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. Muti

    $$$ | Turkish

    Run by a longtime restaurateur from Istanbul, Muti has a diverse, seasonally changing menu influenced by Ottoman cuisine, the cosmopolitan kitchens...Read More

  • 2. Seten Restaurant

    $$$ | Turkish

    Housed in a magnificent old mansion at the top of Göreme's hotel hill, Seten provides a classy setting in which to enjoy a range of top-notch...Read More

  • 3. Ziggy Cafe

    $$$ | Turkish

    The ambience at this Ürgüp favorite is especially inviting—picture attractive table arrangements, richly upholstered armchairs, wrought-iron...Read More

  • 4. Ege Restaurant

    $$$ | Kavaklidere | Seafood

    This charming spot just off fashionable Tunalı Hilmi Caddesi specializes in nicely prepared Aegean-style mezes and seafood dishes (Ege is the...Read More

  • 5. Old Greek House

    $$$ | Turkish

    In the sleepy village of Mustafapaşa, about 5 km (3 miles) from Ürgüp, the charming Old Greek House serves delicious home-cooked specialties...Read More

  • 6. Pumpkin Restaurant

    $$$ | Turkish

    This cozy venue is the place to come for simple home cooking, in the form of a reasonably priced four-course set menu cooked nightly by the...Read More

  • 7. Şıra Restaurant

    $$$ | Turkish

    This intimate restaurant serves well-prepared dishes served in a charming ambience that feels elegant and upscale but not fussy. With beautiful...Read More

  • 8. Çengelhan Brasserie

    $$$ | Ulus | Turkish

    The glass-roofed courtyard of the Rahmi M. Koç Museum (the Ankara counterpart of the Istanbul museum, which focuses on the history of transport...Read More

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