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!
Tea is always served with breakfast. Kaymak…a delicious clotted cream is also served, often with honey or jam and fresh bread.
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!
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.
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.
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! )
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
Timaci Sokak No3…just off Galip Dede Cd near the Galata Tower,
Bookings can be made Tel:+90 212 293 2055
Van Kahvaltı Evi (Van Breakfast House)
Defterdar Yokuşu 52/A,
Breakfast is served all day…come and join the queue!
Mumcu Bakkal Sk No:5,
Open daily from 8am – 3pm
Where do you go for your favourite Turkish breakfast in Istanbul?
An Introduction to Istanbul for the First Time Visitor
Your Guide to Istanbul: What to do
Rüstem Pasha: My Favourite Mosque in Istanbul
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