Italy is among the first countries that most Turks want to see when they go abroad. The fact that Rome and Istanbul were once co-capitals of the Roman Empire and that both countries have Mediterranean cuisine are influential in this decision. Due to the popularity of Italian culture, Istanbul has great Italian restaurants.
There are many famous Italian chefs who came to Istanbul from Italy and opened restaurants. The popularity of their delicious dishes created a domino effect and many Italian restaurants opened on both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul.
Best Italian Restaurants in Istanbul 2021
The best Italian restaurants in Istanbul are located in touristic districts of Istanbul such as Beyoglu (aka Taksim), Besiktas, Nisantasi and Kadikoy. On the other hand, some of the Italian restaurants serve in popular shopping centers of Istanbul.
In this article, you can find 8 restaurants in Istanbul where you can eat indispensable Italian dishes such as pizza and pasta.
1. Eataly Restaurant
Eataly Restaurant was founded in 2013 at Zorlu Shopping Center in Istanbul. Eataly adapts the motto “Good food brings people together” and it offers the real Italian delicacies to the lovers of the Italian kitchen.
Eataly has eight branches in Italy and four others in different cities of the USA. Eataly is not just a random Italian restaurant. You can buy authentic Italian food and ingredients at Eataly’s gourmet market section.
Eataly was brought to life in Torino by an Italian chef Farinetti to promote Italian kitchen culture to the rest of the world and it became a well-known brand in the world.
Eataly consists of four different sections that offer pasta and pizza, meat and fish, La Locanda and In Salataria. The terrace of Eataly offers a nice Bosphorus view, where you can enjoy your delicious food. It is easy to say Eataly is one of the best Italian restaurants in Istanbul.
2. Cecconi’s Istanbul
Cecconi’s Istanbul is a classical Italian restaurant designed in a modern style and it’s located in the backyard of Palazzo Corpi building. Cecconi brand came to life in Venice and it’s one of the most important representatives of Italian kitchen in Istanbul.
If you wish, you can enjoy your meal under olive trees at Cecconi’s and have brunch until 16:00 in addition to dinner on Sunday. Cecconi’s Istanbul is famous for its hand-made pasta, seafood, and traditional dishes like cichetti from northern Italy.
The first branch of Cecconi’s was opened in Mayfair London and other branches in Miami, Berlin, Barcelona and West Hollywood followed it. Cecconi’s Istanbul located on the Mesrutiyet Street (Street parallel to Istiklal Avenue) in Beyoglu. Cecconi’s stands out as the closest Italian restaurant to tourist destinations such as Taksim Square, Galata, Karakoy and Sultanahmet in Istanbul.
3. Antica Locanda
Antica Locanda was founded by a Milan born experienced Chef Gian Carlo Talerico and his Turkish wife Beldan Erkkul at Arnavutkoy in 2011. Located in one of the most beautiful spots of the Bosphorus shores, Antica Locanda is very close to the luxury hotels in Besiktas and Ortakoy districts.
You can find dish options from every local kitchen of Italy at Antica Locanda. These dishes are available depending on the season and they are served at its entrance, mezzanine or the second floor if you are a big group. The restaurant also boasts a small garden that is next to a churchyard and it’s open during summer time.
Pasta at Antica Locanda is prepared daily and if you order risotto, it’s cooked in a prepared to order style. Additionally, Chef Gian Carlo Talerico prepares special plates for his guests and the dough of his pizza is also special.
4. Da Mario Ristorante
Da Mario Ristorante was opened 25 years ago in Etiler and it draws attention with its rich menu. The dishes on the menu at Da Mario change depending on the season. You can find pizza from Napoli that is cooked in the wood fire and hand-made pasta which is an indispensable part of the Italian kitchen.
Apart from meat and fish choices, the desserts make Da Mario’s menu even richer and you can try its delicious food and dessert in its garden too. You can also enjoy your wine to accompany your meal.
5. Gina Restaurant
Gina Restaurant is located at Kanyon Shopping Mall at the entrance of Nichol’s, which offers an elegant atmosphere. You can find a rich menu at Gina Restaurant where you can try the hand-made pasta, pizza, risotto, and salad. Wine choices are also included in Gina Restaurant’s menu.
In addition to wine choices, other alcohol and cocktail options are also available for its customers. Therefore, Gina Restaurant is an ideal place to visit to take a break from shopping or meet friends after work.
Mezzaluna was first opened by a businessman from Milan and a famous architect from Florence, Roberto Magris, in New York in 1984. And its first branch in Istanbul was opened in 1995.
The first branch of Mezzaluna in Turkey was opened in Nisantasi on Abdi Ipekci Street. Following its success in Istanbul, other branches in Ankara, Izmir, and Bodrum followed suit. You can find thin pizza cooked in the wood oven and olive oil from Toscana that’s offered to every table for free with a reasonable price range.
If you love eggplant, you can also try Mezzaluna’s special eggplant pizza. Moreover, you can also try closed pizza and desserts like tiramisu and torta di ricotta at Mezzaluna Restaurant.
As of 2021, Mezzaluna’s branch in Nisantasi was closed. The restaurant is currently serving in IstinyePark, one of the most famous shopping malls in Istanbul. It is possible to reach Mezzaluna, one of the best Italian restaurants in Istanbul, by metro from Taksim Square.
7. Fauna Restaurant
Fauna Restaurant came to life in Moda (Kadikoy) at a 22-table restaurant, but it’s in service at Atasehir today. The dishes of the day are written on a blackboard at Fauna Restaurant and if a dish runs out, it’s crossed out. You should also note that fish and lamb dishes are served in turns depending on the season.
You can see the owner of the restaurant, Chef Ibrahim Tuna, cooking the food in the kitchen. He is ambitious enough to say, “I created the life again in Fauna.” Chef Ibrahim cooks his hand-made pasta in “al dente style” and you can taste the dishes in his menu between 12:00 and 15:30 weekdays.
Fauna keeps its boutique style and you can try such different soup options like vegetable soup garnished with parsley puree and chickpea soup served with grilled paprika.
The Fauna stands out as the best Italian restaurant on the Asian side of Istanbul. The restaurant is very close to Kadikoy, Atasehir and Kozyatagi districts where Istanbul’s business hotels are located.
8. IL Padrino Restaurant
IL Padrino Restaurant is located at Caddebostan and it’s served dishes from Italian kitchen for 27 years. II Padrino is the first Italian restaurant in Turkey that was awarded the “Authentic Italian Restaurant Award” in 2013 that is organized by Unioncamare. This award is given to one Italian restaurant every year that meets certain criteria. In addition to Italian dishes, its calamari, flounder, and salmon are also worth trying at II Padrino.
The restaurant keeps adding new pizza choices to its menu, but if you prefer chicken and meat, you can find dishes to your taste. In short, you can definitely find a dish that you like and enjoy Italian kitchen to the fullest.
Il Padrino is located in the heart of Bagdat Street, the most popular shopping place on the Asian side of Istanbul. There are countless clothing shops, cafes, restaurants and living spaces on this 15-kilometer street.
Best Italian Restaurants in Istanbul by Serhat Engul