the cost of grub...

Much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, nonetheless here it is folks: Istanbul is not cheap! It may be somewhat cheaper than some other European cities, but it is certainly not a place where you can have your fill on just a couple of Euros - the famous Kumpir (related post is here>>>) excluded, I guess. And before you even think it - no, I am definitely not talking about tourist place prices, since on this blog I am actually making a point of talking only about places that us locals go to and hang out.

Contrary to popular belief the income level of Istanbul is high, considerably higher than the national average, which according to wikipedia is just above 14000 USD (link is here>>>). And it is not some small, secluded elite either that is enjoying all the goodies - far from it. Just to illustrate the point: Over 5 million cars in Istanbul, hardly any of them over 5 years old.

So having said all this, here is a list of rough estimates as to how much eating out in Istanbul costs:

Eating at a fast food place (Doner kebab stands, burger joints, etc) will cost you from 4 to 8 Euros. Eating at an American type coffee shop, such as Saray (a separate post for Saray is here>>>) for instance, will cost from 8 to 15 Euros. These places do not serve alcohol, by the way. Eating at a café, where you sit down and order your food, will cost you from 10 to 20 Euros. This price does not include alcoholic drinks. If you want wine or beer with your meal it will be more, how much more depending upon your tipple.

Restaurants serving "real" Istanbul food (of which there are actually not too many left, I'm afraid), will cost from 10 to 30 Euros.

Chic restaurants where you would expect to drink wine with your meal will cost you anywhere from 50 to 120 Euros, and even more depending on the quality and reputation of the restaurant.

Kebap houses will cost around 20 to 50 Euros (excluding alcoholic drinks), depending on how well known they are. Quite a few of them also double as taverns at night and if you drink with your meal that will add to it as well, of course. So the lower price I am giving for kebap houses is for meal + soft drinks, whereas the high one is for meal + booze.  Usually a good kebap house will also have great tapas and all kebap houses, definitely serve turkish pastry desserts, especially künefe. (Separate post for good kebap houses is here>>>)

Raki taverns are not cheap, since the tapas do add up, and this includes cheap taverns as well. Definitely count on spending anywhere upwards of 40 Euros and all the way up to 60 Euros if you are in a fancy location for a decent raki meal.

Important note: One thing which often confuses and upsets visitors is that the meze (tapas) hugely add to the bill since each tiny plate is calculated as an extra. And for the amount that is on the plates they are very expensive. They are of course delicious, a real raki meal would be completely unthinkable without them - however they are not cheap! A meal that has raki and tapas will never be less than 30 Euros - even in cheap neighborhoods such as Beşiktaş, Ortaköy or Kadiköy. All this said, go on, be a devil and enjoy - us local folk certainly do from time to time! ;-)

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