What is pide? Pide is Turkish name for pita and is the round, soft, slightly leavened flatbread that many will be familiar with.
It’s very common in Turkey, either to wrap kebabs or to eat with dips and you’ll find it at most places that you eat lunch or dinner at.
In this guide, you can find general information about pide (pita), pide types and where to eat pide with address, phone number and average price for two people.
Pide is prepared like a pizza, with usually meat or cheese, placed on top or inside of the dough before baking. Delicious toppings are baked onto a piece of flatbread for a quick and cheap meal. There’s no better place to try it than Istanbul.
Here’s the interesting fact: Some people say that Turkish pide is the father of Italian pizza. It happened when Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror took control of Sicily on 11 August 1480.
An Italian baker observed all the Turkish Navy soldiers eating pide and he realized to ask them how they made it. He then went to Florence and opened the first pizza restaurant in history. Pizza and pide are the same with one exception: pide does not have mushrooms and peppers!
As a result of the Turkish migration, pide has become a trendy dish in Europe, but food critics maintain that the best is still found within the country itself.
In Istanbul, you will find the greatest variety and the truest incarnations of the dish, which is sprinkled with sesame seeds or as sumptuous as an open tart and filled with Turkish peynir cheese, spinach, and marinated lamb, encased in the folded-over edges of buttery bread.
Sometimes, the egg cracked over them during the last seconds of the baking process, allowing the whites to flavor the ingredients and the yolk to stay runny and delicious for those last bits of bread. Other times, the ingredients are baked inside, and the exterior is made crispy.
Delicious boat-shaped baked dough filled with many different ingredients from minced meat to spinach, eggs, and sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage) and kuşbaşı (small cubes of seasoned veal meat) can be found in most Turkish cuisine restaurants that you’ll visit İstanbul.
Of course, to taste the best stuff, you’ll have to go where they specialize. In this guide, we shared restaurants with you that devote themselves to the art of making pide are known as pidecisi. Mostly, we mentioned the restaurants that have a wider pide menu.
These institutions are almost everywhere, but luckily for visitors, many of the best and most popular pide joints are centrally located, just a stone’s throw from the Grand Bazaar.
While most pides are ‘açık’ or open, a few places also serve ‘kapalı’ or closed pide. A closed pide is made by folding the crust over so that none of the toppings are visible.
Here’s a tip for you:
If you want to eat pide like a pro, you should try one with an egg on top. As soon as a pide is taken out of the oven, an egg is cracked on it.
The heat of the pide is enough to cook the egg. When the pide is served, you can dip the pointy crust part of the pide in the runny egg and enjoy this yummy pide.
The best, most authentic pide come out of wood-fired ovens and are often served on wooden boards. While eating your pide don’t forget to try with sprinkled a pinch of pul-biber on top and order some ayran to drink. And be careful, pide portions in some restaurants can be huge, so you may want to learn how long it is and order a küçük (small) or yarım (half) portion.
Here are some common pide types:
- Kıymalı Pide (minced meat topping)
- Kıymalı Kaşarlı Pide (minced meat topping and cheese)
- Kaşarlı Pide (melted cheese)
- Sucuklu Pide (melted cheese and spicy sausage)
- Kuşbaşılı Pide (diced meat sauteed with tomatoes and bell peppers)
- Kuşbaşı Kaşarlı Pide (diced meat sauteed with tomatoes and bell peppers and melted cheese)
- Karışık (Kuşbaşı, Kaşar, Kıyma) (diced meat sauteed with tomatoes and bell peppers, melted cheese, minced meat topping)
- Karışık Cantık
- Samsun Pide
Hocapaşa is well known for both its fresh, tasty pide offerings and friendly atmosphere. The owner makes it a point to greet the guests as they arrive, and the staff is top notch. The pide is cooked in a wood oven for a little extra oomph.
Hocapaşa Pidecisi, in the Sirkeci neighborhood, is a conveniently located and locally loved dive for the divine dough. Widely regarded as one of the finest pidecisi in Istanbul, this is a small and no-frills establishment that is as straightforward about its food as it is about its decor.
