Simits, Pide and Künefe: Familiar Turkish Favorites

While in Istanbul, our taste buds were exposed to a lot of new sensations. But some of our favorite discoveries were familiar standards, common to every country, given a slight Turkish twist. Simits are Turkish bagels, a pide is a Turkish pizza, and künefe… well, that’s just Turkish heaven.

Turkish Simits

Simits are usually purchased from roving street vendors who are either pushing carts or balancing towering stacks on their heads. But we were lucky enough to eat them in the best way possible: early in the morning, straight out of the oven. The Tophane Tarihi Taş Fırın bakery was found conveniently between our apartment and the tram, and their freshly-baked simits quickly and firmly established themselves as our preferred on-the-go breakfast. These sesame-covered bread rings strike the perfect balance between crunchy and chewy.

Pide pizza

Some foods, such as liver kebab, require working up a bit of bravery. And then there’s the pide, which requires no courage at all. It’s just a canoe-shaped pizza, packed with familiar things like meat, sausage, cheese and egg, buttered and baked to crispy perfection, then sliced into horizontal strips and served. Delicious. We’ve had excellent pide at Şimşek Pide near Taksim Square, and especially at Hocapaşa Pidecisi by Sirkeci Station.


Another immediate favorite was künefe, which we first tried at the Akdeniz Hatay Sofrası, but later sampled in many, many other places. Layers of cheese and flour cooked in a copper dish and then drenched in syrup and covered in pistachio sprinkles. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Yes it does, and although we always feel an acute sense of shame while shoveling syrupy, stringy bites of cheese into our faces, we were never able to resist.

Locations: Tophane Tarihi Taş Fırın | Şimşek Pide | Hocapaşa Pidecisi

More Simit!

Istanbul Simit seller
Simir store istanbul
Simit bakery
Simit bakers oven
Perfect simit with sesame

More Pide!

Making pide in Istanbul
Pide oven
Pide Baker
Pide restaurant in Istanbul
Where to eat pide in Istanbul
Pide Pizza Photo
Cut Pude with ground beef and egg.
Sausage Pide

More Künefe!

How to make Künefe
Künefe with pistachio

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Chic Soufflé

    Oh, how I would love to have these right now…ALL of them, in no particular order. 🙂 These were 3 of my favorite foods from Istanbul! Simple, ubiquitous, and delicious. Love the making-of videos.

  2. Caner Cangul

    You can try also “pide” at Karadeniz Pidecisi in Fatih. I miss künefe; i can not find here (Kiev)

  3. Skraal

    How I’d love to have any of them right now. Can’t wait to get to Turkey in September and October.
    I enjoy your blog tremendously, thanks guys!

    1. Juergen Horn

      Thank you for the tip! We added Karadeniz Pidecisi in Fatih to our list of places we want to check out. If you have more tips, please let us know 🙂

  4. I LOVE this post! I ate my way around Istanbul, and as a lover of bagels in a country that doesn’t believe in them, we definitely got our carb fill!

  5. Sam

    I love pide! So filling and so cheap! But I found künefe just plain weird. I couldn’t get over the texture!

  6. Caner Cangul

    Jurgen,It is the time to see “bird immigration” to Europe. Thousands of storks and wild birds over you. If you interested in, you can go to this place: to Sariyer Haciosman Metro Station and take on the bus Rumelifeneri, No:150  (every 40 minutes and road time 35-40 minutes) If i were Istanbul, we could do it. But only an advise now.

  7. halil

    kunefe’s origin  from hatay in turkey,pide’s origin from konya but i dont know where is  simit’s origin it is our cultural desire i think

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