Baklava & beyond: What are the best Turkish restaurants in London?

Craving a taste of Turkey in the heart of London? Well, good news! We’re here to help you choose from the many Turkish restos London offers! From kebabs to meze, London’s Turkish restaurants are crafting a mosaic of flavours that’ll make your taste buds dance. 

So if your idea of Turkish cuisine stops at baklava and kebabs, it’s time to spice up your culinary repertoire. Join us as we uncover the best Turkish restaurants in London, where each dish tells a story as rich as the history it hails from.

E Mono

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Location: 285-287 Kentish Town Rd, London NW5 2JS, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7485 9779

Website

This unassuming gem, nestled in the heart of Kentish Town, doesn’t look like a palace of gastronomy. Picture a humble space with just a handful of chairs lining a long, narrow room and a kebab shop counter that’s as familiar as an old friend. 

Still, the food is great and the service is solid. Interestingly enough, though, what this pub is really known for is their feud with another London joint that dared to snatch their name – a name that’s been gracing this spot for a whopping 150 years. 

It’s like a culinary version of Highlander: “There can be only one”. And let me assure you, these guys wear the crown as the undisputed kings of the game.

Zahter 

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Location: 30 – 32 Foubert’s Pl, Carnaby, London W1F 7PS, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7775 156768

Website

Zahter takes flatbread to a whole new level, emerging from the hot coals and pizza oven as some of the city’s finest. And let’s not forget the grilled dishes that grace your table – each one a masterpiece in its own right. 

While the temptation to go for the classic kebab is real (and rightly so), the catch of the day, grilled to perfection and adorned with a house-made chimichurri sauce, deserves a standing ovation.

The Counter  

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Location: 108 Golborne Rd, London W10 5PS, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7500 612914

Website

The chefs at The Counter are the mavericks of Turkish cuisine. They’re not afraid to colour outside the lines, infusing babaganoush with chocolate (yes, it’s incredible). 

The live-fire grill is their playground, and they wield it like culinary virtuosos, creating dishes that are nothing short of impressive.

Plus, they have a great cocktail menu that uses Turkish ingredients to craft something both avant-garde and comfortingly familiar. It’s the kind of drink menu that elevates your dining experience from ordinary to extraordinary.

Atesh

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Location: 235-241 High St, Croydon CR0 1QR, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8680 5500

Website

Once you set foot inside Atesh, you’re met with a modern aesthetic that’s a feast for the eyes. Exposed brick, sleek black metal, and elegant chandeliers, all bathed in a warm, dim glow, create an ambience that’s as inviting as it is stylish.

But let’s get down to recommendations. While every dish is a winner, the mezze platters steal the spotlight, encouraging communal dining experiences with an array of delightful flavours. 

And if we had to pick a favourite, the chicken shish is a crowd-pleaser that never fails to leave taste buds singing its praises.

Gökyüzü 

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Location: Southend Road, Chingford Rd, London E4 8TA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8527 4927

Website

At Gökyüzü, anticipate nothing less than a feast of fresh and chargrilled delights, from slow-cooked meats that melt in your mouth to vibrant vegetable mezze platters that celebrate the essence of Turkish cuisine.

Now, let’s talk about a meal that’s more than just a refuelling stop – the traditional Kahvalti, or Turkish breakfast. At Gökyüzü, this morning ritual is elevated to an art form, served daily from 8 am to 4 pm. 

Mangal 2 

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Location: 4 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 7XN, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7254 7888

Website

For those wary of diving headfirst into the uncharted waters of Mediterranean cuisine, Mangal 2 is the perfect entry point. Take, for instance, their dish using the rib of a retired dairy cow – a savoury testament to the delicate dance between adventurous flavours and approachability. 

However, a word to the wise: portions here are on the petite side, and the price tags are on the lofty end. Approach with caution, and perhaps an extra coin or two in the pocket.

Black Axe Mangal

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Location: 156 Canonbury Rd, London N1 2UP, United Kingdom

Contact: [email protected]

Website

Emerging from the pandemic lockdowns with a cheeky wink and a tongue-in-cheek name, Black Axe Mangal, or F.K.A.B.A.M (Formerly Known As Black Axe Mangal), has become a culinary phoenix rising from the ashes. 

Regardless of the moniker you associate with this spot, one thing is undeniable – it’s a heavyweight contender in the realm of Turkish restaurants in North London, delivering an unbeatable fusion of atmosphere and flavour.

Now, let’s talk about the twists in Turkish flavours. This place rewrites them. Picture this: squid ink flatbread that’s as daring as it is delicious. It’s the kind of culinary rebellion that makes you question everything you thought you knew about Turkish cuisine. 

Kibele

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Location: 175-177 Great Portland St, London W1W 5PJ, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7436 0600

Website

With a substantial Muslim population, finding an authentic halal Turkish restaurant is a treasure, and Kibele is a culinary gem offering traditional lunches and dinners.

The menu here is a harmonious blend of diverse flavours, and one standout recommendation is the spicy chicken skewers, a dish served with rice and salad that’s bound to ignite your taste buds.

Here, you’ll even dine against a backdrop of Turkish dancers, musicians, singers, and DJs, transforming your meal into a cultural symphony that’s as visually captivating as it is delicious.

