If you are planning a culinary journey to Turkey—a country known for its deep heritage, vibrant culture, and diverse food scene—prepare yourself for a treat. Known as the crossroads of cuisine, Turkey boasts an enticing medley of mouthwatering dishes and exquisite dining spots sure to suit all tastes. This article will guide you through the best places to eat in this culinary haven.
Start your food journey in Istanbul, the commercial capital of Turkey, at the renowned Mikla Restaurant. Popular for its breathtaking views of the cityscape and an unrivaled menu of Turkish-Scandinavian fusion cuisine, Mikla has consistently ranked among the top restaurants worldwide. The stellar innovation in cuisine is credited to Chef Mehmet Gürs, who revolutionized Istanbul's dining scene with his New Anatolian Kitchen.
This restaurant is an epitome of Turkey's diversity. Çiya Sofrası in Istanbul's Kadıköy district offers an array of dishes gathered from every corner of Turkey—serving cuisine from numerous ethnic communities, including Turks, Kurds, and Armenians. You will be greeted by a buffet of salads, vegetables, and stews, and renowned for its regional feast menu.
Located in Ankara, Turkey's capital, the Yüzevler Restaurant is a must-visit for kebab lovers. Yüzevler is famous for its Adana Kebab—a spicy, char-grilled delicacy named after the South Turkish city of Adana. It's no exaggeration to say that Yüzevler serves one of the best Adana kebabs in the country. The restaurant's promise of high-quality meat, combined with traditional techniques, ensure a delightful experience.
A hidden gem situated in the coastal city of Izmir, Banabi stands for its take on Aegean dishes. The restaurant sources fresh produce from their own farm and local purveyors. The menu stars dishes like seabass cooked in a stone oven, or Aegean herbs dressed with local olive oil and lemon. Don't miss their ravishing desserts, especially the 'Kabak Tatlısı'—a baked pumpkin dessert with tahini.
No dining guide in Turkey would be complete without mentioning Gaziantep—an officially recognized UNESCO City of Gastronomy. It hosts numerous top-rated eateries that serve regional specials like Lahmacun (Turkish pizza), and Baklava. Places such as Imam Çağdaş, and Metanet Lokantalari are notable for their local delicacies and desserts.
Turkey's food scene isn't all about high-end dining, though; its street food culture demands exploration.
For any traveler interested in Turkish snacks, Simit Sarayı is highly recommended. Here, you can enjoy 'Simit'—a sesame-encrusted bread ring, akin to a bagel, enjoyed at any time of the day.
If you're after a fresh seafood fix, head over to the Balık Ekmek boats at the Eminönü district of Istanbul. These boats serve freshly caught fish sandwiches (Balık Ekmek), a simple yet delicious staple of Istanbul's street food scene.
Turkey's enigmatic cuisine reflects the country's rich history of cultural exchange and diversity. From traditional Turkish eateries and food streets to avant-garde dining spots, every corner of Turkey offers an opportunity to try something different.
Whether you're seeking a modern gastronomic experience or hoping to delve deep into traditional dishes, the Turkish dining experience is rich, exciting, and unforgettable. This guide only scratches the surface, and every city has its own gastronomical wonders waiting to be explored. So pack your appetite, and get ready to embark on a culinary journey in Turkey. Afiyet olsun (Enjoy your meal)!