The cuisine of Turkey is diverse, governed by the size of the country, the differing climate, and the proximity to the Mediterranean. The interplay of all these factors and the history of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires create a rich complexity that modern-day restaurants seek to celebrate.
The Turkish community generally gravitates to north London however our pick of the top Turkish restaurants in the capital spans across the boroughs. The level of the competition is high, with numerous restaurants routinely receiving five stars for their authentic cuisine and friendly, efficient service.
Best Turkish restaurants in London
- Address: 60 Penton St, London N1 9PZ
- Phone: 020 3583 6442
Set on a leafy north London Street not far from The Angel, Liman is the brainchild of owners, Berivan and Niyazi. The restaurant was revamped in 2018 and now has fresh modern lines, with exposed brickwork and paintings on the walls.
Choose from the bargain, lunchtime set menu at £13.90 and £14.90 for two and three courses respectively and plenty of choice. The starters are very varied and include dishes such as Braised Aubergine in tomato sauce or Falafel served with fava beans and chickpeas.
Mains are equally extensive and grouped according to land or sea. You can try Grilled Quail with cinnamon barley or an authentic Beef Moussaka, while the fish section has a Mixed Seafood Casserole, containing the freshest calamari, salmon, mussels, and prawns.
The drinks menu has a selection of bottled beers including two Turkish lagers and the wine section is mostly European but also includes two Turkish reds.
Tower Mangal Turkish Restaurants
- Address: 55-57 Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 4TL
- Phone: 020 7357 6853
Just a short walk south from the tourist trap of Tower Bridge you’ll come across Tower Mangal. It’s an authentic Turkish restaurant, which started out as a takeaway 1997. The name Mangal translates as ‘pioneer’ and the owners have been forging a trail, which regularly attracts rave reviews.
The tables are laid out lengthwise making it an ideal destination for larger groups, although there are smaller tables and even a couple outside. On the menu, there are soups to start, along with plenty of choices of hot and cold starters or a meze platter if you want a selection.
For mains, there is a large selection of kebabs in different styles including shish, doner, and kofte, as well as chicken wings, lamb chops and steaks. The fish section includes Seabass, Sea Bream, salmon, and calamari, all cooked on the grill and served with rice or bulgar wheat.
The menu is very extensive and includes further sections on Turkish pizza, salads and sides and dishes for vegetarians. For drinks, you can try Turkish coffee or tea, or Turkish bottled beer.
- Address: 19 Highbury Park, London N5 1QJ
- Phone: 020 7354 5697
The restaurant is named after the town of Iznik, south-east of Istanbul, which is famous for its distinctive ceramic tiles, which have been used to decorate the restaurant. The decor is an Aladdin’s cave of colour and Turkish artefacts, which tastefully convey the complex history and vibrancy of the country.
The menu is shorter than some other Turkish restaurants but even so, there is more than enough authentic Turkish cuisine. The menu starts with soups and hot and cold small plates, where you can choose from dips, stuffed vine leaves and courgette and feta cheese fritters.
Large plates range from vegetables cooked in olive oil to lamb and chicken dishes, which are either grilled or slow-roasted. You can also choose meze-tasting plates, which can be ordered as vegan or vegetarian.
Iznik has won several awards in the past for its vegetarian menu and a Timeout award for Eating and Drinking in London.
- Address: 96 Stroud Green Rd, Finsbury Park, London N4 3EN
- Phone: 020 7619 3933
Halfway between Finsbury Park and Crouch Hill is a crowded route for restaurants, all vying for the public’s attention. Petek Restaurant first stamped its mark when it opened in 2005 and has been receiving glowing praise since for the Eastern Mediterranean dishes they serve.
The interior walls are covered in historic pictures, and colourful plates, while artisan glass lampshades dangle from chains on the ceiling. So, what can you find on the menu? In true Turkish style, there are hot and cold meze plates to start including Sucuk Izgara, and charcoal-grilled spicy beef sausages.
There is then a section of wraps, for kebabs including shish and kofte, before moving on to the main section.
The fish dishes are all chargrilled and include mackerel, salmon, and sea bass. The remainder of the main courses are mostly composed of chicken and lamb kebabs with various dressings such as yoghurt, harissa, and sumac.
For drinks, you can choose between two Turkish bottled beers and the wine list which has several examples of Turkish wine and even a Lebanese one.
- Address: 45 Warwick Way, Lillington and Longmoore Gardens, London SW1V 1QS
- Phone: 020 7828 5940
Cyprus Mangal is a Turkish Meze Bar and Restaurant, which serves the best of Turkish modern and classic cuisine. Established in 2005, the restaurant is in the heart of Pimlico and has a sleek, modern interior with Eastern touches.
Your waiter will bring the first basket of Turkish bread free, with which you can soak up the juices of the numerous hot and cold starters. If you want to try out different flavours you can choose between the hot and cold meze platters or the mixed platter.
Meat lovers will be delighted with the Karisik Kebab or mixed grill, which combines chicken and lamb shish, as well as kofte. A four-course evening Tasting Menu at £29.95 and a lunchtime two-course menu for £13.50 are both a bargain.
Customer reviews repeatedly mention slightly more expensive than other Turkish restaurants but excellent service, amazing food, and large portions.