The usta, or chef, makes every piece of the flatbread to order, right before your eyes. There is a wide selection of flavors available here, from simple concoctions of Turkish cheese and spinach to spicy and delectable kavurma (your choice of meat sauteed with spices and onions) that melts into the bread.
All dishes are served traditionally with pickles, chilis, and a selection of fresh drinks and juices, the best of which is ayran, a yogurt drink similar to an Indian lassi that will soothe and refresh after a spicy meal. Hocapaşa has served up all of this since 1964. This is an unmissable piece of Istanbul’s exquisite old town.
Address: Hocapaşa Mahallesi, Hocapaşa Sokak, No 11, Fatih, İstanbul
Call venue: +90 212 512 09 90
Price: $12,27 (Average for 2 people)
Lider Pide serves up two types of this delicious treat, opened and closed. The kavurma is easily one of the best, though you can basically design your own if you’d like. Have them toss an egg in before closing it up and cooking it in the oven for a real treat.
Address: Tepeüstü Mahallesi, Poyraz Caddesi, No 36, Ümraniye, İstanbul
Call venue: +90 216 314 51 12 / +90 216 415 59 55
Price: $13,14 (Average for 2 people)
Şimşek Pide Salonu
Simsek is known as much for its atmosphere as it is for its food. Located just off Taksim Square, the outdoor seating provides spectacular views. Meanwhile, the pide is all made to order, and the staff is happy to recommend the best toppings if you can’t decide on your own.
In Istanbul, pide joints are almost as common as blaring car horns, but Şimşek Pide Salonu has won our loyalty for its consistently outstanding made-to-order pide and convenient location. Passing the time at one of Şimşek’s outdoor tables on this quiet, sunny side street just off of Taksim Square is a pleasure in itself. Add a few pides and you’ve got a party.
To simplify the ordering process, Şimşek’s menu features a pide pictograph. As pictured, the item in question comes in three general forms: round like a pizza, the more traditional oblong, open-faced pide, and the calzone-like kapalı pide. The main components remain the same, regardless of the shape: dough plus toppings, assembled and then fired in a pizza oven.
At Şimşek we prefer the open-faced pide with a few toppings. The usta, or master, rolls the dough out long and thin and pinches up a ridge along the edges, forming the crust, which will bubble up and crackle around a chewier center, much like a good Italian pizza.
Then comes a generous helping of blond-colored Black Sea kaşar cheese, a rich but mild cow’s cheese that hints at mozzarella. Depending on your preferences, the usta adds tomatoes, peppers, pastırma (slices of cured beef) or ground beef. If you so desire, he’ll even crack an egg over your pide before sliding it into the oven on a long wooden paddle.
Address: Asmalımescit Mahallesi, Oteller Sokak, No 8, Beyoğlu, İstanbul
Call venue: +90 212 243 36 29
Price: $9,64 (Average for 2 people)
Karadeniz Kardesler Pide & Kebap Salonu
The name might be a mouthful, but the food is served up in just the right portions. There’s plenty to choose from here, but you can’t go wrong with the cheese-soaked pide. It’s a local restaurant so you won’t find many other tourists here mucking up the vibe.
On the other side of the Grand Bazaar and just off of Sultanahmet Square is Karadeniz Aile Pide & Kebap Salonu (you will see the word Karadeniz a lot in Istanbul — it’s the Turkish word for the Black Sea). This is another traditional establishment and a hidden gem in an area that is understandably flooded with tourist traps.
Casual and eclectic, you can enjoy inexpensive pide in peace on a quiet side street in one of the city’s busiest areas, dining inside on tables covered in regional patterned rugs or outside on checkered picnic cloths. This eatery’s pide is crispy on the outside with the ingredients baked in, and they cater to carnivores and vegetarians alike; popular stuffings range from minced lamb meat to potato and sheep’s cheese.
Make sure to fit in this meal around your visit to the Blue Mosque, a short walk away.
