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  5. Bucktown / Wicker Park
Cafe Istanbul, Chicago, IL

Cafe Istanbul

4.5
4.5
143 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.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 20 times today

Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Cuisines

    Turkish, Mediterranean

  • Phone number

    (773) 661-9487

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Catering

    2014 W Division St Chicago Illinois,

  • Neighborhood

    Bucktown / Wicker Park

  • Parking details

    Private Lot

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Wheelchair Access

What 143 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.5
4.5 based on recent ratings
  • 4.7Food
  • 4.4Service
  • 4.3Ambience
  • 4.4Value

NoiseModerate

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  1. A

    Aycso

    Chicago

    46 reviews

    5.0

    46 reviews

    Dined on November 15, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Excellent food and warm friendly service make Cafe Istanbul a restaurant we will visit again. Space is rather tight and that is the only drawback. Anyone looking for well prepared, flavorful food should make Cafe Istanbul a regular lunch or dinner stop. Highly recommended.
  2. TD

    TahaD

    Chicago

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on November 15, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great food, great service. If you miss Turkish food, you should definitely go!
  3. EB

    EddyB

    Chicago

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on November 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This is one of my go to restaurants in Chicago. If you like Mediterranean food it is off the charts. Seafood and meats some of the best in the city. Salads and appetizers are incredibly fresh. All bread made in house. In My opinion a incredible value and prices are very reasonable
  4. S

    Sandy

    Chicago

    57 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    57 reviews

    Dined on October 29, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Love this place ! Love the food . Nice to have heaters for outside so we can bring our dog .
  5. CG

    ChicagoGirl

    Chicago

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on October 29, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    We were the only non-Turkish people there. My husband and I were in Turkey earlier this year and thought this place did justice to the wonderful experience we had there. The apps were wonderful as was the lamb. And it’s a very nice environment in which to enjoy a meal. We recommend it!
  6. F

    Foodie

    Chicago

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on October 17, 2022

    overall5food5service3ambience5
    We went for dinner a second time at Istanbul Cafe to celebrate a milestone birthday and the food was just as good as the first time we ate there. It was a weeknight so not many diners. The ambience is good and food is just amazing. The service was a bit slow. Apart from that we love this place for kebabs. Excellent place to celebrate a birthday or a date night or family night. We will definitely be back again!!
  7. F

    Foodie

    Chicago

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on October 15, 2022

    overall4food5service4ambience3
    I wish I could have given it a five star across-the-board. However, the tables are really packed, and the noise level is high. The food is absolutely wonderful, however. I was disappointed that the bar is not really full service. I asked for two different mixed drinks, and I was told that the waitress did not know how to make them, and there was no bartender. Except for that, the service was very nice. We will definitely go back because the food is so wonderful. Hopefully, they will be a bartender there so I can order a mixed drink.
  8. TB

    TamarB

    Chicago

    10 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on October 14, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    A friend and I met for lunch. They have good salad options. We shared the hummus appetizer. The restaurant was quiet, and the food we had was good. It’s a reliable, neighborhood spot. I don’t know what the vibe is like at dinner.
  9. DC

    DrewChicago

    Chicago

    85 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    85 reviews

    Dined on October 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This is my second time. My friends and I loved this place. Two of us had the lamb shank. One the chicken kebab and one the onion kebab. Our starters we’re several zucchini and eggplant appetizers. Big portions and excellent flavors. I lived in Istanbul for over 10 years and this really brought me “home”.
  10. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Las Vegas

    2 reviews

    1.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on October 6, 2022

    overall1food5service1ambience2
    The worst experience ever. We had a 6:45 reservation. We arrived at 6:48. There was a massive line to the door. I stood for a while and then went inside. No one even came to us. Some busy servers were running around. I finally got one’s attention to let them know we were there. The entire restaurant was packed, and the server said we would get a table cleaned up for you because they were leaving soon. At the same time, we are standing and watching someone clean the table; the hostess who is working as a server gets people from the bar and sits them down. Another group with 7 pm reservations gets set down before us, and I am like, what is going on? At this point, it was 7:20. My husband and his friend went to a nearby restaurant to see if they could seat us. My question is, if you don’t have space, why did you take so many reservations, or why did you take walks in? The worst is when I told the hostess about this, she didn’t even apologize and walked away. I had to find other servers to ask what was going on. They kept telling us to talk to her, who just kept ignoring us. This wasn’t our first time there, and the hostess, who they said her name was Ana, was very mean, rude, and unwelcoming. She didn’t even apologize to us once or say a word. She just around and walked away. Does she hate Indians that much? Because every time, I have left above 20% tips to the servers since I work in the service industry. Would you do this if it was someone of other race? While we brown people stood there two times groups of white people set down. We were never set down or updated on what was going on. So we left the place. Even though the food is good we will never return here. Oh and they set a group down whose reservations were at 7. And ignored us.
  11. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Phoenix

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 30, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    It was great for anytime dinning and nice enough for special occasions. I definitely recommend this restaurant, we really enjoyed ourselves. The Birthday custard style cake was delicious!
  12. TK

    ThomasK

    Chicago

    13 reviews

    5.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on September 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food was fresh I'm not prepared well, and simply delicious.
  13. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    6 reviews

    3.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on September 3, 2022

    overall3food2service3ambience3
    Went there to celebrate my birthday. When we initially arrived the hostess seemed upset to seat us outside, although there was space to seat us there. One of the servers told her he would make a table for us, thank goodness for him. Once seated outside our waitress was wonderful, she was very friendly and offered suggestions. The food, it was ok. My husband who is never picky didn’t care for the lamb he ordered. He felt it was over cooked. My chicken kebabs were salty. To play devils advocate, my husband and I love Mediterranean, Middle eastern food, which is why we had higher expectations for the place. The food was overpriced as well. We don’t mind spending as much as we did if at least the food and overall service wowed us. However, the Turkish wine and the Baklava was tasty. Will I go back? No, it was a one and done for me. Should you try this place? Sure, you may have a different experience than we did.
  14. G

