For art and flavour enthusiasts

Museums are worth a visit not only for the art collections they house, but also for the flavours they offer in their exclusive restaurants. Istanbul’s best art venues and restaurants are yours to enjoy...

It’s a delight to spend time in museum restaurants. You may have visited a magnificent exhibition, taken part in a debate, or participated in a workshop. You may be at a venue so gorgeous that you don’t feel like leaving. And what’s more, you may be hungry. When that happens, museum restaurants are the perfect place to sit down and grab a bite with your companion. Nerua at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; The Modern at the MoMa in New York; and Le Georges, the famous restaurant at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Many others could be added to the list. Today, museum restaurants stand out as venues where you can sample the most creative dishes. Turkey – Istanbul in particular – boasts superb museums and restaurants that appeal to art and food lovers alike. We’ve compiled a list of them for you…

Müzedechanga, Sakıp Sabancı Museum

Atlı Köşk (The Mansion with the Horse), where the distinguished Sabancı family used to live in Emirgan, one of Istanbul’s most beautiful locations, is now an internationally acclaimed art space. Sakıp Sabancı Museum shines both with its collections on exhibit and the chic restaurants it hosts. Müzedechanga, inside the museum, is a great place to have a drink or enjoy a meal in the afternoon or evening while marvelling at the one-of-a-kind views of the Bosphorus. muze.sabanciuniv.edu

Istanbul Modern Restaurant

You don’t have to buy a ticket to Istanbul Modern, Turkey’s first modern art museum, to dine in its eponymous restaurant. Istanbul Modern Restaurant is open every day except Monday, offering an opulent menu on the terrace with historic Istanbul and Bosphorus views. Once there, don't forget to visit the pieces Istanbul Modern has added to its collection or to view the current exhibition. istanbulmodern.org/en

Neolokal

SALT Galata in the Karaköy neighbourhood is an alternative art venue, and its spectacular building makes it well worth a visit. Neolokal restaurant inside SALT Galata has made waves with its dishes that interpret traditional recipes and bring them bang up to date. Minimalist presentations and sumptuous flavours are sure to delight you. Furthermore, the restaurant overlooks the historic peninsula; what more could you ask for? Before you dine, take a stroll around the exhibitions and permanent collections at the venue. neolokal.com/en

Pera Café

Pera Café inside the Pera Museum reflects the history of Hotel Bristol – which was built in 1893 and remained open until the 1970s – and the Pera of the 1900s. Presenting a primarily art deco approach, the Café is an exclusive area to rest and meet friends. With salads, sandwiches, special pastas, and delicious pastries available, Pera Café offers a distinctive menu with various world cuisine themes in parallel with the temporary exhibitions at the museum. Kaplumbağa Terbiyecisi (The Tortoise Trainer) painting in this museum should be on your must-see list. peramuseum.org

Topkapı Palace, Konyalı

Konyalı is an essential go-to restaurant for Turkish people entertaining guests from abroad. Usually, they take visitors to Topkapı Palace to see the magnificent Ottoman pieces, then go to Konyalı to taste delicious Ottoman and Turkish flavours. Kebabs, sorbets and baklavas are highly popular. Famous former guests of the restaurant include Atatürk, Queen Elizabeth II, and Benazir Bhutto. konyalilokantasi.com

Rahmi Koç Museum, Halat Restaurant

Rahmi M Koç Museum opened its doors in 1994 in Haliç. A wide variety of items are on exhibit – ranging from classic automobiles to planes – at the museum, which consists of the Historic Lengerhane Building, Historic Hasköy Shipyard, and Outdoor Exhibition Area. The museum’s restaurant and cafés are irresistible. Halat Restaurant offers exquisite dishes accompanied by the enchanting beauty of the historic peninsula. It welcomes guests in a setting adorned with handmade sailboats. The restaurant is closed on Mondays as it is located inside the museum. divan.com.tr/en