Istanbul’s Taksim Square boasts a wide variety of excellent eateries. However, with only four nights in the city, we had limited time to explore them all. Many of our dining choices came from watching the Istanbul episode of Anthony Bourdain’s ‘No Reservations’. Several of our top recommendations are conveniently located on or around İstiklal Caddesi, the main pedestrian street that connects Taksim Square with the area around the Galata Tower.

Where to Eat

Kızılkayalar Hamburgers

Kızılkayalar Hamburgers is a small kiosk among a row of street-side fast food joints, serving up delicious and inexpensive ‘soggy burgers’ and döner. Arriving late on our first night, we found this local gem perfect for a quick, flavorful meal. The burger is more bun than meat but packs a punch with spices and flavors that make it incredibly addictive. We enjoyed it so much that we returned multiple times during our visit. The total for several burgers, a chicken döner, and drinks was about €6 (20 TL). Kızılkayalar is located at Siraselviler Avenue No. 2, near Taksim Square.


Dürümzade is a grillroom at the edge of a gritty neighborhood, famous for its grilled flatbread wraps called dürüm. The secret to their taste is in the flatbread, which soaks up the spicy drippings from the meats and is then grilled with the meat over open flames. The menu is straightforward: choose your meat (chicken, beef, lamb, liver) and portion size (single or double kebab), served with parsley, onions, and tomatoes. Wrapped neatly in a plastic sleeve to contain the juices, the dürüm is a must-try. We couldn’t resist ordering seconds. Our meal, which included two single dürüm, one double, and three drinks, came to around €9 (28 TL). Dürümzade is located at Hüseyinağa Mh., 34435 Beyoğlu/Istanbul, about a 15-minute walk from Taksim Square.

Latife Hanım Meyhanesi

For a more upscale dining experience, Latife Hanım Meyhanesi offers a diverse selection of mezze (small portions of fish, meats, and vegetables, similar to Spanish tapas or Venetian cicchetti). Choose from a large platter presented by the waiter and pay for what you take. We enjoyed dishes like pickled sardines, stuffed peppers, goat cheese, olives, and peppered yogurt. Pair your meal with Turkish raki, a traditional anise-flavored alcoholic beverage. Though pricier, the food and service are excellent. The restaurant is located at Bekar Sokağı, No: 22/A, Beyoğlu, just steps from İstiklal Caddesi and about 5 minutes from Taksim.


Mado is a classy ice cream parlor and confectionary, popular with locals and regional travelers. Their display cases are filled with Turkish Delight (Lokum), trays of baklava, and towers of pistachio desserts. We savored a piece of their shredded wheat dessert with pistachio filling, a scoop of dense goat’s milk ice cream, and a strong cup of Turkish coffee. Mado has several locations, but this one is on İstiklal Caddesi, about 10 minutes from Taksim Square.


Featured on Bourdain’s ‘No Reservations’, Tatbak is known for its lahmacun, a Turkish pizza topped with minced meat, lemon, and parsley. We paired ours with a fresh salad of tomatoes, onions, and pickled peppers, and an order of yogurtlu kebap (lamb kebab served on warm bread with yogurt and tomato sauce). While the meal and service were satisfactory, it didn’t blow us away. Tatbak is located at Akkavak Sokak 28/a, Nişantaşı, north of Taksim Square, a 10-minute walk from the Osmanbey Metro station (Line M2).

Where to Sleep

Taksim Life Hotel

Taksim Life Hotel offers clean, comfortable rooms at reasonable rates, located just off Taksim Square. It’s a short walk to most of the eateries listed here and conveniently close to the Metro/Funicular. The hotel provides easy access to public transportation and the airport shuttle bus terminal. Taksim Life Hotel is located at Şehit Muhtar Cad. Anar Çeşmesi Sok. No:13.

Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, Taksim Square has plenty to offer. Enjoy your culinary adventures and restful nights in Istanbul!

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