    Grace

    Chicago

    46 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    46 reviews

    Dined on August 26, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    Attentive service. Interesting variety of dishes. Flavorful lentil soup and lamb wrapped in eggplant. Delicious bread and carrot spread.
  15. DC

    DrewChicago

    Chicago

    85 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    85 reviews

    Dined on August 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Birthday lunch with friends in the patio. I lived in Turkey for over 10 years and this menu is very authentic. Great service. We will return.
  16. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Washington DC

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 7, 2022

    overall4food5service4ambience4
    Great patio experience :) huge servings!!
  17. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 7, 2022

    overall1food2service1ambience1
    Sat inside and the air conditioner was not functioning well. Sat next to the window and a lots of fly around us. Service poor and the food was cold. I will never come back again
  18. A

    Anonymous

    Chicago

    7 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on July 29, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We’ve been to Cafe Istanbul at least 10 times and we leave super satisfied and happy every single time. There’s simply nothing better on a sunny day than sitting out on their patio with a bottle of wine a table full of delicious breads, salads and grilled meats. Everything is cooked and seasoned to perfection, it’s really no surprise this landmark has been there for 40 years. The service is great and they made my mother’s birthday a special and memorable meal. Just good vibes all around.
  19. JD

    JDFGems

    Chicago

    10 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on July 16, 2022

    overall4food5service3ambience4
    The food here is outstanding. The onion kebab is one of the best dishes I’ve eaten in quite a while! My husband loves the doner kebab, he says it’s like a warm hug of flavor and I have to agree. The service can be a bit spotty, but the food makes up for it tenfold. In the past I’ve have had a few issues getting food delivered from here, so I prefer to dine in and enjoy it if the occasion arises. Prices skew a bit higher than I would expect, but the quality of the food is worth it.
  20. A

    Alona

    Chicago

    33 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    33 reviews

    Dined on May 22, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Tasty food, good selection and fair value. Everyone is still raving how great this restaurant is. We’ll be back.
  21. P

    Pete

    Chicago

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on May 14, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Always a great meal!
  22. CS

    CSSchicago

    Chicago

    71 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    71 reviews

    Dined on May 7, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We had not been to cafe Istanbul and we really enjoyed everything. The food was excellent and plentiful. The bread especially was delish. Our server was recently immigrated here from Ukraine and was excellent. It was a delightful evening and I can’t wait to go back.
  23. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Staff is tentative, food is VERY delicious, ambiance is good, a consistent favorite.
  24. P

    Pete

    Chicago

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on March 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I’ve never had a bad experience here. We went for my fiancee’s birthday and they surprised us with dessert which was very nice. Make sure to get the manti, it’s one of the most unique dishes I’ve had anywhere. Absolutely delicious.
  25. TR

    TRoo

    Chicago

    19 reviews

    5.0

    19 reviews

    Dined on March 6, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The food is always sooo good and sooo fresh! We love it! Can't wait to go back!
  26. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Detroit

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 6, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Everything was great!
  27. G

    Ginny

    Chicago

    10 reviews

    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on February 20, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This is by far my favorite restaurant! Anything you order is packed with flavor. I love the pide, the lentil soup (best I’ve ever had in my life) and has created the love of Turkish coffee for me. Truly amazing. I will come back for all of my special occasions!
  28. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on February 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Nice atmosphere, attentive staff, and refined, well executed dishes set cafe Istanbul apart.
  29. KH

    KatieH

    Chicago

    5 reviews

    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on February 13, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience5
    Great food and great service. Definitely will be back!
  30. m

    morris

    Chicago

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on February 11, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Everything is great! one of the best onion soup I've ever had!
  31. BF

    BrennanF

    Chicago

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 20, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing as always! Super friendly with incredible food.
  32. CS

    CalS

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 16, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food was amazing! We really enjoyed the experience and Turkish food. It’s an intimate restaurant but never felt too cramped or loud.
  33. DW

    DyrellW

    Orlando

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on January 7, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    5/5, highly recommended!
  34. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Memphis/West TN

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 30, 2021

    overall3food3service4ambience4
    Cafe Istanbul is alright. I’ve been to much better Turkish restaurants in the States. They are a little overpriced.
  35. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    6 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on December 25, 2021

    overall3food3service3ambience3
    Good place to stop in to have a drink.
  36. V

    Vindaloo

    Chicago

    10 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on December 23, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Excellent food. Fish was especially good. Limited wine list but interesting and affordable. Attentive service.
  37. DD

    DenisD

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 20, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Excellent food and service. Nice and cozy restaurant.
  38. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    24 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    24 reviews

    Dined on December 10, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This place is awesome! All foods are so good. Staffs are so nice too. I’ll definitely keep coming back.
  39. TS

    TravisS

    Chicago

    1 review

    5.0

    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.
  40. G

    Grace

    Chicago

    47 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    47 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!

FAQs

Cafe Istanbul does offer delivery in partnership with Chow Now. Cafe Istanbul also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (773) 661-9487.

Cafe Istanbul is rated 4.5 stars by 143 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 20 times today
Google Map for Cafe Istanbul

2014 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622-3154

Additional information

  • Neighborhood

    Bucktown / Wicker Park

  • Cuisines

    Turkish, Mediterranean

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Parking details

    Private Lot

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Wheelchair Access

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