Gaziantep is one of Turkey’s southernmost cities. It has a long history that dates back to 4000 BCE. There are plenty of sites and structures worth exploring here including remnants of the ancient city Zeugma, several mosques, bazaars, a Turkish bathhouse, and a handful of inns. Gaziantep is one of the best places to experience the quintessential elements of Turkish culture, and the cuisine serves as no exception. Here are the top 10 restaurants to try in Gaziantep.
Katmerci Zekeriya Usta
Katmerci Zekervia Usta is a hole-in-the-wall kind of establishment, but it is hands down the best place in Gaziantep to try the dessert, katmer. It’s a kind of fried dough covered in chopped pistachios. The dough is ultra thin and slightly crispy, and each order of katmer is accompanied with some fresh cream. Portions are rather enormous, so bring a buddy along to help you finish yours. A katmer goes nicely with Turkish tea. Things tend to get crowded here, which ought to be embraced as a testament to how delicious the authentic katmers are.
Kebapçi Halil Usta
Turkey is world famous for its kebabs, so it’s definitely a good idea to try the real thing while you’re visiting Gaziantep. Here you can forget about that enormous hunk of rotating meat because these kebabs are skewered and prepared individually on the grill. Kebapci Halil Usta gets crowded with locals, and as you may have guessed by the name, all menu items are prepared in accordance to halil guidelines. The most popular menu item is succulent herbed lamb called küsleme, which comes with a complementary side salad. The no-frills interior is filled with plenty of tables that are situated cafeteria style, and all dishes are served on aluminum plates and bowls.
Kebapçi Halil Usta, Ocukoğlu Sk. No:6, Şehitkamil, Turkey +90 342 323 1616
Gaziantep is known for its pistachio-lined baklava. Koçak Baklava is a rather fancy spot that serves up some of the best and one order of baklava from Koçak will have you hooked for life. In fact, many people swear by Koçak over other places like it in the city. The baklavas at Koçak are largely known for their distinctly buttery taste. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and varieties. There are even gluten free pistachio-based sweets available here.
İmam Çağdaş is housed in a beautiful wooden building constructed in traditional Turkish style. While many of the restaurants so far on our list specialize in a particular Turkish dish, İmam Çağdaş offers some of everything. Try lahmacun, a flatbread topped with minced meat and vegetables is a common entrée at İmam, but there are many excellent meats, lamb-based sausages, and roasted veggies on the menu that are totally worth a try. Most dishes come with a side of homemade yogurt. For dessert, the baklava is a must. İmam Çağdaş offers a wonderful taste of southeastern Turkey.
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