Cafe Istanbul

4.6
104 Reviews
$30 and under
Turkish
Mustafa Guler is no stranger to restaurant, and hospitality business as he spent most of his life in Turkey doing just that.
After arriving to Chicago in the late 90s, he introduced Turkish cuisine to Roscoe Village at Turquoise Restaurant. After serving many Chicagoans the delicious recipes he put together for many years, he decided to seek something different. Upon selling Turquoise in the early 2018, he spent some time in Turkey collaborating with local chefs on traditional recipes.
Summer of 2018 brought his delicious findings, and the chefs he met in Turkey, opening Cafe Istanbul. Stop by at one of the two Cafe Istanbul locations to experience the difference in his traditional twist of Turkish Cuisine prepared by chefs he met himself in Turkey.
Our specialties include wood-roasted lamb doners, chicken gyros, kebabs, pita and thin-crust Turkish pizza with ground beef and seasoned vegetables, all cooked with charcoal or wood.There will also be Turkish pastries and other baked goods.
What 104 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on all time ratings
4.7
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
progress_bar_value foreground of progress bar
progress_bar_background background of progress bar
progress_bar_value foreground of progress bar
progress_bar_background background of progress bar
progress_bar_value foreground of progress bar
progress_bar_background background of progress bar
progress_bar_value foreground of progress bar
progress_bar_background background of progress bar
progress_bar_value foreground of progress bar
progress_bar_background background of progress bar
Sort by
Filters
TS
TravisS
Chicago
1 review
Dined on March 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place had excellent lamb and I don't usually enjoy it. Very nice inside as well.

G
vipGrace
Chicago
46 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

LOVE Cafe Istanbul! Interesting, delicious and plentiful menu items. Friendly and attentive waitstaff.

Kabobs, salmon and gnocchi, trout, and Turkish delight are perfectly prepared and scrumptious!

CM
ChanMan
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Service was great. Food was amazing. Portions were just right for the money. Took some leftover too. Coming back again. Thank you. Already recommended to family and friends.

MC
MelissaC
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall1food1service1ambience2

My fiance and I went there for Valentine's Day this year and the food was not impressive at all. There was no information regarding having to eat the fixed menu but upon arrival that was all that was available to us. Others in the restaurant were able to order other items but we were not. Our waiter was not attentive and our food not impressive. I personally barely ate most of food and felt that none of it had flavor. It was very unfortunate.

A
vipAender
Chicago
57 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

This is one of our goto restaurants and have been here half a dozen times. Friendly services and great food for a good price. Can't go wrong.

TS
TruSerum
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Most of the entries offered need improvements. Quality of the food is poor, particularly when it comes to meats. The lamb tenderloin was overdone and dry, very hard to chew the side dish, potatoes were great. I want to support business like these but honestly, I had better Turkish cuisine in other cities. I hope the restaurant chefs makes significant improvements. I don’t plan on returning back.

J
vipJeremy
Chicago
26 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food...nice place...a little loud but very easy
Nice way to experience something different

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Miami
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

It was a nice place!

SR
vipSeanR
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place, headed back Saturday!

S
vipSebastian
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience3

Good was fresh perfectly cooked. We had the hummus, calamari, lamb shanks . Rice with seafood all excellent. Turkish wine reasonably priced and wonderful . We will go back often . There is free parking which is an additional asset .

L
Lenny
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food

TF
vipThomasF
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food. Staff could not have been nicer.

DL
DorotheaL
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love this place. Our sophisticated British guest had the lamb and said it was the best he had ever had in the US. The server is adorable, so kind and everything was delicious.

DM
DonaldM
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience4

It was a wonderful visit. I heard from a food critic friend that it was good and it lived up ot its reputation.
We had stuffed eggplant which is great, Donner kabab tender and juicy and beef shank also good though I would have enjoyed it to be accompanied by more sauce. I'm sure that if I had thought of it the waitstaff would have obliged. They were efficient and helpful, describing dishes and making solid recommendations. A Saturday early evening was packed with a wonderful assortment of diners, including many Turks. It was a festive atmosphere, with everyone enjoying the experience. A bit busy which was to be expected on a Saturday evening in Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village. Great value for the food and experience.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Really great experience and free parking too!!

