Lahmacun is composed of two Arabic origin words that mean “meat” and “kneaded dough”. Lahmacun is made of kneaded dough to keep the dough thin. Lahmacun is a round, thin piece of dough topped with minced meat, minced vegetables, and herbs. Different lahmacun recipes from the eastern provinces of Turkey are represented at the best lahmacun places in Istanbul.
When it comes to eating out for Istanbulites, the dishes that come to mind are kebab, kokorec and lahmacun. While the famous lahmacun places of Istanbul serve only lahmacun, some kebab restaurants can also have very good lahmacun.
Best Places to Eat Lahmacun in Istanbul
The best places to eat lahmacun in Istanbul are generally located in historical districts. Among these, Fatih (the old city covering Sultanahmet and its surroundings), Beyoglu (Taksim) and Kadikoy (Asian Side) stand out.
These districts, which reflect the cosmopolitan food culture of Istanbul, are also among the most important stops of Istanbul street food tours. If you are interested in Istanbul’s street food, you can also find articles about doner, Turkish kebab, kokorec and Turkish desserts on this site.
1. Borsam Tasfirin
Borsam Tasfirin was founded on the Asian side of Istanbul in 1968 and you can find lahmacun and pide cooked in a wood fire here. Borsam Tasfirin is claimed to be the first shop cooking food in a wood fire on the Asian side and it already has 3 branches in Kadikoy.
Its first branch at Kadikoy Fish Market offers two floors and tables outside the shop, but they are almost full any time of the day. You can watch the people in the liveliest district of the Asian side while you eat at the branch in the fish market.
Fresh parsley, lemon slices, pepper pickles, and sumac are always ready in a bowl on the tables at Borsam Tasfirin where you can have ezogelin soup and delicious pide choices too. No doubt, you will have your fill of lahmacun and ayran, undoubtedly the best drink that goes with lahmacun, at Borsam Tasfirin.
2. Ciya Sofrasi
Ciya Sofrasi is a favorite place among both domestic and foreign visitors in Kadikoy who want to try local dishes. Here, you can have different types of lahmacun. In addition to spicy, non-spicy, and onion topped lahmacun, you can find vegetarian lahmacun at Ciya Sofrasi.
Ciya Sofrası is listed as the best restaurant on the Asian side of Istanbul in many international travel guides. As an Istanbulite, I approve of this statement. At Ciya Sofrasi, you can eat a nice lahmacun as well as try numerous types of kebab.
3. Kilisli Omer Usta
Kilisli Omer Usta is located in Atasehir, one of the popular districts of the Asian side of Istanbul. The restaurant, which is famous for its lahmacun, also draws attention with its special dish called “Kilis Tava” and doner kebab.
Spicy and non-spicy lahmacun are served with greens, an indispensable topping on lahmacun. Lahmacun is made of unleavened and crispy dough with minced beef and special spices and it’s not too fatty and really delicious. Kilisli Omer Usta has two branches in Atasehir.
4. Halil Lahmacun
Halil Lahmacun is located in the fish market of Kadikoy, like Ciya Kebab and Borsam Tasfirin on our list. Fish Market, one of the most preferred places for Istanbulites to eat out, is also on the route of street food tours.
You can have spicy, non-spicy, and cheese pide at Halil Lahmacun. Lahmacun is served with parsley and lemon in this shop, which is one of the best lahmacun places on the Asian side of Istanbul. Additionally, you can have kanafeh here after your meal.
5. Oz Kilis Kebap ve Lahmacun
Oz Kilis Kebab and Lahmacun represent Gaziantep, one of the cities of Turkey known for its rich cuisine. The restaurant, which has garlic, onion and spicy lahmacun varieties on its menu, is located in Fatih (Historical Peninsula).
However, before eating lahmacun, it is recommended to try the specialty of this restaurant, “Siveydiz Soup”. Siveydiz soup is made of fresh onion, fresh garlic, strained yogurt, chickpea, and lamb. This soup is in the menu until April.
Oz Kilis Kebap ve Lahmacun Salonu stands out with its kebab too and you can have ayran in a copper glass while you enjoy your lahmacun here. Another great dish you should try is “Kilis Tavasi”.
Oz Kilis Kebab and Lahmacun are located in the Historic Peninsula, which includes the most touristic districts of Istanbul such as Sultanahmet, Eminonu and Beyazit. If you want to go out of the tourist route, you can reach here in 15-20 minutes from tourist places such as Sultanahmet and Taksim.
