8 of the best cafés + work spaces in Istanbul, Turkey {with a map}

Looking for good food, great coffee, and a place to get some work done in Istanbul? You’ve come to the right place.

My love affair with Turkey is now well-documented on Instagram. I’ve written so much in my journals about how in love I am with this beautiful country. So much so, I’ve already made plans to come back {no really, is that too soon?!}.

Everything on the news that made Istanbul seem scary or unsafe just does not reflect my experience at all. The people were welcoming, the food was delicious, and the city itself was such a perfect mixture of traditional culture and modern add-ons. Think mosques near boutique shopping.

One of these such additions to the city are the numerous trendy cafés that are serving the younger generation with cool places to work, hang out, and drink coffee. During my week in Istanbul, I took full advantage of the café culture whenever I could and indulged in all the baked goods and Turkish veggie food I could find. I also buckled down in the middle of the day and got some much needed work done, giving me insight into the co-working culture of the city.


HERE ARE MY picks for best CAFÉS IN ISTANBUL


a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbul #thingstodoistanbul
a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces in Istanbul
a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbultravel #cafesistanbul #thingstodoistanbul
a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city

Swedish Coffee Point

As fate would have it, my AirBnB {which was an actual hole, but more on that later} was right around the corner from what turned out to be my favourite street in Istanbul. The number of vegan and vegetarian eateries along the way were uncountable and there was a café for every step I took. The street was home to Swedish Coffee Point, a tiny café that specializes in manual brew coffee. They serve some vegan and gluten-free pastries and other cabinet foods, but the magic here is in the coffee, speedy internet, and the cool soundtrack.

WORKSPACE FRIENDLY? Yes.

a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbul #thingstodoistanbul
a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbul #travelistanbul #cafeguideistanbul
a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbul #thingstodoistanbul

Journey

This place had such good food and atmosphere that I visited multiple times. The vegetarian pesto “toast” {like a panini}, and the avocado “toast” {again, a panini} were two of my dishes from Journey. Their tea comes served as a full pot and the wait staff is super relaxed. This is the place to come for a chilled out work environment. Think varied seating options, long tables, and good music playing across both floors of the café and eatery. In the evening, the lights are dimmed, making Journey a fab place for date night.

WORKSPACE FRIENDLY? Yes.

Babel

Babel is less of a café and more of a restaurant, but the laid back vibe and the fact that they do serve coffee puts it on this café list. I highly recommend the Mezze Platter {hummus, various dips, and more pita bread than you can handle}. The service is great and so is the coffee. There were many people sipping away the afternoon in Babel, reading or simply people watching. This is the kind of place where you put your phone down and enjoy the Turkish coffee culture— slow afternoons spent reveling in the little things.

WORKSPACE FRIENDLY? No. There was limited WiFi strength and seating/table space. Save this place for a later meal or a date night!

a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbul #thingstodoistanbul #cafeguidetoistanbul

cuma

Do you like the smell of freshly baked cakes wafting through a building that embraces derelict interior design? Then Cuma, near the Museum of Innocence based on the book of the same name, is your new regular coffee joint. The open terrace gives the illusion of relaxing space, despite the café being located up a set of narrow century-old stairs. The Turkish eggs/tomato/capsicum dish, menemen, is a signature here that the eatery is very proud to serve to both locals and tourists who manage to find Cuma.

WORKSPACE FRIENDLY? Kind of. There is space to set up your laptop, but I didn’t check for WiFi, and the vibe of the place isn’t really that of “let’s get shit done”.

a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbul #thingstodoistanbul
a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbul #thingstodoistanbul #cafeguideistanbul

Fida Café

This café on a corner in the colourful Balat neighbourhood was sheer perfection. Listening to Fleetwood Mac as I sat outside eating delicious vegetarian options {you have to try the falafel here}— Fida ticked all the boxes for an ideal summer evening. The limited indoor seating wasn’t a problem, since the good weather had everyone nabbing up seats outside the blue eatery. I didn’t actually have a coffee at Fida, but I can speak to the atmosphere and the food of the place, and both were above average by anyone’s standards.

WORKSPACE FRIENDLY? No, as most of the seating is outdoors and there is no WiFi.

a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbul #thingstodoistanbul
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a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces in Istanbul

Federal Coffee

I heard about Federal Coffee being the Australian roasters in the city and immediately marked it on my Google map. On a sunny morning near Galata Tower, I decided to pop in for a cheeky flat white. The coffee was the best quality {duh, Australia} I had in Istanbul, and I had a lot of good coffee there, so that’s saying something. The food menu is extensive and offers patrons a proper Australian brekkie cook up. There are plenty of tables, plug sockets, and WiFi for remote workers.

WORKSPACE FRIENDLY? Yes.

a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city
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sirin firin | bakery

Just steps from Galata Tower is Sirin Firin | Bakery, a beautiful bakery that serves traditional Turkish breakfast. If you’re looking for good coffee in a prime people-watching location, Sirin should be at the top of your list. Sirin is also fantastic value for money and has a wide range of Turkish baked goods, including simit {a sesame seed bread}. I quite liked the sidewalk seating, which filled up fast in the morning.

WORKSPACE FRIENDLY? Yes.

Velvet café

The similarities between Sirin Firin don’t stop at their proximity to Galata Tower. Like Firin, Velvet Café is the kind of spot locals go to for a traditional breakfast and freshly baked simit. Velvet is a narrow space filled with colourful decorations and coffees and teas here are served up in bright China cups. Tables have doilies sat on them, similar to the ones your American grandmother might like. I recommend Velvet Café for small groups wanting to share a massive Turkish morning feed.

WORKSPACE FRIENDLY? No. There isn’t really enough room for you to work here without taking up precious table space.


MAP

NEED HELP FINDING THE CAFFEINE? I’ve made a map to help you out!


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a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbultravel #cafesistanbul #thingstodoistanbul
a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbul #thingstodoistanbul
a café guide to Istanbul, Turkey: 10 of the best cafés + work spaces across the city #istanbulcafes #istanbultravel #thingstodoistanbul