Cost of Food in Istanbul

Turkish Cuisine is often regarded as one of the greatest cuisines in the world. Although the Turkish Cuisine is mainly known for it’s kebabs and baklava across the world, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Variety and richness of the Turkish Cuisine can only be understood by traveling across Turkey and Istanbul is the melting pot for all of the delicious cuisines of different regions in Turkey.

During your stay in Istanbul, eating out will be one of the best pleasures of your holiday. You will have a chance to taste different kinds of kebabs, mezes, vegetable and meat dishes, sea food, pastries, desserts and drinks.

In this article, we will give you the most up to date information about;

  1. Street food prices in Istanbul
  2. Prices at fast food restaurants in Istanbul
  3. Prices at casual dining restaurants in Istanbul
  4. Prices at fine dining restaurants in Istanbul
  5. Average cost of Traditional Turkish Breakfast
  6. Prices at cafes and bakeries in Istanbul
  7. Prices at seafood restaurants in Istanbul
  8. Alcohol prices in Istanbul
  9. Supermarket prices in Istanbul and
  10. Tipping in Istanbul

1) Street Food Prices in Istanbul

Turkish style street food including doner kebab, kokorec, pilav, simit and midye dolma
Döner Kebab, Kokoreç, Corn, Stuffed Mussel, Rice with Chicken and Simit. These are some of the most popular street food in Istanbul.

Istanbul has wide range of street foods that you can taste during your stay which can help you stay on budget. From döner kebab to fish sandwich, Istanbul’s street foods are not only cheap but they are also very tasty, healthy and filling. Here are the prices of some of the most popular street foods in Istanbul:

  • Döner Kebab: Between 10 to 20 Lira for a sandwich or wrap
  • Dürüm (Kebab Wraps): 15 to 25 Turkish Lira
  • Fish Sandwich:10 to 15 Turkish Lira
  • Kokoreç: 15 to 20 Turkish Lira
  • Simit: 1-2 Turkish Lira
  • Rice with Chicken: 6 to 10 Lira
  • Kumpir (Baked Potato): 25-30 Lira
  • Midye Dolma (Stuffed Mussel): 1-2 TL for a piece
  • Corn and Roasted Chesnuts: 5 TL for a boiled/grilled corn and 10 TL per 100 gram of chesnuts
  • Fruit Juices: 5-10 Lira
  • Ice Cream: 5-8 Lira per scoop

2) Prices at Fast Food Restaurants in Istanbul

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You can find hundreds of Turkish Style fast food restaurants in Turkey, in addition to most of the well known western fast food restaurant chains. Average price for a combo-meal menu in fast food restaurant is between 15 to 30 Turkish Lira’s depending on what you choose. Here are some of the popular fast food meals in Istanbul and their prices:

  • Köfte: Grilled Meatball plate with rice, french fries and grilled vegetables is around 20-30 TL in fast food type of restaurants. If you choose sandwich instead of serving, the cost would be around 10-15 Liras.
  • Dürüm: Different types of dürüms (aka wraps) costs between  15-25 Liras in fast food type of small kebab restaurants.
  • Lahmacun and Pide: Lahmacun and pide are one of the most popular comfort foods in Turkey. Although there are many different types of lahmacuns pides across different regions, the ones that you will see in fast food restraurants will cost around 5-8 Turkish Lira.
  • Börek: Börek is a very famous pastry in Turkey and in the Balkans which is usually eaten for breakfast. One serving of Turkish style Börek costs around 5 to 8 Turkish Liras.
  • Çiğ Köfte: Çiğ Köfte literally means “raw meatballs” in Turkish. However, most of thousands of small stores in Istanbul are serving vegeterian style Çiğ Köfte made of wheats and spices. It’s a popular snack and a fast food in Turkey. You can get a çiğ köfte wrap for 5 liras and servings for 1 person costs around 10 liras.
  • Mc Donald’s, Burger King, KFC and Others: Combo meals in famous fast food chains cost between 15-30 Liras in Turkey.

3) Prices at Casual Dining Restaurants in Istanbul

View from the terrace of the Hamdi Restaurant in Istanbul Eminönü
View from the Hamdi Restaurant – Eminönü, Istanbul (Click onimage to enlarge)

Casual dining restaurants in Istanbul are usually located in shopping malls or central locations of the city. These restaurants offer better service, more variety of food and cozy atmosphere compared to a regular kebab restaurants that you will see in Istanbul most of the time. If you are a tourist you get a great value for your money  thanks to the exchange rate of Turkish Lira and moderately-priced meals.

