Istanbul can be considered one of the best cities in the world for its culture, history, delicious food and undeniably, the best views. The city’s geography and urban sprawl have meant that it’s home to some of the best restaurants in the world and some with unbeatable views.
The best way to experience an evening enjoying the amazing views is to head to its rooftop restaurants, bars and terraces that this city offers. Watching the sunset on the horizon in Istanbul and its many historical monuments is an amazing experience. Take a seat to enjoy the best cuisine — it could be traditional, Anatolian, modern Turkish, fusion — at some rooftop restaurants as the city lights up, its mosques and historical sights sparkle and its bridges glitter in dazzling neon colours.
We’ve only provided a few of the best in the list below, but there are many options for many budgets in this beautiful city! Now, let’s check out some of the best rooftop views and where to find them in Istanbul.
1. Sunset Grill & Bar Restaurant
One of Turkey’s best fine dining restaurant located on a hilly area overlooking the city, Sunset Grill & Bar has been capturing the hearts of its customers for more than 25 years and has won many local and international awards. It’s included in the Chaine des Rotisseurs organization. It has remained the only restaurant invited to represent the country in the James Beard Foundation as early as 1999.
In the early years, the menu has been changing from “California kitchen” to “New Japanese”. Today, the glamorous restaurant offers a mix of Mediterranean, Turkish and Japanese palate. Additionally, offering some rare wines from around the world, it also works with local vineyards on the Bozcaada island. What sets Sunset Grill & Bar is its innovative approach to fine dining that makes it one of the best fine dining restaurants in the world.
2. Georges Hotel Galata Restaurant
Located on the roof of the Georges Hotel Galata on the historical Serdar-ı Ekrem street leading away from the Galata Tower, Restaurant 24 offers more than just a view of the old district on the peninsula. Interpretive dishes offer something from the many regional areas with the use of regional herbs and grains such as Aegean Cibes and Freekeh. Dessert is a regional sweet from Mersin, made with a perennial plant called Çöven Köpüğü (soapwort) into a cream.
They also offer Turkish breakfast as early as 8 am up until 2 pm and only at the weekends. Dishes such as Mıhlama (Turkish-style cheese fondue) and Çılbır (poached Turkish-style eggs) stand out.
3. Mikla Restaurant
Included in the world’s 50 best restaurants, Mikla, on the Marmara Pera Hotel top floor offers an unparalleled view of the Golden Horn and world-class cuisine over the Bosphorus’ waters. A chic choice for an evening out in Istanbul, the menu reflects Chef Mehmet Gürs “New Anatolian Kitchen”, introduced in 2012.
However, the restaurant has been in operation since 2005. With an extensive team of chefs, researchers and a deep network in the country, the kitchen utilizes unique regional ingredients. An accompanying terrace bar, where the restaurant is also located, has an outdoor pool and a DJ, delight.
Offering a fixed la cartè menu as well as a tasting menu, it changes daily depending on what fresh ingredients they have on hand. Prawns with beans hummus and wild cabbage, lamb’s heart with pomegranate vinegar and sumac, Quince with clotted cream (Kaymak) ice cream and soapwort root are a few delectable choices on the menu here.
4. Seven Hills Restaurant
A fish restaurant serving a mix of Turkish fare and international fare, Seven Hills overlooks the Sultanahmet square with views of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Grilled calamari, baked shrimps in butter sauce, lobster, grilled and steam fish are on its menu, for instance.
Imported liquors, drinks and local wine can complete your meal. With around 120 outdoor seats available at this rooftop fish restaurant, it’s better to book a reservation beforehand.
5. 360 Istanbul Restaurant
Its location in the heart of Taksim/Istiklal Avenue, 360 Istanbul is fine-dining that’s comparable to cities such as New York and London. Having won awards, this restaurant housed in a penthouse offers lunch and dinner only. At the weekends, the restaurant also converts into a club and is open until 4 AM when most places are long closed.
Duck samosa, squid Basmati rice, slow-roasted cherry duck are a few outstanding dishes that stand out on the menu. A long list of spirits are on the menu here. If you’re into fine dining and want to experience Istanbul via this experience in an exclusive luxury space, then 360 Istanbul and its 360 wraparound rooftop dining should be on your to-do list.
6. Banyan Ortaköy Restaurant
A now popular district in Istanbul, Ortaköy is home to Banyan and overlooks the 15 July Martyrs Bridge. An Asian fusion restaurant mixing Eastern dishes, Thai spices with Turkish ingredients, you can find some interesting dishes here. For instance, Aloo puri, Karaage with kimchi sauce, ginger samosa, grape leaf artichokes and Freekeh risotto. This is accompanied by international and Turkish white and red wines, spirits, rosé and even champagne!