Turkey has one of the most diverse cuisines in the world, which is why it’s no surprise that there are so many great restaurants to choose from. But, because this country’s cuisine is so complex and varied – with different regions producing different styles of food – choosing where to eat can be a daunting task. Fear not! This blog post will help you make your decision much easier by listing 14 restaurants across Turkey that are worth checking out for their incredible food and fantastic service.
The good news is that not all of the best restaurants in Turkey are in Istanbul. In this list, we have included some great Turkish restaurants from nearly every region of Turkey, which means you’re sure to find one that suits your location and taste. Whether it’s the Aegean or South-Eastern part of this beautiful country, there is definitely a great restaurant waiting for visitors like yourself!
1. Seki Restaurant, Cappadocia
Photo credit: Seki Restaurant
Seki is located within the world-famous hotel Argos Cappadocia. This Turkish restaurant is built inside one of the oldest and largest monasteries in the world and has won a huge collection of awards both nationally and internationally.
From the moment you enter Seki, it’s clear that this is more than just another place to eat. The menu has something for everyone with options ranging from slow-cooked meats and artisanal pastas, all of which are made using local produce in some way or another!
There is nothing quite like the Mushroom fettuccini pasta served at Seki. The stunning interior is as enchanting as the food on offer. You will understand why when you try the crispy duck leg with prune marmalade, grilled figs, and sour cherry sauce. Even if you’re not a foodie, you’ll miss out if you don’t taste the charbroiled vegetable platter. You can thank us later.
2. Ferdi Baba Restaurant, Alaçatı
Photo credit: Ferdi Baba Restaurant
For a number of reasons, including the popularity among celebrities and rich Turks alike- it’s no surprise that there are some great restaurants in this little town called Alaçatı.
One of these restaurants is Ferdi Baba; suppose you wanted to eat your way through an aquarium but wanted your dishes to have the same unique flavors that other dishes get to have. This spot is one of the better fish restaurants.
Ferdi Baba boasts irresistible food such as the seafood kokoreç (Deniz mahsullü kokoreç) with its fragrant cumin-heavy aroma and mustard flavored anchovies (Hardallı Hamsi).
The desserts are no less extraordinary. The raspberry (frambuazlı süfle) or the almond-honey (bal badem) souffles all burst in your mouth like a sweet kiss.
The breathtaking views of the Agean sea, fantastic food, and sublime service makes this restaurant one of the best in Turkey.
3. 7 Mehmet, Antalya
Photo credit: 7 Mehmet
With marvelous views, a well-stocked bar, and a fantastic selection of breakfast dishes, starters, and main courses, this is the place for a late breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or even better, an all-day-long gastro feast.
There’s a wide variety of egg-based dishes (yumurta): if you want it with spicy, garlicky Turkish sausage (sucuklu yumurta), with minced meat (kıymalı yumurta) or tangy Turkish omelet (menemen), you’re in luck!
You have the meze classics, and then you have inspirational twists such as the acılı haydari cevizli; thick tzatziki with a hint of crunchy walnuts and alluring chili. The lahana sarma (stuffed cabbage) is out of this world. Those are just the starters!
When you do visit, don’t neglect the main courses and specials. You might find a delicious diet-friendly avocado salad (avokadolu kırma salata) with its seasonal greens, avocado, cauliflower with a dressing consisting of zesty lemon and olive oil sauce. Further, if you miss the tandoori goat with its bergamot jam and rice with pineapples and almonds (oğlak tandır), you may regret it.
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4. Platoda Mola, Rize
Photo credit: Platoda Mola
This spot is not only the perfect place for a fairy-tale escape into the country; this may also be one of the best restaurants in Turkey for a taste of Black Sea cuisine. Your hosts will create exquisite dishes with ingredients from their chickens, garden, or natural dairy products.
The menu hosts various delights such as freshly made bread, handmade jams, and cute cookies (kurabiye). If the hot tea doesn’t warm your soul, then perhaps the traditional Turkish cuisine will. The stuffed black cabbage (kara lahana sarması), the selection of pastries (böreks), mıhlama (melted regional cheese with cornflour), and the brilliant stewed white bean dish (kuru fasulye) will have you feeling like a local.
