Tradesmen restaurants are all about serving delicious, home-cooked meals in humble and down-to-earth venues that don’t hurt the budget.
Our eating habits have changed a lot in the past decade – we crave sushi, we buy avocado on a weekly basis, we go for desserts made with agave. You get the point. But there is something comforting about eating foods that we grew up with.
You can still stick to healthy options (although the not-so-healthy options are super tasty as well) and spend a meal returning to your roots at the best tradesmen restaurants in Istanbul.
Located in Üsküdar, Kanaat first opened up in 1933 and moved to its current location in 1955. It’s an iconic restaurant that draws in visitors from all around the city. Try the elbasan tava and the patlıcanlı pilav.
Opened up in 1919 by Yanyalı Fehmi Efendi and Bolulu Hüseyin Efendi, who was one of the cooks at the palace, this restaurant keeps true to its roots with a wide selection of Ottoman and Turkish dishes. Located right by Kadıköy Çarşı, it’s conveniently located for those coming from the European Side as well. Try their elbasan tava and beğendili kebap, and make sure you leave room for dessert.
Located inside the Grand Bazaar, this is great lunch spot if you’re touring the bazaar or are nearby. They serve around 20 dishes per day in their overly decorated venue befitting the feel of the bazaar.
Although not within the Grand Bazaar, Aslan is right by the Nuruosmaniye exit. Aslan has a relatively small space and there nearly 15 dishes per day. Unlike most tradesmen restaurants, Aslan serves seasonal fish.
A classic Beyoğlu spot, Lades offers soups, meat dishes, vegetables, salads, grilled dishes, zeytinyağlı dishes, and desserts. Try their tandır when you’re there and aim for a visit on Mondays and Thursdays if you want to have their döner. Call ahead if you want to learn what’s cooking that day.
This down-to-earth venue is quite busy during lunch on weekdays. Try the imam bayıldı.
An upscale version of the classic tradesmen restaurants, this Nişantaşı eatery has many regulars, some who are famous. Hünkar has been serving top-notch Turkish and Ottoman dishes since 1950, and although all their dishes are noteworthy, make sure you try the hünkar beğendi, su böreği, and irmik helvası.
Kanaat: Sultantepe, Selmani Pak Cd. No:9, Üsküdar; (0216) 341 5444
Yanyalı Fehmi: Osmanağa Mah. Yağlıkçı İsmail Sok. No:1, Kadıköy; (0216) 336 3333
Havuzlu: Gani Çelebi Sokak No. 3, Grand Bazaar; (0212) 527 3346
Aslan: Vezirhan Caddesi No. 70, Çemberlitaş; (0212) 513 7610
Lades: Katip Mustafa Çelebi, İstiklal Caddesi, Sadri Alışık Sokak 14/A, Beyoğlu; (0212) 251 3203
Şahin: Orhan Adli Apaydın Sokak No. 11, Beyoğlu; (0212) 244 2543
Hünkar: Mim Kemal Öke Cd. No:21, Nişantaşı; (0212) 225 4665