Breakfast in Istanbul

In a city where every meal counts, breakfast is definitely not one to miss in Istanbul!

It wasn’t often that we just grabbed a simit from one of the local vendors in the street or a fresh squeezed juice choosing instead to either indulge in a plate of delicious menemen with tea, kaymak, bread and jam or my favourite, the village breakfast or köy kahvaltısı (köy means village and kahvaltısı is Turkish for breakfast)

Menemen is a breakfast dish made of eggs, peppers, tomato, onion and spices…a turkish scramble eggs if you like! Sucuk, a spicy sausage or thinly sliced dried cured beef called pastirma can also be added.

Staying in Cihanger we were spoilt for choice but we always enjoyed the menemen at Özkonak, the local pudding shop! Yes, they are known for their puddings especially their Tavuk Gögsü…chicken breast pudding which is a Turkish speciality but their menemen was excellent!


Village Breakfast- Menemen at Özkonak in Cihanger

Menemen at Özkonak in Cihanger


Tea is always served with breakfast. Kaymak…a delicious clotted cream is also served, often with honey or jam and fresh bread.

Kaymak, jam and tea at Özaturk in Cihanger

Kaymak, jam and tea at Özaturk in Cihanger


Enjoying a Turkish village breakfast is a must in Turkey.
Based on the village breakfasts from Eastern Turkey, the breakfast varies from cafe to cafe but the idea remains the same. One after the other, plates come to the table until there is no more room. As soon as you clear a plate another will take its place!

Village Breakfast at Cafe Privato

The Village Breakfast at Cafe Privato


Black and green olives, an assortment of fresh cheese, tomato and cucumber salad, honey and plates of simply cooked fruit to be used as jams are core items. There is always an egg dish of either menemen, a hard boiled egg or an omelette. At Cafe Privato, near the Galata Tower, Georgian pancakes, spinach and cheese gozleme and fried haloumi cheese were served.


Village Breakfast- Cafe Privato

Village Breakfast at Cafe Privato


The view of Galata Tower from the tables at the back of Cafe Privato

The view of Galata Tower from the tables at the back of Cafe Privato


At Van Kahvaltı Evi (“Van Breakfast House”) in Cihangir, we also had a wonderful herb cheese, kavut…a delicious roasted flour mixed with walnuts and honey, a selection of pastes including a sensational tahini mixed with walnuts and pekmiz or grape molasses. The kaymak and honey from the town of Van that is served here is delicious too. 

Village Breakfast- Van Kahvaltı Evi in Cihanger

Village Breakfast at Van Kahvaltı Evi in Cihanger


Speaking of kaymak, once you taste it, you won’t be able to to stop eating it.
One of the best is found at Pando Kaymak in Beşiktaş….it’s worth the trip to this small shop for their kaymak and honey. The fried eggs with sucuk aren’t bad either!

(And just over the road is an very good doner kebab place with the largest doner you will ever see! )

Pando Kaymak in Beşiktaş

Pando Kaymak in Beşiktaş

In Istanbul, meeting for a lazy Turkish breakfast is popular on the weekend. The Turks are late rises so there’s no need to go early unless you want to beat the queues but the good news is that the village breakfasts are served all day! 


Where to go:
Özkonak: The Real Pudding Shop
Akarsu Caddesi 48/B
Open everyday 7am – 10pm

Cafe Privato
Timaci Sokak No3…just off Galip Dede Cd near the Galata Tower,
Bookings can be made Tel:+90 212 293 2055
Cafe Privato

Van Kahvaltı Evi (Van Breakfast House)
Defterdar Yokuşu 52/A,
Breakfast is served all day…come and join the queue!

Pandos Kaymak
Mumcu Bakkal Sk No:5,
Open daily from 8am – 3pm 


Where do you go for your favourite Turkish breakfast in Istanbul?


Related Articles
An Introduction to Istanbul for the First Time Visitor
Your Guide to Istanbul: What to do
Rüstem Pasha: My Favourite Mosque in Istanbul
Pickle Heaven in Istanbul


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29 Responses to Breakfast in Istanbul

  1. Gayla March 8, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    We’ve just booked our trip to Istanbul for this month. I can’t believe I’m actually going!! Now I get busy with research of where to eat. This post comes at the perfect time. Thank you, Jenny!

    • Jenny Freedman March 8, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

      That’s fantastic Gayla. You are going to love Istanbul. Part 1 & 2 of my Guide to Istanbul are on the blog but the all important food post is a couple of weeks away.When will you be there?

  2. Shing March 8, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    A Turkish village breakfast looks and sounds divine! I love the look of a table when it’s crammed full of food, it always reminds me of family gatherings or celebrations.