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5. Turk Fatih Tutak, Istanbul
Photo credit: Turk Fatih Tutak
To describe Fatih Tutak, the famous Turkish chef, as anything less than ‘world class’ would be unfair. With an ever-changing, seasonal menu, this spot is a favorite in the contemporary restaurant scene. It may be the exemplary service, the innovative approach to the local cuisine, or Tutak’s support for local wine producers.
While there is no average food served at Turk Fatih Tutak, if you’re lucky enough, you may get to try the persimmon with buffalo cream (cennet hurması, mandağa kaymağı). If so, you may wish to pair it with a rich Turkish wine from the Anatolia regions.
This restaurant has been open for less than two years, but Tutak’s experience of working with some world-class chefs makes his place one of the best places to dine in Turkey, and it’s only gotten better since then.
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6. Kebapçı Halil Usta, Gaziantep
Küşleme – Photo credit: Kebapçı Halil Usta
Gaziantep is the culinary capital of Turkey, and many famous Turkish foods you can find all across the world have emerged from this city. Baklava, içli köfte, shish kebab, lahmacun, beyran, and even katmer are just a few examples that prove how great the Gaziantep’s contribution to world cuisine is!
There are dozens of fantastic restaurants in Gaziantep, but our pick for this list of best restaurants in Turkey is Halil Usta.
The generous portions combined with the top-quality lamb meat and low prices ensure that this eatery is a carnivore’s paradise.
Start your feast with the küşleme, fatless and nerveless, derived from the sheep’s neck, is cut into small pieces, and grilled over charcoal. Küşleme is rare meat as only 100 grams can be found in the whole sheep. Then try the local favorite: the succulent “simit kebab”.
The kebabs at Kebapçı Halil Usta will be a culinary experience you won’t soon forget.
7. Deniz Restaurant, Izmir
Photo credit: Deniz Restaurant
Located in the country’s third-largest city Izmir, Deniz Restaurant, serves Aegean cuisine and local seafood at their finest. This restaurant offers three tasting menus with exotic meals at its heart. The stuffed sardines (sardalya dolması), seafood pancakes (Deniz mahsüllü krep) and the ‘sea pastry’ (Deniz börek) could easily qualify this restaurant to be one of the best restaurants in the country. The fish’ meatball (Deniz köftesi) pairs so well with the rakı that we’re surprised that it’s not more famous.
The fantastic service provided by the three brothers in charge is well-known to locals and tourists alike, with tables on offer for booking ahead.
Related content: 12 Most Delicious Turkish Mezes to Cement that Friendship
8. Orfoz Restaurant, Bodrum
Photo credit: Orfoz Restaurant
Bodrum is one of the most popular destinations in Turkey. With its beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, thrilling nightlife, and world-class restaurants, it’s no wonder why this coastal city attracts superyachts, cruises, and international celebrities.
Among these great restaurants in Bodrum, Orfoz is the one that stands out. With its amazing views and delicious food, it’s no wonder why Orfoz has been consistently ranked among some of Turkey’s top dining spots!
The progressive tasting menu at Orfoz is one of the best in Turkey. You can add on extras, but the mains are enough to satisfy you wholly. There’s nothing quite like watching the sunset while you eat delectable parmesan oysters (parmesanli istiridye) with a glass of the award-winning sparkling Kavaklidere Altın köpük wine.
The homemade chocolate tastes better than it sounds. Those on a diet will find that the regional fruits are so sweet that we may as well call them ‘the cheerleaders for dieters.’
9. Mikla, Istanbul
Photo credit: Mikla Restaurant
For more than 15 years, Mikla has been shaping and pioneering the fine-dine scene in Istanbul. The restaurant is still on every list of best restaurants to visit in Istanbul for its innovative dishes with an amazing atmosphere that never loses sight of quality or creativity!