Across Istanbul, you can expect to pay between 40 to 80Turkish Lira’s per person for a really good meal in a casual dining restaurant. If you go to one of the fancy restaurants, cost per person might even reach to the level of around 100 Lira. Beverages prices in casual dining restaurants are around 10 Liras for soft drinks, 30 liras for beers and 50-60 liras for a glass of wine.

The good news, no matter where you choose, you will most propably eat very fresh and delicious foods for a fraction of the cost that you would pay in another European city.

4) Prices at Fine Dining Restaurants in Istanbul

Interior of the Fine Dining Restaurant St Regis Brasserie in Istanbul
St Regis Brasserie, Istanbul (Click onimage to enlarge)

Istanbul’s thrilling culinary scene is undoubtedly one of the best in the world. You can feast like an Ottoman Sultan with traditional Turkish delicacies or try the best examples of international cuisines cooked by world famous chefs. There are many fine dining restaurants in Istanbul offering superb Bosphorus views that will make your dinner an unforgettable experience. Some restaurants even have terraces and rooftops to make sure their guests are having a pleasant time in all seasons.

To give you an idea, price of the 3 Course à la Carte Menu in Mikla Restaurant, which is listed as one of the world’s 50 best restaurants, is 385 TL. Tasting Menu in the same restaurant is 525 TL
and  6 Glasses of Matching Beverages are 395 TL. Service charge is not included in these prices and you can expect to pay more or less similar prices at different fine dining restaurants in Istanbul.

5) Average Cost of Traditional Turkish Breakfast

Full Turkish Breakfast Menu with tea at Mado restaurant
Typical Turkish Breakfast example from the menu of famous restaurant chain called MADO. (Click onimage to enlarge)

Typical Turkish breakfast consists of couple types of olives and cheese, sliced tomato and cucember, jams, honey, boiled/baked eggs, bread or pastries and warm glass of Turkish tea. Sucuk and Menemen are two of the most popular and delicious side dishes that are usually eaten in the weekends at breakfast.

Serving breakfast and brunch is big business for many restaurants in Istanbul. Most of the restaurants near the Bosphorus  offer brunches in the weekends where tables are filled with a spread of fresh and delicious dishes. If you would like to try full Turkish breakfast, the price will be around 60 to 100 TL for 2 person. You can also choose to eat a breakfast platter for single person, which costs around 20-25 TL. Depending on the place you choose, the price might go up.

6) Prices at Cafes and Bakeries in Istanbul

Istanbul is full of Cafes and Bakeries where you can try dozens of delicious desserts and pastries. Usually, most of the cafes and bakeries in Istanbul offer traditional Turkish pastries and desserts in additon to popular western delicacies such as tiramisu, profiterole, croissants  and cakes.

Whether you choose traditional Turkish desserts or western desserts, price of a dessert in Istanbul would cost between 15 to 30 TL per serving. Pastries are usually starts from 2 TL and can go up to 15 lira depending on what you choose. When it comes to hot beverages, Turkish coffee is a must try in Istanbul which would cost you around 10-15 TL. Selection of other tea and coffee options are usually priced between 5 to 10 TL.

7) Prices at Seafood Restaurants in Istanbul

As a country surrounded by sea from 3 sides, Turkey has variety of seafood dishes which is very fresh and affordable. Every year, fishing season in Turkey starts on 1st of September and ends on 15th of April. This period is the best time to eat seafood in Turkey thanks to the abundance of fresh and cheap fish.

During fishing season, price of a plate of fresh seafood would cost you around 60 to 100 TL per person without drinks. Hot  and cold appetizers and mezes are usually priced around 20 to 40 TL.

8) Alcohol Prices in Istanbul

people are drinking alcohol in a bar with barrel tables

Alcohol is usually overpriced in most of the Turkish restaurants and bars due to the high taxes and regulation on alcohol. To give you an idea, we created the list below which is showing the average alcohol prices in Istanbul in middle and upper-middle class restaurants and bars. Of course you can always find cheaper or more expensive alternatives depending on where you are dining

  • Beer: 33 cl beer is around 30 TL in bars and restaurants
  • Raki: A glass of Raki would cost you around 50 TL while 70 cl bottle is around 300 TL
  • Spirits: A glass of spirit starts from 50 TL and might go up to 80 TL while 70cl bottles are above 400TL on average in most of the casual/fine dining restaurants.
  • Wine: You can find Turkish wines starting from 150 TL per 75cl bottle. French and Italian wines would cost you around 400 TL per bottle on avarage.
  • Coctails and Liqueurs: A glass of coctail or liqueur is around 50-60 TL on average.

9) Supermarket Prices in Istanbul

Cost of groceries might differ based on where you are shopping in Istanbul. However, since Turkey is one of the biggest producers of agricultural goods in the world, cost of groceries are very affordable to most of the tourists visiting Turkey. We made a shopping list for you with basic foods in order to give you an idea about cost of living in Turkey:

  • 1 liter of Milk – 5 TL
  • 1 Liter of Extra virgin olive oil – 35 to 50 Lira
  • Loaf of bread – 1,5 to 2 TL
  • 10 Eggs – 8 to 10 TL
  • 500g of local Cheese – 25 to 30 TL
  • 1 kg of Yogurt – 8 to 12 TL
  • 1 kg Chicken breast – 25 TL
  • 1 kg Ground beef – 40-50 TL
  • 1 kg of Rice – 8 to10 TL
  • 1 kg of Pasta – 6 to 8 TL
  • 1 kg of Apples – 5 TL
  • 1 kg of Tomatoes – 4 to 6 TL
  • 1 kg of Potatoes – 2,5 TL

10) Tipping at Restaurants in Turkey

In most of the restaurants in Turkey, tipping is not obligatory. If you didn’t receive a good service, you don’t have to tip at all. However, customers and especially the tourists are expected to tip around 10% of the total bill. Some of the fine dining restaurants include a service fee on the bill which is also around 10% of the bill.

 

Real Turkish Bath Experience in Istanbul

A trip to Istabul is never complete without a Turkish Bath experience. Even though many civiliziations in history had public bathing culture, none of them have become as popular as Turkish Baths. This is due to the fact the Turkish Bath experience has some unique rituals and it plays an important role in Turkish culture. In the old times, all the neighbourhoods had their own hamams which served as a meeting place for locals to partake in conversation along with bathing and massage experience.

Today, the Hamams are not used very often by the public as they were used to be. They have become some kind of health centers where you can go to relax your mind and body. Turkish Bath experience is a very popular touristic activity for many tourists who come to Turkey. In this article, we listed the best Turkish Baths in Istanbul where you can experience the relaxing effects of a hamam and get over your jet lag.

1) The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam


As you may guess from it’s name, The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam is located next to the famous Hagia Sophia. It was designed and built by the chief architect of the Ottoman Empire, Mimar Sinan in the year 1556 by the order of Hürrem Sultan, the wife of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. With over 450 years of history, the building itself is a tourist attraction. Thanks to it’s location, The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam is one of the most popular Turkish Baths among tourists visiting Istanbul.

The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam offers a luxurious hamam experience in a very clean environment. Specially produced soaps, top quality towels and gold coated bath bowls are provided by the establisment. The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam has both men and women sections which are located seperately. They offer different package options from a classic body scrubbing and bubble wash on the marble stone to full body and aromatherapy massages. You can follow this link to see their price list and find out the location of the hamam.

2) Cağaloğlu Hamam

The Cagaloglu Hamam is located in the historic peninsula of Istanbul, within the Fatih district. The hamam building was built in the year 1741 and it’s very close to the Sultanahmet area. It’s one of the famous and oldest hamams in the city which is still operating. Throughout the history, Cağaloğlu Hamam hosted many leaders, famous businessman and celebrities including; Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Harrison Ford, Cameron Diaz, Oprah Winfrey, Chevy Chase, Kate Moss and George Soros. The Cağaloğlu Hamam building has  been used as a filming location for many movies as well.

The Cağaloğlu Hamam offers different packages from self service bathing to full body Ottoman massage and skin therapy. Visitors can refresh themselves with special shampoos, hair creams, body lotions and olive oil soaps with exotic scents. After a refreshing hamam session, they can enjoy a warm cup of Turkish tea or a cold homemade sherbet together with delicious Turkish delights. You can follow this link to find out more about Cagaloglu Hamam.

3) Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam

Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam was constructed in between 1578-1583, by the order of famous Ottoman Admiral Kılıç Ali Paşa, in order to serve the marine forces in the Ottoman navy. The Hamam is part of a building complex which also includes a mosque and a school.

