Where to eat cheaply in Istanbul: the 11 best budget restaurants

Istanbul, being one of the most visited cities in the world, is ready to offer its guests extensive gastronomic opportunities. The metropolis has thousands of restaurants, cafes and eateries, the prices of which differ significantly. But it would be a mistake to believe that all enterprises in tourist areas deliberately overstate the cost of dishes. In historical quarters there are a considerable number of cafes ready to pamper tourists with tasty, but at the same time cheap food. Having studied the restaurants of the city, we compiled a selection of the best institutions in the budget segment. And everyone who is interested in where to eat in Istanbul will find many inexpensive options in our article.

Tasty and not expensive food in Istanbul

Galata kitchen

Cafe Galata Kitchen

If you are looking for a cafe in Istanbul where you can eat cheaply, head to Galata Kitchen. This is a quiet and comfortable place, located far from the bustling central streets. The menu of the restaurant presents home cooking, there are many meat and vegetarian food. But the greatest variety you will find in Mesa, not to try which would be a mistake. “Meze” in Turkey is called various kinds of snacks, among which you can find both salads and sauces. It is noteworthy that in Galata Kitchen quite affordable prices, but the portions are very large. All snacks and main dishes are shown cooked in a display case, so you have the opportunity to immediately see what you order.

Breakfast at Galata Kitchen Cafe

Most diner visitors note the high quality of food: all products are fresh and tasty. A hearty lunch for two will cost you a lot: an average of 60 TL. Bread in any quantity is served free of charge, and at the end of the meal, the restaurant waiters treat guests with black Turkish tea. It is important that the Galata Kitchen staff speaks English very well.

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  • Address: Müeyyetzade. Mah., Tatar Beyi Sk. 9 B, 34425 Beyoğlu / İstanbul.
  • Opening hours: daily from 09:00 to 22:00. Sunday is a day off.

El Amed Terrace Restaurant

Bosphorus View

Update! As of November 2019, the restaurant is closed.

This is an inexpensive restaurant in Istanbul, where you can not only cheaply and tasty eat, but also enjoy picturesque views of the waters of the Bosphorus. The establishment occupies a terrace on the fourth floor, and to get here, you must use the old double elevator. The cafe specializes in grilled meat and fish food. Especially the place is famous for its signature kebab with pistachio dressing. Seafood is worth trying on the grilled sea bass. After you dine, the restaurant will treat you with black Turkish tea and delicious baklava as a compliment.

Grilled sea bass

At El Amed Terrace Restaurant, the prices are very reasonable. So, for lunch for two people you will pay an average of 70 TL. A big plus of the cafe is its pleasant atmosphere and friendly waiters. But there is also a clear drawback: in rainy and dank weather, eating here in a comfortable environment will definitely not succeed.

  • Address: Alemdar Mh., Nuru Osmaniye Cd. No: 3, 34110 Fatih / İstanbul.
  • Opening hours: from 10:00 to 23:30. Seven days a week.

See also: TOP 8 Istanbul restaurants overlooking the Bosphorus .

Velvet Cafe, Galata

Coffee cups

The food in Istanbul is diverse, which proves a miniature atmospheric cafe, which will be nice to drop by after an exhausting walk around the city. It is an inexpensive place where breakfast is served in the morning and fresh Turkish pastries and fruit desserts are served throughout the day. A feature of the establishment was a rich collection of coffee cups, both preserved from the Ottoman era and brought from other countries. The friendly owners of the cafeteria offer each visitor to choose from which cup he will enjoy the taste of Turkish coffee, which, by the way, is prepared here according to his own special recipe. You should try literally every dish here, but homemade baklava and halva, strawberry pudding and chocolate cake have a special taste.

Tea Party at Velvet Cafe, Galata

Prices at Velvet Cafe, Galata are moderate: the cost of pastries and desserts varies between 7-15 TL, and on average you can have a meal here for 30 TL for two. Distinctive features of the cafe were its unique interior and good-natured owners. But since the room is small, designed for a maximum of 20 visitors, sometimes you simply can’t find a free table here.

