Cappadocia and Central Turkey Restaurants

Central Anatolia is the one region in Turkey that does not touch water, so fish has to be trucked or flown in. Be prepared for a lot of meat served in various permutations, including kebabs and stews. In Cappadocia, popular specialties include lamb roasted in a tandır, or underground pit, and meat cooked in a testi, a type of earthenware vessel. In Konya you'll see etli ekmek (flatbread topped with ground lamb and sometimes cheese) as well as local dishes, such as okra soup. Main courses in the region are often preceded by a delicious array of mezes—most notably warm hummus served with pastırma (Turkish pastrami), the local specialty.

In Cappadocia and Ankara, restaurants that cater to tourists serve beer, wine, and liquor, including rakı. In Konya and other conservative towns, however, alcohol can be quite difficult to find. The inhabitants of Cappadocia have been making wine for thousands of years, though the modern revival of the industry is still somewhat in its fledging stages. Of the local varietals, whites like the Emir tend to be better than reds, which include the Kalecik Karası. Vintners are also producing increasingly successful wines with grapes from other regions of Turkey, as well as foreign ones like Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Whatever you eat and drink, you'll likely dine in atmospheric surroundings—restored kervansarays (old-fashioned inns), caves, Ottoman mansions, and garden patios. In some traditional restaurants you'll sit on cushions on the floor, and your meal might be accompanied by live music.

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  • 1. Bizim Ev

    $$ | Turkish

    This restored old stone house makes a pleasant setting for Bizim Ev (“Our House”), which attracts many tour groups with reliable food at reasonable...Read More

  • 2. Center Restaurant

    $$ | Turkish

    It's far from fancy, but this unpretentious local favorite on the town square is one of Uçhisar's best places for reliably good food at fairly...Read More

  • 3. Gülbahçesi Konya Mutfağı

    $$ | Turkish

    The terrace of this restored mansion has one of the best views of the adjacent Mevlâna tomb complex. Though the food isn't much above what you...Read More

  • 4. Konak Konya Mutfağı

    $$ | Turkish

    A mansion down the road from Mevlâna's tomb is a lovely setting in which to enjoy local specialties. The baby okra soup, with its flavorful...Read More

  • 5. Orient Restaurant

    $$ | Turkish

    The menu at this longtime Göreme restaurant is extensive and diverse. Typical mezes and grilled kebabs are served, in addition to a range of...Read More

  • 6. Somatçı Fihi Ma Fih Restaurant

    $$ | Turkish

    By far the most unique restaurant in Konya, Somatçı is the project of a passionate local chef who spent several years recreating dervish cuisine...Read More

  • 7. Şömine

    $$ | Turkish

    Right on Ürgüp's main square, this welcoming lair takes its name from the fireplace in the center that warms guests in winter; in summer, you...Read More

  • 8. Zenger Paşa Konağı

    $$ | Ulus | Turkish

    The top floor of this restored 18th-century Ottoman mansion in the citadel has panoramic city views from a rustic dining room, while the antiques...Read More

  • 9. Tike

    $$ | Kavaklidere | Turkish

    At this Istanbul-based kebab chain, the excellent mezes include mütebbel, chopped smoked eggplant and garlicky yogurt topped with ground pistachios...Read More

  • 10. Washington Restaurant

    $$ | Ulus | Turkish

    Don't expect to be wowed by the food, as the menu is far from cutting-edge, but the draws are the city views and the old-school ambience of...Read More

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