AM
AnneM
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The staff is friendly and attentive and the food is delicious!

VG
VillyG
Orlando
5 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I love their Cag Kebab!

DL
DorotheaL
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very kind service, absolutely delicious food. We got a complementary eggplant spread for the toasted bread, and an elegant dessert.

We have been to Istanbul, and the food was spectacular everywhere and this local cafe does a fine job here in the US.

The calamari was very good, charred and chewy. The lamb chops (8 of them!) perfectly cooked.

All in all, a pleasant experience Would not hesitate to come back or recommend it.

VG
VillyG
Orlando
5 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Amazing Cag Kebabi 👍location, parking, service, and food was very Good 👏

T
bTowne
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food! Noise level was just fine on Saturday afternoon. The bread, main course, appetizers were delicious, but the desserts were impressive! I don't know that I'll have baklava anywhere else, this place has the BEST baklava!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Cafe Istanbul’s staff is always very attentive and professional. Their homemade bread is delicious and I’ve loved every single dish that I’ve tried. This is our go-to when an out-of-towner comes in because it’s authentic (so says my cousin who lives in Turkey) and exemplifies how Chicago is a multicultural city! I also love that you can get excellent healthy/clean meals or splurge. There’s something for everyone.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Indiana
2 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely and authentic cuisine. We’ll be regulars here.

A
vipAsooma
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always great food and the staff are incredibly nice and welcoming. Amazing feta salad, its a must every time I go, I try something every time I go and never disappointed. cute outdoor seating for when the weather is nice and nice to people watch.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Columbus
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Such delicious food! Wonderful staff and service.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2019
Overall3food5service3ambience5

They add the tip alreas

OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Enjoyed every bit of it.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and portions were generous. Few places in Chicago do I need to go back, this is one of them.

B
vipBillk
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Surprised how good it was. Great service. Friendly. Decent pricing.

G
vipGrace
Chicago
46 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Lovely restaurant with interesting menu. The trout and vegetables were perfectly cooked and delicious. Others enjoyed the kabobs and eggplant dishes. The servers are very friendly and appropriately attentive. We felt welcomed and were not rushed.

B
vipBrett
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had the best service we’ve ever had at any Chicago restaurant.

5
vip5050505050
Columbus
107 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Good food, nice sized portions, good value lunch special.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was delicious.
Ordered the manti, was very tasty. Came as very cute little dumplings. Will definitely come again :)

L
vipLuke
Chicago
63 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Very good food and value. Warm friendly place. Great mezze and Turkish specialties. A few non Turk dishes as well. ( particularly good short rib and polenta entree). 10.00 corkage. 👍

OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had beautiful experience with my family and friend, it was busy Friday night, service was exceptional and all the food was very tasty. The Fillet Mignon is one of the best in the city, cooked to perfect Medium Rare. Chef Mustafa works very hard to serve excellent food to his guests. Thanks to all the staff making our night special!

SS
SaraS
Des Moines
2 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was a great dinner with delicious food. Great for all ages. Lots of options for vegetarian and meat lovers.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

The food especially the meat dishes are outstanding! It’d be great if there were more wait staff on busy nights. They work hard but struggle. Large parties are asked to order from the fixed price menu which needs to be better advertised. Cafe İstanbul is quickly exceeding the capacity of this location. I’d love to see them in a bigger spot perhaps West Loop or River North.

N
Noneya
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience3

Waitress didn’t give us menus because we were a large group and insisted we get the family style dinner but didn’t tell us the price. When we received our bill it was 2x the amount we would have paid if we had gotten individual plates. Never gonna listen to a waiter or waitress again!

KA
KayaA
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Best Mediterranean food in town, reasonable price. Definitely recommend this restaurant.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were celebrating my Turkish son in laws birthday. Food was delicious. He said it was very authentic. Would definitely go back

AS
AlexS
Chicago
1 review
Dined on July 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love this place. My wife and I don't love going to the same restaurant twice, since Chicago has such a great range of places to enjoy, but Cafe Istanbul never ceases to impress us with every new dish we try.

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from Cafe Istanbul using the Order Online button. Cafe Istanbul also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (773) 661-9487.

Cafe Istanbul is rated 4.6 stars by 104 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.