- Address: 141 Tottenham Ln, London N8 9BJ
- Phone: 020 8341 6261
If you’re looking for a restaurant that has a real buzz when you go out with a group of friends, then word has it Sumak Restaurant is a popular choice. The restaurant is in a bright well-lit cellar, with colourful cityscape murals brightening the walls and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.
There is a choice of nearly 30 hot and cold starters including Baba Ganoush, made from aubergine, pepper, tomato, and tahini, and cooked in olive oil.
Sumak is famous for its array of kebabs, from shish to beyti, as well as an extra section of special kebabs. These include Kleftiko, lamb shank marinated with lemon juice and slow cooked with vegetables.
Sumak’s drinks menu lists Turkish bottled beer and several low-priced Turkish wines to get the party started. To finish off the evening why not try a couple of glasses of raki, the famous Turkish digestif.
- Address: 2 Mastmaker Rd, London E14 9AW
- Phone: 020 7538 9001
Just a short wander from the modern towers of Canary Wharf will take you to Moira Restaurant. An understated restaurant on the first floor, selling some of the best Turkish and Mediterranean dishes in the area and with great views too.
There are fewer hot and cold starters at Moira, compared to other London Turkish restaurants, but there is still plenty of choice for traditional recipes. Main courses include charcoal grills and dishes such as moussaka, both veggie and traditional minced beef.
For meat and fish lovers, there are mixed platters, which have a selection of kebabs and grilled seafood. Moira has a reputation for well-cooked food, where presentation is always well thought out on coloured stoneware.
Beyti Ocakbasi London
- Address: 113 Green Lanes, Newington Green, London N16 9DA
- Phone: 020 7704 3165
Run for the past 16 years as a family restaurant and takeaway Beyti Ocakbasi specialises in traditional Turkish recipes. The restaurant is rustic with Turkish landscapes on the walls and numerous Turkish artefacts creating a homely feel.
Traditional hot and cold starters are served with Turkish bread, or you can choose the mixed meze, which includes eight starters. There is a good selection of traditional kebabs including shish, kofte and the namesake of the restaurant Beyti.
This is ground beef or lamb, grilled on a skewer and served wrapped in lavash, a thin flatbread, and then topped with tomato sauce and yoghurt.
Unusually, Beyti Ocakbasi specialises in seafood platters which include, sardine, trout, and sea bass, which are all served with salad. Vegetarians are well catered for with a selection of traditional dishes including falafel, kebab, and moussaka.
If you visit as a small group of two or three you can take advantage of the two house special menus, one larger than the other, which will give you a good taste of the range of Turkish recipes.
Lots of the online reviews for Beyti Ocakbasi are from repeat customers who enthuse about the friendly staff, large portions and authentic cooking.
ET House Turkish Restaurant
- Address: 151 Fortess Rd, London NW5 2HR
- Phone: 020 7424 9702
Not far from Parliament Hill in North West London ET House Turkish Restaurant has a modern, sleek interior with spotlights along the walls and colourful fabric seating. The restaurant also has a thriving takeaway side to the business operated through Foodhub.
The menu offers a good selection of hot and cold starters, which are competitively priced compared to other restaurants. The range of main courses, mostly different styles of kebab, is enormous, stretching to more than 30 and includes more exotic dishes such as lamb’s liver and grilled quail.
Unusually for a Turkish restaurant, there is a whole section devoted to steak, while desserts are made up of baklava, chocolate cake and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The restaurant offers a selection of soft drinks and waters.
Map of Best Turkish Restaurants in London
When you finally decide on the restaurant you want to eat at it’s well worth familiarising yourself with the special menus that many Turkish restaurants offer. These often include the most popular traditional dishes, which for the price offer a real cost saving over the main menu.
Turkish Restaurants in London: FAQs
What is typical Turkish food?
Typical foods found in Turkey vary with the region. South-eastern Anatolia is noted for its kebabs as it has abundant livestock. While the Aegean has a reputation for vegetable dishes cooked in olive oil and a healthy olive crop. The eastern Black Sea region has a wet climate and so dishes cooked with fish, maize, and cornflour flourish.
What food is served in a Turkish restaurant?
Just a few of the more common restaurant dishes you will find include, Kebap or kebabs served with salads and sauces. A typical meze includes about 20 sharing plates, from bean dishes, salads, and dips with bread.
Hamsi or anchovies are floured and fried whole. Köfte are spiced minced beef rolls, which are fried and served with a pot of hot pepper sauce. Zeytinyağlılar is a vegetable dish cooked in olive oil and then served cold. And for dessert, lokma, are small balls of deep-fried leaved dough soaked in syrup,
What is famous food in Turkey?
Turkey is most famous for its Kebap or kebabs. This is where marinated cubes of lamb, beef, chicken, and fish are pushed onto wooden skewers and cooked over a charcoal fire.
What is the main food of the Turkish?
The Turkish people eat a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet, which includes lots of rice, maize, wheat, and vegetables, often cooked with olive oil. Lamb is used extensively in recipes and the Mediterranean coastline provides a constant source of fish.
What is the most popular meat in Turkish food?
Mutton, lamb, goat, and chicken are most used in Turkish food. Beef is also liked but its cost often puts it beyond the reach of low-income families.