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Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam is located in the Tophane quarter in Beyoğlu district of Istanbul. It’s very close to the famous Karaköy quarter and the seaport where cruise ships dock.

In addition to the standart hamam ritual with bubble wash, they offer additional services such as: full body massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, partial-body massage, foot and lower leg massage. To check out ther price list and other useful information, you can follow this link.

4) Çemberlitaş Hamam

The Çemberlitaş Hamam is located on Çemberlitaş Square in Fatih district of Istanbul, where it’s named after. It was built next to the famous monumental column “Çemberlitaş Obelisk”. It is a 57 meters high column which was unearthed from the Apollo Temple in Rome and brought to Constantinople by the Byzantine Emperor Constantin I.

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Çemberlitaş Hamam was built by the chief architect of the Ottoman Empire, Mimar Sinan in the year 1584, by the order of Nurbanu Sultan, wife of Selim II and mother of Murat III. The purpose of building the Çemberlitaş hamam was to crete an income source for the Atik Valide Mosque and the charity complex attached to it.

Çemberlitaş Hamam consist of 2 identical building facilities which are being used as man and women baths. Visitors can enjoy self service bath near the marble basins after a relaxing lay down on the marble stone. Additional services and packages are also offered by the Çemberlitaş Hamam such as; scrubbing, bubble bath, sultan’s bath, aromatherapy oil massage and clay mask. To find our more information about their services performed by expert attendants, you can follow this link.

5) Süleymaniye Hamam

Süleymaniye Hamam is another Turkish Bath in our list which was built by Mimar Sinan. Sülaymaniye Hamam is part of the Süleymaniye Mosque complex which is one of the most visited touristic sites in Istanbul. It was opened in 1557 and still in use.

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Unlike many other hamams in Istanbul, Süleymaniye Hamam serves both man and women visitors at the same time without seperate sections. Only couples are accepted to the Süleymaniye Hamam and therefore most of the customers are tourists.

The entire hamam experience in Süleymaniye Hamam takes about 60 to 90 minutes. They offer washing, peeling and massage services. The place is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m to  10 p.m. but the last entrance is at 8 p.m. If you would like to find out more about Süleymaniye Hamam, click here to see their website.

6) Ağa Hamam

Ağa Hamam (Ağa Hamamı in Turkish) is the oldest Turkish Bath in Istanbul, which was built in 1454, after the conquest of Istanbul. Although most of the Turkish Baths in Istanbul were built as public buildings, Ağa Hamam was one of the Hamams which served only to Sultans and their families. Mehmed the Conqueror built this building near Beyoğlu as a hunting house, together with it’s Turkish bath. The Ağa Hamam was used by the Ottoman Sultans until the last years of the Empire. In 1844, during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecid, the Hamam underwent a major renovation.

Today, the Ağa Hamam is in service of only the tourists who would like to experience an authentic Turkish Bath. It is a mixed Hamam, which means that couples can enjoy a relaxing session together. Ağa Hamam offers 3 different packages; traditional package, massage package and massage package with face mask. All three of them includes bubble wash and scrubbing services. To check out their price list, you can click here to reach their website.

7) Galatasaray Hamam

Galatasaray Hamam was built as part of the Galatasaray Külliye together with the several other buildings in the complex in 1481. The hamam is located behind the famous Galatasaray Lycee on the İstiklal Avenue.

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Thanks to it’s unique atmosphere, it has been used as a filming location for many movies and song clips. Like other Turkish Baths in our list, Galatasaray Hamam offers different services to it’s visitors. It has both man and women sections located seperately. To find out more about the Galatasaray Hamam, you can follow this link.

8) Historic Vezneciler Hamam

Vezneciler Hamam Lobby and Interior
The lobby and the interior of the Historic Vezneciler Hamam

The Historic Vezneciler Hamam was built in 1481 by the Ottoman Sultan Beyazid II. It is the first and only Hamam that was built on the second floor. It’s located in the Fatih District of Istanbul, which is inside the historic peninsula. It’s believed that the healing water in the bath and sauna, is good for jaundice.

Like the Süleymaniye Hamam and Ağa Hamam, Vezneciler Hamam is also operating as a mixed hamam, serving man and women visitors at the same time. There are 3 different packages offered in Vezneciler Hamam. The bathing experience takes about 60 to 110 minutes depending on the package you choose. You can click here to find out more about their services and prices.