Address: Alemdar Mahallesi, Biçkiyurdu Sokak, No 5/A, Fatih, İstanbul
Call venue: +90 212 520 80 61
Price: $31,54 (Average for 2 people)
Ozlem Karadeniz Restaurant
Ozlem Karadeniz Restaurant is located in the Sultanahmet area. It specializes in the ultimate form of “Turkish pizza,” lahmacun. It also takes pride in their massive portions of pide, which are cooked alongside their pizzas in a massive, authentic wood fire oven (called a tas firin) that sits just behind the main counter.
Though it is casual and cheap like most pidecisi, the welcoming staff and highly social owner will make you feel like a guest in their own home, and the cozy interior decorated with pictures of Istanbul landmarks will immerse you in the city from the comfort of a backstreet.
Address: Binbirdirek Mahallesi, Peykhane Sokak, No 16, Fatih, İstanbul
Call venue: +90 212 458 83 39 / +90 212 458 83 40
Price: $8,76 (Average for 2 people)
Quite a humble restaurant, Şeyhmus Kebap happens to be one of the best places around the Grand Bazaar for kebab and pide (flatbread with various toppings).
The kitchen is known for mincing its meat with a traditional zırh (a rounded blade with double handles) as well as regional dishes such as cıvıklı (thin dough covered with minced meat from Kayseri) and Mardin kebabı (lean meat served with grilled peppers from the southeastern city).
Also, Seyhmuz is known for its fast service, serving up fresh dishes in less than five minutes.
While it does cater well to the takeaway crowd, there are a few seats inside where you can watch the chefs at their work, speedily assembling the ingredients on the large lunch counter into Turkish delicacies.
Address: Molla Fenari Mahallesi, Atik Alipaşa Medresesi Sokak, No: 4/A, Fatih, İstanbul
Call venue: +90 212 526 16 13 / +90 212 512 41 02
Price: $14,03 (Average for 2 people)
Fatih Damak Pide
Finally, decide for yourself if the finest pide in Istanbul is indeed to be found at Fatih Damak Pide, named for the nearby Fatih Mosque. Very popular with locals, you may have to contend with a wait during peak hours, but your patience will be rewarded with a free samovar of the locale’s famous Turkish tea if you order pide.
The flavors and toppings are similar to those you might see at other pidecisi, but this restaurant does add individual flare and encourages customers to do the same: not only is there a rolled-up version of pide available (the Turkish equivalent to a calzone, if you will), but they also allow you to design your own pide from a mix of all the available toppings.
Doing so will cost you a bit more than at other places on this list, but overall a meal for two to three people should still run less than 100 Lira ($15). End your meal with their dessert specialty, a classic pumpkin pie made from locally grown ingredients.
Address: Zeyrek Mahallesi, Büyük Karaman Caddesi, No 48, Fatih, İstanbul
Call venue: +90 212 521 50 57 / +90 212 521 50 58
Price: $15 (Average for 2 people)
Karadeniz Döner Asım Usta
At Karadeniz Döner Asım Usta, they combine pide with another staple of Turkish cuisine: döner. They slice thin, juicy pieces of the meat from an impressively sized rotating hunk of the stuff, and then place them onto their homemade pide, served thick and soft.
They begin serving this delicacy every day at 10:30 a.m., and as this humble operation is a well-respected Besiktas institution, one can typically expect lines to form out of the door around lunchtime.
While 10:30 might be a bit too early for the carnivores amongst us, do be conscious of the rush — the place closes as soon as the day’s supply of meat is exhausted, which you don’t want to happen right before your very eyes.
This place is cheap, fast, and as local as it gets — you could hardly ask for more.
Address: Sinanpaşa Mahallesi, Mumcu Bakkal Sokak, No: 6, Beşiktaş, İstanbul
Call venue: +90 212 261 76 93 / +90 212 236 40 80
Price: $12,27 (Average for 2 people)
Fatih Karadeniz Pidecisi
This 3 storey pide restaurant has been providing Istanbul locals with their fill of some of the best pide in town since 1957.
The menu is very simple, with only 10 or so types of pide on offer. We went for the open-faced cheese (peynirli) pide with egg and the mince (kiymali) pide and egg. You can smell the pide baking as you sit and wait and, when the food does reach your table, you’re not disappointed.