  • Address: Bereketzade Mahallesi, Büyük Hendek Cd., 34421 Beyoğlu / İstanbul.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday – from 10:00 to 20:30; Friday and Saturday – from 10:00 to 21:00. Monday is closed.

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Balkan lokantasi

Turkish Dining Room Balkan Lokantasi

If you are looking for a place to eat in Istanbul, check out the inexpensive Balkan Lokantasi. This is a standard Turkish dining room with a large selection of salads, soups, side dishes, meat dishes and desserts. Ready-made food is in the window, so you can immediately see what is available and make an order. There is no reason to expect any special gastronomy here, but we advise you to try lentil soup, the second of chickpeas, chicken and lamb. The food here is really cheap and tasty, and the portions are large. Together, you can eat on 25-30 TL. But there are two insignificant minuses in the dining room: there are always a lot of people here, and the staff speaks weak English.

  • Address: Hocapasa Mah. Hoca Pasa Sok. No: 12 | Fatih / İstanbul.
  • Opening hours: daily from 07:00 to 23:00.

Note: The Museum of Archeology in Istanbul – a collection of a million exhibits .

Ortaklar Kebap Lahmacun

Dinner at the Ortaklar Kebap Lahmacun Restaurant

For those who do not know where to eat in Istanbul in the Sultanahmet area, this restaurant will be a real discovery. Firstly, they cook delicious Turkish food here, and secondly, they offer it very cheaply. The menu in the restaurant is extensive, there are many meat dishes, soups, salads and fish. Definitely here you should try lahmajun and pide – the famous Ottoman cakes with minced meat, as well as lamb kebab and pomegranate juice. And although the cafe does not pamper with respectable interiors, its cheap menu is ready to overshadow any minor flaws. Nourishing for two is only 40 TL.

  • Address: Binbirdirek Mh., Peykhane Cd. No: 27, 34122 Fatih / İstanbul
  • Schedule: daily from 11:30 to 01:00. Seven days a week.

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Bilice kebap

The cost of food in Istanbul may vary depending on the institution, its location and the menu offered in it. And if you try, it is possible to find an inexpensive place specializing in the preparation of meat dishes. This is Bilice Kebap, where for a reasonable price you will be served mutton and beef in pita bread or in a plate of rice.

Kebab at Bilice Kebap Restaurant

The waiters bring a huge tray of snacks and a bottle of water to any kebab. And at the end of the meal, they will certainly treat you to tea. Be sure to try fresh meat kebabs and lamb ribs here. On average, you can eat in a diner for two for the amount of 55 TL, which is quite cheap for the tourist area of ​​Istanbul .

  • Address: Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, Asmalı Mescit Cd. No: 8, 34430 Beyoğlu / İstanbul.
  • Opening hours: open every day, seven days a week, from 10:00 to 02:00.

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This is another place in Istanbul where you can eat tasty and inexpensive. Turkish breakfast is served here in the morning, and cheap grilled dishes are served throughout the day. In addition to the standard meat menu, the restaurant also has an eggplant barbecue, which must be appreciated. The choice of food is rather modest, but it is tasty and served in large quantities. Fresh flat cakes and hot peppers are included with the order for free.

Breakfast at ZiyaBaba
Married couple managing ZiyaBaba

The diner is run by a married couple, who sometimes is not entirely hospitable, but the price-quality ratio is very fair. Together, you can eat tightly in a restaurant for 30-40 TL, and a big tasty breakfast will cost 50 TL, which is very cheap for the center of the metropolis.

  • Address: Küçük Ayasofya Mah, Kadırga Limanı Cd. No: 136, 34122 Fatih / İstanbul
  • Opening hours: daily from 08:30 to 22:30.

Tarihi cesme

If you are looking for an inexpensive venue in Istanbul where you can eat fish, head to Tarihi Cesme. And although the restaurant specializes not only in seafood, but also in meat, fish dishes here are tender, very tasty, and most importantly – cheap. We especially recommend tasting dorado, sea bass and shrimp with stewed vegetables. Well, for those who do not like fish, the menu offers several types of kebab, as well as pide and various soups. Finish your lunch with juicy baklava.