Kervan Sofrasi Restaurant

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Location: 183 High Rd, London N22 6BA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8888 1422

Website

This restaurant offers an authentic Turkish breakfast experience that’s a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. Their set menu, complemented by complimentary tea, features delightful offerings like bagels (acma) and Turkish menemen, perfect for tables of two or more.

But here’s the secret: even if you miss the breakfast window, Kervan Sofrasi has your back. The menu extends beyond morning delights to a tantalising array of options. 

From soul-warming soups to hearty stews, fresh seafood, flavorful wraps, and expertly grilled meats, there’s no shortage of choices to satiate your hunger throughout the day.

Yeni

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Location:  55 Beak St, Carnaby, London W1F 9SH, United Kingdom

Contact: [email protected]

Website

Despite their opulence, Yeni maintains a laid-back ambience across two inviting floors. Nestled in the heart of Soho, it’s an independent Turkish gem with an ever-changing menu, ensuring that each visit unveils new delights to savour. 

The charm lies not just in the luxurious setting but in the anticipation of culinary surprises that beckon you to return time and again.

Now, let’s talk about the stars of the show – the manti beef dumplings and the duck breast sharing platters. These dishes are not just reasons to visit, they’re the headlining acts in Yeni’s culinary spectacle, a feast for the senses that transcends the ordinary.

Ev Restaurant

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Location: The Arches, 98 Isabella St, London SE1 8DD, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7620 6192

Website

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill Turkish spot. It’s a rendezvous with luxury that won’t leave you gasping at the bill. Perfect for a date night that combines sophistication with affordability, this is a haven where Turkish and Mediterranean flavours collide in a gastronomic dance.

Let’s talk recommendations – the lamb kofte with bulgur wheat and salad is a showstopper, a dish that’ll have your taste buds doing a happy tango. Equally impressive is the grilled salmon with veggies, a testament to Ev’s prowess in the kitchen. 

While the main dishes lean towards the carnivorous, fear not, vegetarians – the mezze, soups, and sides are a plant-based paradise and some of the finest Turkish fare that London has to offer.

Antepliler 

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Location: 45-46 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, Harringay Ladder, London N4 1AG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8802 5588

Website

Antepliler is a culinary powerhouse that stakes its claim on a substantial block, boasting a restaurant on one side and a cafe on the other. It’s a two-for-one deal that’s too good to pass up. 

The restaurant’s grill is a magician’s workshop, conjuring excellence with every sizzle. And when you’ve had your fill, don’t even think about leaving without indulging in the baklava – it’s a sweet finale that’ll linger on your taste buds like a fond memory.

Diyarbakir

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Location: 52-53 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, Harringay Ladder, London N4 1AG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8802 5498

Website

Named after the Anatolian city, this gem goes beyond just a meal – it’s a budget-friendly feast that keeps on giving. Let’s talk freebies because, at Diyarbakir, they don’t just tease your palate, they spoil it. 

A vibrant salad of mint, onion, tomatoes, and fresh spinach in a pomegranate dressing sets the stage, followed by a substantial bowl of cacik and an abundance of slightly glazed bread with a rich, buttery flavour. 

As if that’s not enough, the menu boasts saksuka, a blend of tomatoes, aubergine, and potatoes – the Diyarbakir twist is a garlicky kick and a portion that could feed a small army.

HALA

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Location: 29-31 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, Harringay Ladder, London N4 1LG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8802 4883

Website

Prepare yourself for a visual feast because, at Hala, everything has a touch of pizazz. The mixed meze, a riot of colours on the plate, showcases houmous with the texture of grits beside a modest tarama, butter-rich cacık cosies up to a mellow aubergine salad (patlıcan salatası).

Now, let’s talk about the pièce de résistance – the grill. Even if the alinazik was a tad short on puréed aubergine, it mattered little in the face of the succulent lamb. 

The mixed kebab platters make a grand entrance on huge plates, and for those favouring the sea’s bounty, there are a couple of grilled fish options that promise a symphony of flavours.

Iznik

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Location: 19 Highbury Park, London N5 1QJ, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7354 5697

Website

Unlike its kebab-centric neighbours, Iznik takes a different culinary route with a surprisingly concise menu. Here, the spotlight shines on oven-cooked meats and fish, departing from the common ocakbasi charcoal grill-based dishes. 

There’s an air of refinement that permeates the atmosphere, evident in the elegantly presented plates of succulent dolma and the smoky, meat-filled imam bayildi (stuffed aubergine).

What truly sets Iznik apart, however, is its signature salad – a kaleidoscope of mixed fruits dressed with spices and orange juice, creating a symphony of flavours that dance on your palate. 

Fez Mangal

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Location: 104 Ladbroke Grove, London W11 1PY, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7229 3010

Website

Let’s talk falafels, the unsung heroes of Fez Mangal. These golden orbs of delight are a symphony of flavours – subtle cumin spice, and a fluffy chickpea filling, all wrapped up in a crisp coating. 

And don’t even get us started on the houmous – smooth beyond belief, so creamy it practically dissolves on your tongue, playing the perfect supporting role to everything else on the plate. 

Sure, the bread may be a bit stiff, but when it’s cooked to perfection on a domed griddle amidst sizzling kebabs and pots of melted butter, and generously smothered in that heavenly hummus, any shortcomings are forgiven.

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