Turkey’s capital is known for its many excellent kebab restaurants; however, when it comes to fine dining, there are enough venues that please the crowds. Take a look at some of the best restaurants for a luxurious meal.
Restaurant, Mediterranean, Seafood, $$$
One of the best places for Aegean and Mediterranean cuisine in Ankara, Yelken is a fine-dining experience with a touch of a summer-by-the-sea feel. Their impressive selection of fresh fish (including turbot, squid, and lobster) are grilled on charcoal and lightly marinated with special seasoning for an excellent taste. The meze varieties are also worth a mention, including delicious options like grilled octopus, sardines wrapped in vine leaves, fish bacon, and shrimp with avocado. Aesthetically, Yelken is decked out in modern décor and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the garden.
JW Steak House, Ankara | Courtesy of JW Steakhouse
Located in the lavish JW Marriott Hotel, the JW Steakhouse is a classic and luxurious American steakhouse in the heart of the Turkish capital. Enjoy the fireplace with its sophisticated leather chairs or the modern bar for an aperitif drink and then head to the minimally decorated dining room for your fine meal. The menu features all the classics including New York strip, porterhouse, rib eye, and the special JW Tomahawk rib eye steak. With sides such as creamed spinach, sautéed mushrooms, macaroni and cheese, grilled asparagus, and boiled broccoli, you’ll really feel like you’re in an American restaurant.
The city’s other favorite seafood restaurant is quite a fine-dining affair, complete with a marble fireplace and large windows that look out over the city. In the summer, the restaurant’s garden, with plenty of potted plants and olive trees, is also a favorite among Ankara locals. Trilye’s Aegean and Mediterranean menu includes unique dishes such as fresh oysters on ice, İskenderun jumbo shrimp grilled with herbs and spices, stuffed calamari, and fish köfte (just to name a few). Of course, the main dish is always the day’s catch, served grilled, baked, or steamed upon request.
A fine-dining venue with a younger spirit, Niki sits in an old villa in the Gaziosmanpaşa neighborhood, complete with a lovely garden. The night always begins at the bar where the city’s cool crowd sips on cocktails before they head to their tables. Modern fireplaces, fresh flowers on every table, and plenty of candlelight make this venue both cool and romantic. On the menu, you’ll find plenty of international dishes that range from homemade salmon carpaccio to duck confit, as well as a great wine list.
A true fine-dining venue with plenty of old world charm, Fige’s antique piano, flower arrangements, and dark red walls make for a unique atmosphere. In the summer, the garden is a divine space with colorful flowers blooming in baskets that hang from the trees. Apart from hosting a brunch every Sunday and an open buffet for lunch, Fige’s dinner menu is quite extensive with Turkish and international dishes, from the house-favorite mantı (stuffed mini dumplings with a yogurt sauce) to dishes from Cambodia. Make sure to reserve Friday or Saturday night when the restaurant hosts live music performances.
Divan Brasserie Çengelhan, Ankara | Courtesy Çengelhan Brasserie
The Divan Çukurhan Hotel sits inside a 16th-century caravanserai that was renovated beautifully to accommodate guests in an environment that is truly historic and nostalgic. In the main courtyard underneath a glass ceiling, the Çengelhan Brasserie offers a beautiful dining experience with classic Turkish and Ottoman dishes cooked to perfection. Make sure to also drop by the Avlu Bar before or after dinner to sip on a great cocktail while sitting on comfy leather couches within the beautiful historic courtyard.