Grilled fish with vegetables
Restaurant Tarihi Cesme

On average, you will pay 50-60 TL for a hearty dinner for two in a restaurant, which is inexpensive for the center of Istanbul. Unlike most of the diners we describe, Tarihi Cesme serves alcoholic drinks. So, a glass of aromatic wine will cost you only 10 TL, and a beer in 15 TL. Separately, it is worth noting the work of the waiters, who are distinguished by their helpfulness and efficiency.

  • Address: Küçük Ayasofya Mh., Küçük Ayasofya Cami Sk. No: 1, 34122 Fatih / İstanbul
  • Opening hours: 12:00 – 00:00. Sunday from 12:00 to 22:30.

Hoca pasa pidecisi

This is a reasonably priced, good-value diner in Istanbul for a good meal. Her profile dish is a pide with various fillings. The menu offers a large selection of tortillas with toppings such as minced meat, egg, cheese, pieces of beef, etc. A particularly satisfying and tasty option is a pide with meat and melted cheese. An ideal drink for such a meal would be fresh Ayran. Water is served free of charge for any dish, as well as pickles from cucumbers and peppers.

Pide - Turkish boat-shaped bread cake dish

Pide is cheap here, but the cost of one portion depends on its size: the average bill for two with drinks will be 30-35 TL. An order at Hoca Pasa Pidecisi is delivered quite quickly: the maximum waiting time is 10 minutes. This is a really delicious and inexpensive street food option in Istanbul.

  • Address: Hoca Paşa Mahallesi, Ankara Caddesi & Hoca Paşa Sokak No: 11, 34110 Fatih / İstanbul.
  • Opening hours: daily from 11:00 to 21:00.


If you are wondering how much food costs in Istanbul in an inexpensive institution, then you will be surprised to learn that in the city it is quite possible to have a meal for 9-15 TL. Confirmation of this will be a small cafe Durumzade, where there is the opportunity to taste doner, kebab, liver and other delicious traditional street food in Turkey at an affordable price.

Durumzade Fast Food Pita Bread

This peculiar Turkish fast food offers meat and chicken in pita bread, which are quite satisfying and at the same time cheap, so be sure to appreciate their taste. Of the drinks in the assortment, only Ayran and Cola are presented. To eat here together, you will need an average of no more than 30 TL. The cafe is quite cramped with a minimum number of tables, but is suitable for anyone who wants a quick bite to eat.

  • Address: Hüseyinağa Mahallesi, Kamer Hatun Cd. 26 / A, 34435 Beyoğlu / İstanbul.
  • Hours: around the clock.
Sehzade cag kebap

On a small shopping street there is an inexpensive kebab Sehzade Cag Kebap – one of the best places to eat in Istanbul. The institution’s main product is lamb. Although the menu consists of only 7 items, in addition to meat, you can taste lentil soup, vegetable salad and creamy dessert. The meat dishes in the diner are served in the form of skewers on skewers along with freshly baked thin pita bread.

At the Sehzade Cag Kebap

Be sure to appreciate the juicy and delicate taste of mutton cooked on a spit. The portion is medium in size, but enough to eat. The service in the cafe is prompt, and the service itself is unobtrusive. It is noteworthy that visitors here have the opportunity to observe the whole process of cooking kebabs. Eating for two in a restaurant will be released at about 35-45 TL, and such a price for food in Istanbul is considered quite affordable.

Skewered Lamb at Sehzade Cag Kebap
  • Address: Hocapaşa Sokak No: 6 D: 4, 34110 Fatih / İstanbul.
  • Schedule: daily from 11:00 to 22:00. Sunday closed.

Now you know exactly where to eat in Istanbul. The options are diverse and, although each of them has some pros and cons, all the institutions described by us are one in one – they offer delicious food at a low cost. And these factors are key for thrifty travelers.

Video: Istanbul street food – what to try and prices.

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