In general, the most problematic and boring part of traveling is the hours you need to spend while waiting for your flight. For these times in Istanbul airports, I made a list of restaurants and places for you to eat, rest and have a good time.
So, are you looking for places to eat in Istanbul Airport? Then you need to check this list out.
Istanbul has 3 airports. The names of the airports are Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW), Atatürk Airport (IST), and Istanbul Airport (ISL).
Istanbul International Airport
Istanbul International Airport is the third and newest international airport in Istanbul. The airport was opened in 2018. It is located on the European side. Istanbul airport is planned to become the main airport and as the largest in the world. Since it is new and in progress, not all the restaurants are in service. The goal is 150 places to serve passengers. However, a remarkable number of cafes are in service.
Location: Tayakadın Mahallesi, Terminal Caddesi No:1, 34283 Arnavutköy/İstanbul
Restaurants and Cafes:
In the part of Domestic Terminal-Airside, there are 3 cafes in service which are Gloria Jean’s Coffee, Seferi and Simit Sarayı.
GLORIA JEAN’S COFFEES: It is a place where you can sit and relax while eating your dessert and drinking coffee. Average price for a cup of coffee is 3-4$ and for desserts 8-10$.
SEFERI: Seferi is more like a buffet. You can grab your drink and snacks for a fair price like 2-3 USD.
SIMIT SARAYI: Simit Sarayı is one of the most popular places to have breakfast in Turkey. A fresh Turkish bagel and a cup of tea can save your day. You pay 4-5 USD for a bagel and a cup of tea.
In the part of International Terminal Airside, there are 2 cafes. One of them is Simit Sarayı and the other one is Via Café.
Via Café is another place that you can have your appetizers and drinks.
In the part of Landside, there are Mvnch and Seferi buffets.
MVNCH: The buffet offers you a broad array of fresh fruit juices and appetizers. You can find a delicious combination.
The restaurants and cafes that are in progress to be in service: Brewmark, Chef Restaurant, Jackie’s, Malatya Pazarı, Mood Up, Tadında Anadolu, Take Off, Tchibo, Turkish Cusine, Tickerdaze, Yo! Sushi.
Sabiha Gokcen International Airport
Sabiha Gokcen Airport is an international airport which is located on the Asian part of Istanbul. The airport is named after Sabiha Gökcen, the first female fighter pilot in the world and adoptive daughter of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Her last name means ‘belonging or relating to the sky’ in Turkish. Sabiha Gökçen Airport is one of the largest airports in the country.
Location: Sanayi Mahallesi, 34906 Pendik/İstanbul
Restaurants and Cafes:
There are lots of restaurants and cafés at Sabiha Gökçen Airport await you to spend time and eat delicious foods.
In front of the Terminal, you will see Grab&Fly buffets, both in International and Domestic parts. You can take a sandwich and tea or coffee as an appetizer.
In Departures Passenger Hall, there are around 13 cafes where you can eat and rest. There are some franchised brands such as Burger King, Popeyes, Sbarro, Starbucks, and Caribou Coffee. On the other hand, you can have your breakfast in Simit Sarayı or your lunch in Usta Dönerci. You may prefer to taste Turkish foods once more before you are leaving. You can drink your last Turkish coffee and eat your dessert in Mado Café. Also, you can have your breakfast, lunch or dinner in Mado Cafe but the desserts are the best choice.
In International Departures Air Side, you can find the same places I addressed in Departures Passenger Hall. Besides, there are other cafes such as Secco Cafe, Trattoria Milano, Karafırın, BigChefs, Heroes Sports Bar, Grab&Fly Express, Gate Cafe (near gate number 201), and Grab&Fly(near gate number 301).
TRATTORIA MILANO: The restaurant serves Italian cuisine in general. You may prefer to eat pizza or pasta. However, the reviews are not that great. The service needs to be improved. The prices are high but it is normal when you consider average prices in airports. Also, they serve wifi access but you need to order something over 5-6 USD.
SECCO CAFE: They have a rich menu for coffees. The croissants are recommended. Besides, you can find some snacks like a sandwich for 2-3 USD.
