection here and without emptying your wallet either. If you’re finding the general lack of bacon in the city distressing, pop down to the Kirinit diner and enjoy your rashers outdoors in the picturesque Nisantasi neighbourhood.
Anyone lingering in the Turkish metropolis for more than a day will come to realise that, in addition to its visual and cultural splendour, it’s a city of edible delights as well. From breaking fast in an elegant former palace to enjoying Findilki Park or Pierre Loti Hill with a simit in your hand, once you’ve eaten your first breakfast in Istanbul, it will be a difficult culinary experience to top.