We’ve traveled to Istanbul in May 2019 and felt in love. Not only with the city itself (for that I will write a separate article). But also with its tradition of “Turkish breakfast”. In my article about finding best and cheapest restaurants, I’ve mentioned it once. Yet, we were missing it a lot and at the end decided to make it at home by ourselves. There is nothing hard to make, almost no cooking is needed. But the result is worth it. I will share with you our Turkish breakfast recipe + give you some tips on the places in Istanbul, where you can try it.
What is the typical Turkish Breakfast?
Kahvalti (Turkish breakfast) is not simple food. It is the whole tradition behind it. And it’s not just a weekend thing. Turkish people make this kind of breakfast every day. It is the whole ritual of having a meal together by sharing different things. No two kahvaltis are the same. It always depends on preferences. In Istanbul, you can find many places where they serve kahvalti the whole day. At some point, I am even happy that we were not able to find anywhere else the place where they could serve Turkish breakfast, except Turkey. Because it is so rich in different foods, that one portion can have 1000+ calories. So in case you are willing to try, choose your biggest pants and forget about diet.
Basic elements of a Turkish Breakfast
It is usually can be divided into salty and sweet parts. The salty part represents different types of cheeses, salami, sliced veggies, olives. Eggs are also a big part of Turkish breakfast, usually made with Turkish sausage sucuk.
An alternative with eggs is menemen. It is scrambled eggs with bell peppers, tomatoes, and scallion. From time to time we saw also simple boiled eggs. Another high important part of salty (and sweet both) is bread. Usually, it can be a fresh pita or Simit (Turkish bagel). You can dip it in eggs, or also eat it with acuka. It is a spread made from tomato paste, walnuts and a lot of spices.
The sweet part is a variety of different spreads and jams. Very popular “must-have” on Turkish breakfast is kaymak with honey. Kaymak is a creamy dairy product like clotted cream, light and fluffy. Its combination with honey and dipping bread in it is heaven. They also do a special spread from nuts adding some syrups or Nutella in it.
When it comes to drinks, the king of everything is, of course, Turkish tea. It’s impossible to think of a traditional Turkish breakfast without it. Turks are not very much “coffee people”, so they can drink a lot of tea before, during and after breakfast. It has to be a black tea, not in a teabag but brewed. You can find it in any restaurant there. Sometimes waitresses are bringing it automatically, especially after meals.
How to make your own Kahvalti
Of course, we’ve made a simpler version with products we could find in Slovakia. Different bread, no kaymak or Turkish tea. Also the different types of cheeses and sausages. To get the taste of their nut spread, we’ve mixed peanut butter with the honey. Also, we’ve made a try to copy kaymak by mixing usual butter with honey. It was not that light as the original, yet reminded a bit the taste of it. Instead of acuka we had at home some pepper spread, which at the end had similar taste. Eggs were done as an omelet with spicy salami instead of sucuk.
It wasn’t the most accurate Turkish breakfast, but the idea of it is not to have special ingredients. It is all about enjoying and sharing it with your family, slowly and consciously.
Where to try Turkish Breakfast in Istanbul
We’ve had Kahvalti in Istanbul 2 times and both were heaven. Yet, if you see in the name the word Kahvalti, for sure they will have some breakfast options. Many restaurants there serve Turkish breakfasts all day long. I recommend making small restaurant research in advance. If you see on the pictures of the restaurant lots of plates with different things – that might be your goal. Many of them are close to each other, so in case you don’t like one place – in 200 meters there will be another.
In this breakfast, it was definitely a huge variety of things. Different types of cheeses and bread, all important things were included. Turkish tea was unlimited as well as bread, so once you finish one cup, they right away bring you more. For now, the price for 2 people is 90 liras (around 13 euros). But with such an amount of food, you will not be hungry until dinner.
Here we’ve paid 60 liras (9 euros) per 2, but we’ve got a bit fewer options when it comes to cheeses and no sausages. Yet there were a lot of tasty spreads. The same unlimitedness of tea and bread worked here. The same fullness of stomachs as well. But, if it’s not enough, you can always order some more eggs or other extra cost things. But trust me, even this is pretty enough to feel extremely full and satisfied.
We’ve also heard about a few more places where you can try Kahvalti in Istanbul. Dogaciyiz Gourmet is very close to Van Kahvalti Evi, breakfast for 2 with unlimited bread and tea for 90 liras. Van Ahtamar Kahvaltı Salonu, last time I checked it, was around 70 liras (10.5) per 2. Cihangir Breakfast & Cafe – 90 liras.
In case you are planning to cook Turkish breakfast home or tried some good places with kahvalti – let us know in comments and share some pictures!