The exterior of the pide is crispy, and the interior is soft and chewy. An egg is optional for all of the pide on offer here but seeing the raw egg crack open and cook on top of the pide on the tables around you, you know that it’s an option you need to choose.
Simple indulgence at its best, and one of the best things that we ate in Istanbul.
Different regions of Turkey are famous for different delicacies. While the Aegean coast is famous for its olive-oil based meze and alcoholic beverage Rakı, the Black Sea Coast is famous for its doughy pide.
Address: Ali Kuşçu Mahallesi, Demir Sokak No:30/1, Fatih Merkez, İstanbul
Call venue: +90 212 534 00 23
Price: $12,27 (Average for 2 people)
Not far from Taksim, Akcanlar came highly recommended by several locals in my hostel. The service stood out right away and you can sit quickly.
Sausage pide at Akcanlar
You can try a Kusbaşılı ve Kaşar Peynirli Pide, a Turkish style pizza with lamb sausage and cheese. The cheese was incredible, as was the meat. The pizza dough was flavorful and cooked perfectly. We’re sure that you will want to have more time to order this dish again.
Pide resembles pizza more so than the lahmacun. It is essentially a flatbread that is folded over at the edges which turns it into a kind of ‘pizza boat’. Pide is traditionally filled with Turkish peynir cheese, a cheese made from goat milk.
It melts very easily and will fill your mouth with heavenly goodness. Apart from cheese, pide can come with a variety of toppings. Vegetarian options include a cheese-spinach filling, while other traditional options include spiced lamb, or sujuk (Turkish beef sausage).
They are quite filling and if you are going to order a few dishes, one is enough to share with another person.
Address: İnönü Mahallesi, Cumhuriyet Caddesi, Nispet Sokak, No 7/A, Şişli, İstanbul
Call venue: +90 212 232 06 11/ +90 212 248 96 77
Price: $29,78 (Average for 2 people)
Nizam Pide’s founder, Nizamettin, started his first commercial life in Rize in 1958. His dream was to make pidcery, a paternal profession, in Istanbul, and to taste every one of RICE PUDDING, one of the unique flavors of Turkish culture.
In 1970, he established his own food business in Istanbul and turned his commercial life in a different direction. By the end of the 70s, started to work in a pita shop in the Beyoglu Balikpazari, named NİZAM PİDE.
So he was able to fulfill his dream of transporting times. Gradually he brings the pita shop dream in life. Nizam Pide Hall attracted attention with its service and quality in a short time and it became a place where people who came to visit Beyoğlu and Taksim.
In 1990, he opened his branch in Istiklal Street with his brother and his uncle, thinking that the branch would be from within the family. Serving this sector has delivered it wherever it wants.
He is now enjoying his retirement with the pride of taking his place in the catering sector because he is a famous pita and rice pudding maker.
Address: Kalyoncu Kulluk Cd. No: 13, İstanbul
Call venue: +90 212 249 55 01
Price: $9,46 (Average for 2 people)
Ten kinds of pide are served from the brick oven that sits at the warm heart of Babaji. Coming soon in İstanbul.
Here are the kinds of Babaji’s Pide:
- Pide Develi: Diced beef, tomato, Turkish green pepper & parsley
- Afyon: Beef sucuk, Izmir Tulum, kaşar cheese, red chilli & parsley
- Kayseri: Beef pastrami, Izmir Tulum, kasar cheese, fresh tomato, and Turkish pepper
- Kıymalı Pide: Minced lamb, tomato & pepper
- Birsen Alçeler V: Chargrilled courgette, tomato, walnut & goat’s cheese
- Temel Reis V: Spinach, kaşar cheese, onion & red 9chili
- Caramelized Onions & Walnut Pide V: Caramelised onions, walnut, Izmir Tulum & kaşar cheese
- Mevlana: Beef, lamb, beef sucuk & kaşar cheese
- Four Cheese Pide: Halloumi, Izmir Tulum, kaşar cheese & mozzarella