BIGCHEFS: BigChefs is a beautiful place to eat, drink, relax and spend some time. They have the finest food in the airport and the place takes you away from the chaos of the airport. The prices might be high but the quality matches with the price.
HEROES SPORTS BAR: The bar is a nice relaxing spot that offers good food and alcoholic beverages. However, the service needs to be improved.
KARAFIRIN: Karafırın is a patisserie thus the place is ideal for breakfast. The place has a wide menu of pastry and offers a comfy space. You can shop for fair prices when you consider other cafes in the airport. For instance, you pay 5-6$ for a cup of tea and sandwich.
In the Domestic Departures Air Side, you can find cafes and restaurants that are the same as I addressed in International Departures Air Side. Additionally, there are Center Point, Turkish Kitchen, Puro Gusto, and Efes Pub Gate.
CENTER POINT: The place offers you a wide variety in the menu and alcoholic beverages. Center point is one of the places that you can sit, eat and spend time in comfort.
TURKISH KITCHEN: It is a good place to eat Turkish food. Besides, space is comfy and chic.
PURO GUSTO: With its menu of beverage, breakfast, sandwich, and dessert, it is a place that offers much. Puro Gusto is a chic, comfy and nice place to eat,drink and rest.
Istanbul Atatürk Airport
Istanbul Atatürk Airport is an international airport that is located on the European side of Istanbul. Atatürk Airport is the first airport in Turkey. It is opened in 1912 as a military airfield then opened in 1953 as an airport. The first name of the airport was Yeşilköy Airport. In the 1980s, the facility was renamed as Atatürk International Airport, named after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. The airport is about to be closed for scheduled passenger flights and the new airport, Istanbul Airport, will take its IATA code (IST).
Location: Yeşilköy Mahallesi, 34149 Bakırköy/İstanbul
P.S.: The prices of the restaurants in airports can be overpriced especially when you consider franchised restaurants such as Burger King, Mc Donald’s, Starbucks etc. For instance, you pay 4 USD for a Burger King hamburger menu around the city but at airports, you pay 8-10 USD. Besides, most of the restaurants in airports offer you Wi-Fi access but it is likely to be expected from you to order something around 5-6 USD.
How to Kill Time at the Airport
The hours you need to wait for your flight might be long sometimes or even you can be stuck in the terminal for a long layover. These times can be boring. For all that free time, airports’ shopping areas and restaurants can be a good choice.
Personally, I love this free time before boarding. Since daily life is exhausting and always in a rush, it becomes hard for finding a time to even read a book. It makes me feel like I have free time for myself. I always take a book with me and when I arrive at the airport, I grab a cup of coffee and sit in a comfy café then enjoy my book and coffee. If you don’t have one, you may buy from D&R store at the airport.
Besides, you may check your e-mails or complete an unfinished job with your computer or talk with a friend via your social media accounts when you have time to kill. In general, the restaurants and cafes in the airports of Istanbul give you access to Wi-Fi in return of your 5-6 USD order.
Istanbul airports offer you places for pre-flight shopping, eating and drinking opportunity. However, Istanbul Airport is still in progress so you may not find places for pre-flight shopping but try restaurants that I addressed before. If you have a flight at Sabiha Gökcen Airport, you may find more places to eat, drink and shopping.
Duty Free & Shopping at Sabiha Gökçen Airport
The duty-free shopping area is run by SETUR company and serves in the departures and the arrivals halls. In this duty-free are, you can find local and foreign drinks, tobacco and cosmetics, accessories and electronics. Some brands at duty-free are: Gucci, Haremlique, Havainas, Kipling, Lacoste, Maurice Lacroix, Misaki, Mont Blanc, Nike, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Dior, Emporio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Omega, Prada, Ray-Ban, Salvatore Ferregamo, Swatch, Tag Heuer, Anne Klein, Authentic Dress, Timex, Tissot, Turkish Delight, Tommy Hilfiger, Organic Food, and Pilgrim Swarovski.
At Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, shops range from gift shops where you can find traditional crafts of souvenir to designer brands or shops of Turkish football teams. The available shops are listed as:
Departures Passenger Hall: D&R, New Bazaar, Portes Market & Gift Shop, SuperStore gift shop, Watsons, Altis gift shop, Selin Silver, Area Shop, Levent Lostra,Bazaar Istanbul, Kartal Yuvası, TS Club Corner,GS Store,Fenerium
International Departures Airside: Victoria’s Secret, Time Pieces, Vakko Boutique, Micheal Kors.
How to Go to the Airports in Istanbul
Istanbul Airport: You may use public transport services of IETT and private services of Istanbul Otobüs A.Ş. You may prefer to use the municipal buses which have a fixed route that departs from Mecidiyeköy and Atatürk Airport stops. On the other hand, İstanbul Otobüs A.Ş. buses provide private transportation service on a regular fixed route departing from Taksim, Kozyatağı, Yenikapı, July 15th Democracy Bus Terminal and Tüyap.
For detailed information of IETT shuttles such as routes, departure times and points, here is the website you can check: https://www.iett.istanbul/tr/main/announcement/yeni-havalimani-otobus-ulasim-hatlari/1603
For HAVAIST shuttles detailed information: http://www.hava.ist/Home/Index_en
Sabiha Gökçen: The easiest and cheapest way for transportation to and from Sabiha Gökçen is via HAVABUS Shuttles. The white shuttles that await you in front of the terminal take you to Taksim and Kadıköy. For Taksim destination, you pay 3 USD and for Kadıköy, you pay 2 USD. The working hours of the shuttles are between 03.30 am and 01.00 am.
For detailed information: http://www.havabus.com
If you prefer to get an Uber ride, then you pay 20-30 USD from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to Kadikoy. For Taksim Square, the price is 30-40 USD.
For other destinations:https://www.uber.com/tr/Fare-Estimate/
Another option is taxi ride. The destination fees are calculated according to adding kilometer fee onto taximeter opening fee. So, when I calculate roughly, the destination from Sabiha Gökçen to Kadikoy costs 20-25 USD. To Taksim Square, it costs 25-30 USD. To be sure, you should ask the driver before getting in.
Besides, you may use rail transport which includes the Marmaray Project, Kadiköy Kartal Tavşantepe Metro Line, and Train. However, the rail transport system may get confusing for a foreigner since its complex lines. So, HAVABUS shuttles are recommended in general.
Istanbul Atatürk Airport: For economic and easy transportation from and to Istanbul Atatürk Airport, you may use HAVABUS shuttles, again. The shuttles arrive and leave in every half an hour and the schedule starts at 4:00 am and finishes at 1:00 am. Fee changes from 2 to 3 USD. Another option is the subway. You need to use M1A Yenikapı- Atatürk Airport line.
Getting an Uber ride from Atürk Airport to Kadikoy destination costs 25-35 USD and to Taksim Square costs 10-25 USD. You can check the website link I stated before for other destinations.
For Taxi ride, the destination from Atatürk Airport to Taksim Square, roughly it costs between 10 to 15 USD.
TAV Airport Hotels
When your waiting hours are extended and you need to have a place to stay but you don’t want to get far from the airport, then TAV Airport Hotels are the best choice for you. However, it is not a cheap way when you consider. The average price is around 100 EUR for a night and breakfast is not included.
Which Istanbul Airport Is the Closest to the City Center?
New Istanbul Airport is at a distance of 35 kilometers to Taksim Square. The airport is located by the shores of the Black Sea.
Sabiha Gökçen Airport is located on the Anatolian side of Istanbul at Kurtkoy. It is 12 kilometers to Pendik, 40 kilometers to Kadikoy, and 50 kilometers to Taksim Square.
Istanbul Atatürk Airport is located on 24 kilometers distance from Taksim Square.
So, Istanbul Atatürk Airport is the closest one to the city. However, the transportation system that is provided makes your journey easier. That is the reason why you don’t need to be worried. On the other hand, calculating average arrival and check-in time and acting according to the schedule is necessary for you to catch your flight. Istanbul is a big city and traffic might be stucked in most of the times.
What Time Is It in Istanbul?
The standard time zone in Istanbul or Turkey is UTC/GMT +3 hours.