Hamdi Restaurant in Eminönü is one of Istanbul’s premier kebap restaurants, with a menu of 17 different varieties of kebap, in addition to various meze (cold appetizers) and dessert options. Founder Hamdi Arpacı came to Istanbul from Urfa in southeastern Turkey, bringing with him the delicious kebap varieties of the region. In business since the 1960s, this restaurant has a fine heritage behind its kebap dishes and it lives up to its reputation today. Situated right on the Golden Horn, Hamdi Restaurant offers a stunning view of the water and the historic city and, right next to the restaurant, you can see the famous Yeni Cami, a beautiful mosque ordered by the wife of Sultan Murad III and completed in 1663.
The staff at Hamdi is known for its warm welcome, making local and foreign guests feel at home. It’s a place where people are comfortable bringing the whole family to enjoy the atmosphere. The southern Turkish classics of lahmacun and içli köfte are delicious here, and there is no better way to enjoy these dishes than while gazing over Istanbul’s misty horizon.
Alcohol is served, and reservations are not necessary, though you need to call in advance if you are ordering one of their special kebabs. The restaurant is easily accessible from the Eminönü tram stop. There is a takeout restaurant on their ground-level floor, and a smaller branch of Hamdi a few doors down serving köfte (meatballs) and other inexpensive fare.
- If you want to try Hamdi’s testi kebabı (a kebab cooked in an earthenware jug), you need to order it when making a reservation, at least four hours in advance.
- If you’re holding a big party, you can order Hamdi’s ceremonial kolbaşı, a kebab that can reach up to one meter in length.
- Döner kebap and İskender kebap are only available between 12 PM and 2:30 PM.