Cost of Food in Istanbul

Real Cost of Eating Out in Istanbul as of 2020

Turkish Cuisine is one 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 travelling 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.

Written by emreozmen

Blogger, traveller, car and aviation enthusiast living in Istanbul. Writing about automobiles on otomobiltavsiyesi.com and about Istanbul on 10thingstodoinistanbul.com

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