    • Jenny Freedman March 8, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

      That’s a great point about family gatherings and celebrations Shing. There were six of us (four bloggers!) at breakfast celebrating being in Istanbul at the same time!

  3. Krista March 8, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    I am in absolute awe, Jenny. 🙂 WOW!! So much deliciousness, so many choices, so much beauty. 🙂

    • Jenny Freedman March 8, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

      It’s quite a breakfast Krista…and believe it or not, we managed to eat most of it! Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day!

  4. Linda ~ Journey Jottings March 8, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    I love Turkish food at the best of times, but that photo of the Village Breakfast at Cafe Privato absolutely caps it ~
    Delicious dish after delicious dish 🙂
    What a superb selection!

    • Jenny Freedman March 8, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

      It is quite a breakfast Linda. We loved trying different ones throughout our time in Turkey especially when we were in the small villages of Central Anatolia.

  5. budget jan March 9, 2014 at 7:34 am #

    What a useful post Jenny. It is always nice to start exploring with a few recommendations up your sleeve. These all look wonderful. Cafe Privato is a favourite with us as well and that view of Galata is so unexpected. I’d like to try the biggest Doner 🙂

    • Jenny Freedman March 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

      We had a fabulous breakfast at Cafe Privato didn’t we Jan! The other places I mention are also fabulous…including the doner kebab place!!

  6. Jo March 9, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    Another wonderful resource for my upcoming visit to Istanbul, Jenny. For those who haven’t experienced it, the Village Breakfast at Cafe Privato is not to be missed! I’m staying near the Galata Tower for precisely that reason!

    • Jenny Freedman March 11, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

      I’m very envious that you will be going back to Cafe Privato Jo. You’ll love staying in the area around The Galata’s so central!

  7. Johanna March 9, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    Likewise, another great resource for our upcoming visit to Istanbul too. I’m definitely going to be on the look out for Cafe Privato because that is my kind of breakfast for sure! But I think, judging by your photos, that we are going to be bowled over by the food in Turkey. Can’t wait. Thanks for another informative post, Jenny!

    • Jenny Freedman March 11, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

      You’ll have a fabulous time trying all the food in Turkey Jo. What ever you do, don’t miss breakfast!

  8. Debra Kolkka March 9, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    Those breakfasts make me want to go to Turkey right now. I am in Helsinki where the breakfasts are wonderful too.

    • Jenny Freedman March 11, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

      I must put Helsinki on my wish list Debra! If the breakfasts are anything like the village breakfasts, I’ll be in heaven!

  9. Katie Featherstone March 9, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    Your photos really do make the food look very appetising. Just trying to decide what to have for breakfast now!

    • Jenny Freedman March 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

      Thanks Katie. I was feeling like you are just after I wrote this posts, so I had to go and make some menemen!

  10. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot March 10, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Gosh that food looks fantastic. What a feast they served at Cafe Privato!

    • Jenny Freedman March 10, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

      The village breakfasts anywhere are like a feast Annabel…so many dishes! It’s definitely something not to be missed in Turkey

  11. Michael March 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    I didn’t try these places and I spend a lot of time in Istanbul. My preference as well would be the village breakfast. It is like a celebration, everyone sitting around and chatting. Good memories for me

    • Jenny Freedman March 10, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

      You’ll have to try them when you’re next in Istanbul Mike…they are certainly great spots. So true…the village breakfast is like a celebration. One I could have every day!

  12. Joy @My Traveling Joys March 11, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    Oh how i miss Turkish breakfasts! Can’t wait to be back in the ‘bul in about 3 weeks! Kale Cafe and Sutas in Rumeli/Emirgan were always 2 of my favs too! 🙂

    • Jenny Freedman March 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Lucky you being back in Istanbul so soon Joy. I was trying to get to Kale Cafe but we ran out of time. I’ll definitely try your recommendations when we’re next in Istanbul.

  13. Heather March 13, 2014 at 6:29 am #

    Gosh this looks good! I love a culture that gives breakfast its proper due. I’ve never been a coffee and croissant kind of girl 🙂

    • Jenny Freedman March 14, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      This is definitely the country to visit for fabulous breakfasts Heather! No coffee and croissants here though the occasional simit is great!

  14. Sonia June 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Loved your post! Breakfast spread in Istanbul was the best. Amongst the few cities in the world that can keep vegetarians satiated and happy!

    Here is a link to my blog:

    • Jenny Freedman June 14, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

      Thanks Sonia. Breakfast in Istanbul is definitely one of the highlights!

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