The chef-owner, Mehmet Gürs, impresses with every dish on the menu! Can we just take a moment to gush about the Turkish ravioli served here? The roasted garlic adds a little sweetness. Combined with the smoked buffalo yogurt, it raises this dish to heights that others still struggle to reach.
Moreover, the restaurant also kindly caters to people with different dietary requirements. The Pumpkin & Celeriac dish is so good that it’ll convince you to turn vegan. Once you finish eating, you may wish to visit the rooftop bar to listen to live music. The bar has both local and imported varieties with its alcohol. Further, the Istanbul skyline, including the Golden Horn and the Hagia Sophia, is awe-inspiring during sunset.
Related content: List of Turkish Soups and their Recipes
10. Floryalı Restaurant, Izmir
Photo credit: Floryalı Restaurant
Imagine walking into a restaurant and having your choice of top-quality organic meat. If that sounds like your idea of fun, this restaurant is for you. Along with your kebabs and grills, spend the night in merriment with a glass of rakı with good views from the terrace. No meal is complete without the çoban salad with colorful tomatoes, green cucumbers, olives, and buttery cheese. If you’re a fan of lemon, you can add a slight tanginess to it as well. You don’t need to memorize any names; point and choose.
11. Maçakızı, Bodrum
Photo credit: Maçakızı
The Istanbul-born chef Aret Sahakyan creates each dish as a work of art, even granola. Sahakyan is known for using food as a canvas and serving only the freshest organic produce.
The colorful dishes at Maçakızı definitely take the cake. The short ribs served with wild Bodrum herbs will make your mouth water even before you taste it! The menu at Maçakızı is a perfumer’s dream, with the enticing local aromas emerging from each dish.
12. Elai, Cappadocia
Photo credit: Elai
Located in the fairy-tale land of Cappadocia, Elai restaurant offers one of the most extraordinary views in the world. This Ottoman-styled, Turkish/international fusion restaurant is so scenic that even waiting for your dishes in itself is a sweet memory.
You can get lost in the spectacular views on a summer’s day, or alternatively, during a winter evening, you can choose to warm yourself up with a glass of Turkish wine while you watch the flames from the fireplace dance.
Perhaps the first dish you’ll decide to try will be the rocket salad with the sweet yet scrumptiously tart cherry sauce (vişne soslu roka salatası). You know you’ll never see salads the same again. Accompanying the smooth jazz will be any one of the unbelievable main courses.
That could be the meat dishes like the Beef Satay with its mouth-watering sesame, soya, and garlic flavors. If you want to go wild, the poppy seeded salmon (haşhaşlı somon izgara) with its zingy and buttery sauce will take you on a gastronomic journey.
Related content: The 10 Best Turkish Wines That Every Wine Lover Must Try
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13. Neolokal, Istanbul
Photo credit: Neolokal
Neolokal has a mission to serve guests and model their business on traditions while innovating with sustainable practices. The food is designed from recipes inspired by mother earth and those of traditional cultures; they’re examining these dishes for authenticity to keep this tradition alive through innovation. Neolokal is a neologism of the words ‘neo’ (new) and ‘local,’ so it’s no surprise that the owner-chef Maksut Aşkar is lovingly renovating his mother’s traditional flavors.
Tucked away in the corner of Istanbul, this restaurant has an extraordinary menu and serves up fantastic views of the Golden Horn through its floor-to-ceiling windows. Our favorite food here is sea bass served with a tasty confit garlic cream. The Frigo iced chocolate drizzled mahleb cake is a dessert that you’ll revisit in your daydreams.
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14. Metanet Lokantası, Gaziantep
The menu is relatively small, but everything served in this intimate restaurant is prepared with heart and soul. The aubergine kebab (Patlıcan Kebabı) has an appetizing smoky flavor, but their signature dish is Beyran soup. Metanet Lokantası, in particular, serves one of the best Beyran in Turkey with its rich flavors that will leave your mouth watering for more.
Although it may not be considered one of the luxury restaurants in Turkey, this is one of the best restaurants to visit if you want an amazing meal made with top-quality ingredients and with generous portions at a fraction of that luxury price.
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