Dishes You Need to Try When You're in Ankara, Turkey

Yelken Balık is one of the top seafood restaurants in Ankara, and an essential stop on any foodie tour of the city
Yelken Balık is one of the top seafood restaurants in Ankara, and an essential stop on any foodie tour of the city | © Yelken Balık
Photo of Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
3 September 2021

As the capital city of Turkey, Ankara has plenty of amazing dishes that need to be devoured with utmost joy when you’re in town. From traditional kebab to delicious sweet desserts, take note of these essential edible experiences for your upcoming trip.

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Milk desserts at Zeynel

Restaurant, Turkish, $$$
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The spectrum of Turkish desserts is wide and varied – and at Zeynel, you’ll get the best of the milk desserts. Try the kazandibi (thick pudding with a slightly burned caramelised top), muhallebi (pudding with mastic), or tavuk göğsü (thick pudding with thin slices of chicken breast).

Döner at Süha'nın Yeri

Restaurant, Turkish, $$$
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The top dish at Süha’nın Yeri is the delicious döner cooked over a wood fire, which imbues the meat with exceptional taste. It’s a great place for a casual lunch – you’ll get an excellent döner sandwich accompanied by an ayran. Süha is popular with the locals, so you may have to wait a bit to find a seat.

Sweets and lokum at Ali Uzun Şekercilik

Restaurant, Turkish
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The last stop on a dessert tour of Ankara leads to Ali Uzun, a marvellous sweet shop open since 1935, where you’ll find all the classic Turkish treats your heart desires. You’ll find akide şekeri (Turkish hard candy), with hazelnut, mint, strawberry, lemon, or cinnamon, as well as lokum (Turkish delight), helva, pişmaniye (floss candy), and almond paste.

Esnaf dishes at Çiçek Lokantası

Restaurant, Turkish
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The esnaf lokantası (tradesmen restaurant) is an essential in Istanbul, but Ankara also has its Çiçek Lokantası for those classic home-cooked Turkish dishes that locals see as comfort food. You’ll find everything from traditional Turkish soups to meat and vegetable dishes, and desserts.
These recommendations were updated on September 3, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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