Istanbul Cafe (CLOSED)

Editor’s note: As of 2017 this restaurant has closed.
628 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
A downtown Cincinnati destination that specializes in Mediterranean, specifically Turkish, cuisine, Istanbul Cafe is popular with groups and larger crowds, specifically for events that might be a little nicer and more upscale. It’s got a following with tourists, a space popular with the local Turkish American population, and brings people in quantity on weekend nights. Plenty of great dishes from kebabs, falafel, lamb dishes, chicken and more. It’s a delightful place, a nicer restaurant that still delivers with friendly service and good food. The restaurant has landed some good reviews in local media, but where it continues to find good ratings, really, is with crowd-sourced reviewing sites.


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The mix of things on the menu is pretty good, and many of the dishes will be good fora couple to split. A few of the good ones:

  • Hummus: Simple as it sounds, the hummus here is an especially good appetizer. Served with warm pita bread, the hummus is just a good enough mix without coming off too oily as they often do.
  • Gyro kebab: This is the kind of kebab with which people are likely most familiar. Lamb meat grilled from a spit, and served very, very juicy. It’s great.
  • Adana kebab: This is a very specific kind of kebab, it’s also lamb meat but it’s seasoned will bell peppers, onion, parsley and a few other things. Then it’s grilled. The end result is a savory, slightly spicy kebab meat. Wonderful!
  • Chicken kebab: Chunks of white chicken meat seasoned with a house sauce. It’s marinated in another great, savory and slightly spicy sauce. The chicken losing nothing in its juiciness.
  • Mixed grill: The three kinds of above meat plus a chicken Adana kebab. Good for two people, with some basmati rice and veggies to make it more filling.
  • Kanafah: A cheese-like dessert dish, texturally like little else you have ever tried in Ohio. Sweet, though, and great!

The service here is great, with the staff being really friendly and the food coming quickly, even when there is a crowd, and there is often one. The restaurant has a bit of an upscale feel, so I would recommend dressing up a bit and being prepared to spend a little, but the restaurant is worth it!

The popularity of this spot is apparent when you check all the online review spots about it, and altogether, the love of this place by those people go a long way. You’ll find this place a very positive experience!


  • Parking is street, but there are a few garages in this area of downtown that charge by the hour, ending up cheaper. So consider that if you’re just coming downtown to eat.
  • The mixed grills feed two or four people and are a perfect match if you like a little bit of variety.
  • The restaurant is upscale and good for a date or a family outing!

Istanbul Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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