Updated on the 2nd of December 2015 – You will find a a wide variety of kebabs in Turkey, the most famous are the Sis kebab (skewered and grilled lamb), the Adana kebab (skewered minced lamb mixed with spices), the Urfa kebab (skewered minced lamb without spice ), the Patlicanli kebab (eggplant stuffed with minced lamb) and many more…
The most famous kebab in the world is the Döner kebab, witch literally means “rotating Kebab” in Turkish. Before taking its modern form, the ancestor of the Doner was the “Çag Kebabi” and it’s mentioned in the Ottoman travel books of the 18th century. It was an horizontal stack of meat from the eastern province of Erzurum.
The famous cook Iskender Efendi is considered as the inventor of the Döner Kebap. In his own family biography he wrote that he and his grandfather had the idea to roast the lamb vertically rather than horizontally because the dropping juice of the cooking marinate the whole stack of meat, giving it a better taste.
We recommend you to taste as a priority:
The “Iskender Kebabi” took it’s name from the cook Iskender and it’s a kind of “Doner kebab” prepared from thinly cuts of grilled lamb, basted with hot tomato sauce over pieces of pita bread and generously slathered with melted sheep butter and yogurt.
Şaşlık is thin slices of beef and onions marinated in sour cream on a skewer, usually cooked to perfection to give a soft texture to the meat
The Adana kebab is a long hand minced grilled lamb meat, juicy and spicy.
The Cop-sis is a speaciality of Ephesus on the Turkish west coast. This are pounded boneless meat with tomatoes and garlic, marinated with black pepper, thyme and oil on wooden skewers. This dish is traditionally accompanied by rocca leaves.
The Testi-kebab is a speciality of Cappadocia. It is a combination of meat and vegetables cooked in their own juice inside a sealed clay pot. When ready, breaking the clay pot is the only way to eat it.
The “koftes” are meatballs of lamb or beef or sometime both, mixed with spices and onions. There is a wide variety of koftes such as the “Inegol kofte” (Mix of lamb and beef), the “Tekirdag kofte” (meat of cattle and lamb chops served with a red pepper sauce) and even cheese stuffed Koftes. (Peynirili kofte).
They are thousands of Kebab restaurants in Istanbul, but despite their abundance, only a few are very good. Here are some addresses we can recommend you during your stay :
Located close to the Taksim Square, this restaurant is a “Ocakbasi” (restaurant with an open grill in the middle). The main attraction of this kind of establishments is to eat around the grill. You may have to book before going there, because the seats next to the grill are always taken. In this area you will find many other Ocakbasi but for us this one is he best. Start with ordering some mezes, I suggest you try the “Kozde Patlican” (mashed grilled eggplant), a Gavurdagi Salata and the Van Tzaztiki. for the main course try a “Cop Sis” or a “Sebzeli Acili sis kebab “(skewered meat with spices and vegetables) ,and, of course, accompany your meal with some cold Raki.
It is a kebab restaurant chain doing things correctly. Everything is good, the quality is constant, the service is good and the prices are quite correct. There are two restaurant that we recommendin particular, the one in Etiler, very friendly and comfortable with a very nice little garden, and the Maçka one, just outside the Swissotel Bosphorus. Remember to book on football games nights as it can get crowded.
link : www.gunaydinet.com
This is a small restaurant in the Nişantaşı district opened only for lunch, and it’s an institution. Again, everything is good and fresh. Tatbak is also known for its lahmacuns, some small Turkish pizzas to roll, and good lentil soup. Very local, we would definitely recommend it for a lunch.
link : www.tatbak.com
Seyhmus Kebap Located in the Sultanahmet district, close to the Grand Bazaar, this is a very tasty place to have lunch. The restaurant serves specialties from the city of Mardin (city famous for its meats and its pistachios). All the meats are prepared with a special method using a hash Zirh, a double-curved handle knife. Kebabs are mixed with herbs and spices, and they come in the traditional elongated form with a respectable selection of hot and cold starters.
Located in trendy district of Etiler, this is the place to go if you want to try a tasty “Adana kebab”. The owner is from the city of Adana, the fifth biggest Turkish city. The ambiance is cosy and the waiters will be more than happy to help you with your order.
Ali OcakbaşıThere are two, one in the Karakoy neighborhood with a view of the old town, and one in the Pera district, and both are very good. The decoration is rather simple compared to other trendy restaurants in these neighborhoods, but here. the real attraction is the delicious food. The entrées (meze) are fresh and tasty, and the meat cooked and grilled to perfection. Whether in Karakoy or Pera, you will then be right next to nice areas to party.
Link : www.aliocakbasi.com
Located in Florya (near the Ataturk airport) the restaurant is one of the oldest kebab restaurant in Istanbul. Although a bit far from the city center, this place is worth a visit! It is luxurious and more expensive than an average Kebab restaurant. Go for a Beyti Kebab, a speciality invented in the kitchen of the restaurant.
BayramogluThis is from far the best doner in Istanbul, although a bit far from the city center on the Asian side, people don’t bother the distance to come and eat the delicious “melting in your mouth “” doner . The place is very authentic, if you are a real foodie you might take in consideration the deplacement, it is worthed
Click on the map to see all the address: