It’s always a good idea to eat dessert first – and whether you decide to follow that guideline or save it for its traditional place at the end of the meal, go to Sadik Kunefe to make the most of the moment. The gold-tinged decor will make you feel like a high roller, and that’s even before you decide what to eat. Try their namesake kunefe, a sweet cheese pastry that was typical during the time of the Ottoman Empire, or the similar kadayif – both will be the perfect sweet finish (or start) to your day, and you’ll find yourself coming back every day you’re there to have more.
Sadik Kunefe, Samanyolu Apt. No. 1, Mardin, Turkey, +90 482 213 3161
If there’s one culinary item that the international public connects with Turkey, it’s kebaps. And if there’s one kebap you have to try in Mardin, it’s the kebap from Ridonun Yeri. The restaurant is very informal, to the point of looking like a bit of a hole in the wall, but don’t be fooled – that’s where you get the best, most truly local tastes. There are two types of spice level for the meat – the ‘Sade kebap‘ that is just savory and the ‘Acili kebap,’ which is hot and spicy – so you can definitely justify coming twice.
When you enter their restaurant, the owners of Bagdadi want you to feel gripped by the sense of thousands of years of history washing over you, and they only want to intensify that feeling as the meal goes on. The decor is reminiscent of a luxurious palace, and the flavors of your meals hearken back to the days of great empires and beyond. For a truly great experience, start with the Mezopotamya meze platter, which includes all of the meze options and is a great way to taste all the Turkish and Syrian food that they offer.
Bagdadi Restaurant, Sar Vali Adil 228 Sk, Mardin, Turkey, +90 482 212 5555
Kaburgaci Selim Amca
Kaburgaci Selim Amca is a bit off the beaten path, but you’ll realize you made the right choice in making the trek out as soon as you get there. The restaurant is very comfortable and nicely decorated, and the servers are friendly and happy to help. Of special interest are the stuffed ribs – this is the main dish that people come from miles around to sample. If you don’t feel like making decisions, just go for the fixed menu. It’ll come out in courses, and you’ll get to sample plenty of local delicacies.
Kaburgaci Selim Amca, Yenisehir, 47200 Mardin, Turkey, +90 482 212 3838
A beautiful old home, an amazing view, delicious food, and one of best hotels in town – it seems as though there’s nothing that Erdoba Evleri doesn’t have. For a really special experience, have dinner or a drink on their terrace and watch the city around you. The food is all cooked fresh from the best ingredients around, and while you really can’t go wrong on their menu, the lahmacun (a Turkish take on pizza) and babaghanoush come highly recommended. Don’t forget to save room for dessert! They have a delicious Mayhirma, which is a dish made with figs and grape juice.
Erdoba Evleri, Sai 1. Cad. No. 135, Mardin, Turkey, +90 482 213 7787
You’ll have to climb a bit to reach Seyr-i Merdin, but you’ll find that it’s 100 percent worth it. Between the view, the excellent service, and some of the best food in the whole region, you’re in for a very memorable meal. Their menu is long, so if you want to try more items from it, get one of their taster platters, like their local meat plate, which gives you small tastes of lots of regional specialties. The restaurant itself is absolutely gorgeous, as is the presentation of the meals – but the best views can be seen from the terrace.
Seyr-I Merdin, Savurkapi 1 Cad. No. 249, Mardin, Turkey, +90 482 212 1840
Cercis Murat Konagi
Mardin has no shortages of restaurants in gorgeous old palaces, and Cercis Murat Konagi even manages to stand out among that exclusive crowd. They’ve got a beautiful view out onto the plains that once made up Mesopotamia, a perfect addition to any dining experience. If that doesn’t charm you enough, wait until the end of the meal, when they will actually wash your hands with rose water. Touches like this are just part of what will make the meal memorable – the food, of course, is still the main event.
Cercis Murat Konagi, Diyarbakir Kapi 1, Cad. No. 517, Mardin, Turkey, +90 507 989 4132
Maridin Restaurant does an excellent job of combining a beautifully decorated interior and fancy styling with a warm, home-like feeling. A lot of this has to do with the service; the employees here will bend over backward to make sure that you have the ideal experience. Their kebaps are excellent, and at least one person in your party should definitely try a pide, a boat-shaped dish that is somewhat similar to a very hearty pizza. They will often have lovely live music to add to the general good spirit of the place.
Maridin Restaurant, Diyarbakir Kapi 1, Cad. No. 455, Mardin, Turkey, +90 482 213 0306
Café Del Mar
A low-key, informal restaurant with a good view, Café Del Mar is the perfect place to while away a few hours over a slow, delicious breakfast and a strong coffee. Or if you’d prefer, come in the evening to enjoy a tasty kebap and watch the sun go down over the Mesopotamian plains. Whenever you decide to come, you’ll walk away feeling calm and completely satisfied. If you’re a single traveler, this is a good place to meet people and mingle – it’s just a place that people naturally come into and don’t want to leave anytime soon.
Dedecan Ocakbasi Mardin
Dedecan Ocakbasi Mardin is another restaurant that’s a bit out of the center, but they make up for that with scrumptious meals and friendly service. The ambiance of the restaurant is also very charming, and when you put it all together, you’ll walk out feeling like you had a real feast. Make sure to save room for at least one of their amazing desserts, which you would definitely regret missing otherwise.
Dedecan Ocakbasi Mardin, Yallm Mah 217 sok 14/7, Mardin, Turkey, +90 482 212 4141