Istanbul Restaurant Manchester

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
Ian Jones

Few people have more local know-how than taxi drivers, so when no less than two Manchester cabbies recommend the same restaurant, unprompted, it’s an indicator of something special. And that’s exactly what brings me to Istanbul Restaurant in Cheetham Hill. 

It’s a slick, modern venue, huge and airy, with plenty of black marble and extravagant light-fittings, though it manages to fall on the side of stylish rather than gaudy. The staff can’t be faulted – quick, ready with suggestions and never outstaying their welcome.

Start with the sigara boregi – four piping hot rolls of crispy pastry, stuffed with tangy feta cheese. They’re wickedly salty, lightly balanced with some gentle hints of parsley. It’s a simple dish, superbly executed. Locals don’t come to Istanbul for gaudy, elaborate creations, they come here for great Turkish dishes that taste best when made fresh as possible.

I do, however, make one misstep. Salgam is billed on the menu as a traditional Turkish drink – intriguing. But I fail to read the small print. Turns out it’s an ice-cold drink made from carrot, turnip, garlic and hot pepper, and while I’m sure it’s delicious under the right circumstances, it’s decidedly not what I was craving on a hot sunny afternoon. The taste? Turnip. Turnip all the way down.

But it’s the lamb shank that you’ll come back for. It’s a huge portion – easily enough for two, possibly more – for under £20, and jam-packed full of deeply satisfying flavours. It’s all rich Middle Eastern spices, more warming than fiery hot, resting in a pool of creamy, meaty gravy. It comes with some big chunks of potato and assorted vegetables, all soaked up with the potent herby sauce. And don’t forget the bright, crunchy salad, which comes speckled with a host of spices that combine beautifully.

It’s an utterly glorious main course and explains exactly why the food here is so wildly popular around Cheetham Hill and beyond. Not only that, Istanbul is astonishingly easy on the pocket – choose wisely and you can get a stomach-filling meal for two for under £30. Food, decor and price – five stars all round (not least our erstwhile cabbies).

2 Bury Old Rd, Cheetham HillManchester M8 9JN View map
Telephone: 01617955502 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Monday11:00am - 11:00pm
  • Tuesday11:00am - 11:00pm
  • Wednesday11:00am - 11:00pm
  • Thursday11:00am - 11:00pm
  • Friday11:00am - 11:00pm
  • Saturday11:00am - 11:00pm
  • Sunday12:00pm - 11:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Istanbul Restaurant Manchester

Scream Stab-a-thon at CULTPLEX

Cultplex know you like scary movies, which is why they’ve lined up four of them to kick off their spooky season this October.

from £20.00

Where to go near Istanbul Restaurant Manchester

Event venue
Abraham Moss School

Abraham Moss Community School is a mixed all-through school located on a 19-hectare site situated on Crescent Road in the Crumpsall/Cheetham Hill district of North Manchester, Greater Manchester, England, next to the Abraham Moss Metrolink station.

Broughton Leisure Centre
Event venue
Broughton Leisure Centre

Broughton Leisure Centre is a sports facility located in Salford, Manchester. Broughton Leisure Centre houses a 25m pool and a teaching pool and also has a sauna and steam room.

Cheetham Hill
The Yard

New creative hub The Yard is home to a great little music venue, which tends to attract future-leaning electronic artists.

Albert Park

Albert Park is an important and valued piece of open space which first opened in 1877. Among the park’s main attractions is a fantastic all-weather astro turf pitch,

North City Library

A modern community library space in North Manchester which is shared with North Manchester Sixth Form College.

Hong Kong Choi
Hong Kong Choi

A superb modern Hong Kong-style restaurant on the edge of Manchester city centre, serving up unique dishes created by chefs with Michelin star experience.


Billing itself as Manchester’s home of cult films, video games and cool nerd stuff, Cultplex is a small cinema offshoot of indie street food destination Grub Manchester.

Cheetham Hill
Osaka Local

Wonderful Japanese street food vendor, often found at Grub and other street food events in and around Manchester and the North.

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

The end of summer means the start of gig season. From indie legends to the UK’s most exciting young acts, here's who we'll be watching this autumn.