6. Gaziantepli Cavusoglu Kebap
Gaziantepli Cavusoglu Kebab is also among the lahmacun places close to Sultanahmet. The shop in Laleli, which you can reach in 10 minutes by tram from Sultanahmet, represents the delicious Gaziantep cuisine.
One of the most important features of Gaziantepli Cavusoglu Kebab is that it cooks lahmacun on wood fire. Slow-cooked lahmacun is more delicious and crispy. I definitely recommend you to try the ayran (yoghurt drink) served in a traditional copper glass.
Gaziantep is a city famous for its baklava as well as its lahmacun and kebabs. Gaziantepli Cavusoglu Kebap is also among the places where you can eat the best baklava in Istanbul.
7. Buketist Lahmacun
Buketist Lahmacun, located on the European side of Istanbul in Mecidiyekoy, offers Diyarbakir style lahmacun. Mecidiyekoy is a place where business centers and congress hotels are located and it is very close to touristic centers such as Taksim and Besiktas.
Buketist Lahmacun was first opened in Diyarbakir, one of the eastern provinces of Turkey, and became a chain restaurant because of its success. The most famous branch of the restaurant is the one in Mecidiyekoy.
Lahmacun is made in the oval shape and no onion or garlic is added at Buketist Lahmacun. Additionally, pide stuffed with beef and kebab options are worth trying Buketist Lahmacun and they are served with ezme salad (spicy tomato salad), parsley, lettuce, onion, and lemon on the side.
8. Develi Restaurant
Develi Restaurant opened its first branch in Gaziantep in 1912. The restaurant moved to Samatya district in Istanbul’s Historical Peninsula in 1966 and soon became one of the best restaurants in Istanbul.
It has a rich menu in which you can try a lot of options at Develi Restaurant, be it etli cig kofte (steak tartar a la Turca), peanut kebab, or kulbasti (grilled lamb steak). Of course, lahmacun has a special place in the restaurant’s menu.
If you are a lahmacun lover, you are strongly advised to try lahmacun at Develi Restaurant where you can find baspinar lahmacun (as big as a plate), garlic lahmacun, dib roman lahmacun, and findik (petite) lahmacun.
Located in Samatya, the restaurant is very close to Istanbul’s tourist centers, Sultanahmet and Taksim. Develi Restaurant picks up its customers from hotels for dinner if reservation is made in advance. For this reason, Develi Restaurant stands out among the best lahmacun places close to Taksim and Sultanahmet.
9. Tatbak Restaurant
Tatbak Restaurant opened its first branch in 1960 in Nisantasi, a district of Istanbul famous for its boutiques. Due to its success, Tatbak Restaurant became a chain restaurant and spread all over Istanbul. However, as an insider, I still recommend the nostalgic shop on Akkavak Caddesi in Nisantasi.
Its thin, crispy, mildly spicy, and vegetable stuffed lahmacun is the favorite choice at Tatbak Restaurant. And if you want to eat lahmacun, you should have their handmade and delicious ayran alongside lahmacun.
Moreover, pide options are definitely worth trying at Tatbak Restaurant. Especially, roasted beef pide and kasseri pide are highly recommended. Tatbak Restaurant has been chosen as the best lahmacun place in Istanbul by many travel and food platforms.
Nisantasi district, where Tatbak Restaurant is located, is easily accessible from both Taksim Square and Besiktas district, where luxury hotels are located on the Bosphorus shore.
10. Antebi Kebap & Lahmacun
Antebi Kebap & Lahmacun started its business in Arnavutkoy by selling baklava shipped daily from Gaziantep 20 years ago. However, the business grew and they opened a new branch in Acibadem (in Kadikoy on the Asian side) where you can have three different types of lahmacun.
Onion, non-onion, and tabak alti lahmacun (lahmacun that is as big as the base of a plate) are the options here. Antebi Kebap & Lahmacun offers also local delicacies such as purslane tomato salad and zahter salatasi (thyme salad).
Additionally, before having your lahmacun, you can eat Gaziantep’s famous anali kizli soup (soup made of meatballs, tomato, bulgur, and chickpeas). And you are lucky if you love dessert as there are some great Turkish dessert options like carrot slice baklava, hot twisted kadayif, katmer (pistachio pancake with clotted cream), and kanafeh.
Best Lahmacun in Istanbul Blog by Serhat Engul