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.
Katmerci Zekeriya Usta, Çukur Mh., Körükcü Sok, B Hilmi Gecidi No: 16/C-D, Şahinbey, Gaziantep, Turkey +90 342 230 0971
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.
Koçak Baklava, Ali Fuat Cebesoy Bulv., Ş. M. Engin Özdinç Sok. No:3, Şehitkamil/Gaziantep, Turkey +90 342 322 2131
Housed in a historic building, Tahmis Kahvesi is situated in Gaziantep’s old town that has been in business since 1635. The interior is decorated in tiles, arabesque ornaments, stained glass, and rich wooden accents. It is a coffee house specializing in traditional Turkish, menengic coffee served in ornate metal containers. We recommend pairing yours with a dish of Turkish roasted nuts and seeds. It is also possible to smoke shisha out of a Turkish pipe. There are often Turkish cultural performances at Tahmis Kahvesi as well. Tahmis Kahvesi is a wonderful place to get a taste of authentic local atmosphere. It is likely that you will learn a thing or two about Turkish folklore and coffee culture.
Tahmis Kahvesi, Suyabatmaz Mh. Şehitler Cd. Eski Buğday Pazarı No :21, Elmacı Pazarı Civarı, Turkey +90 342 232 8977
Restaurant, Turkish, Fast Food, $$$
Metanet Restaurant serves up a myriad of different beyran soups, a popular dish in southeastern Turkey. Beneath the surface of the garlic flavored, red broth you will find rice and shredded lamb meat. Be sure to order some handmade Turkish flatbreads to dunk in the spicy dish. If the soup is too hot for your palette, you can temper it with a bit of yogurt. It may come as a surprise that beyran soup is most commonly eaten for breakfast. Get there as early as you can bear waking up because Metanet gets busy, especially on weekends.
Metanet Restaurant, Kozluca Cad. No:11, Şahinbey/Gaziantep, Turkey +90 342 231 4666
Patisserie, Turkish, Fast Food
Orkide Pastaneleri is your one stop shop for Turkish baked goods as well as katmer, custards, and other desserts. Orkide Pastaneleri, which translates to ‘Orchid Patisserie’ in Turkish, is a contemporary space that offers an aesthetically distinct departure from the more traditional, barebones restaurants of Gaziantep. There is also outdoor seating available on the terrace. Orkide Pastaneleri is a nice breakfast spot for anyone looking to satisfy their sweet tooth. Breakfasts also come with savory items like fresh cheeses, olives, marinated vegetables and bread.
Orkide Pastaneleri, Değirmiçem, Gazi Muhtar Paşa Blv., Şehitkamil/Gaziantep, Turkey +90 342 215 1500
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.
İmam Çağdaş, Şekeroğlu, Hamdi Kurtlar Cad. No:49, Şahinbey/Gaziantep, Turkey +90 342 231 2678
Restaurant, Chinese, Fast Food, Turkish
Boğazköy is a stunning restaurant decorated in more modern Turkish décor that offers international fusion food. In addition to various Turkish fare the menu includes things like Asian-style salmon and noodles, Caesar salad, burgers, steaks, and lasagna. For dessert, the chocolate cake with berry compote and fresh cream is quite delightful, and the peach soufflé is another crowd pleaser. The interior of the restaurant has the feel of an outdoor terrace because there are live saplings inside, faux windows and roofs lining the wall, and Turkish lanterns hanging from above. Really, the ambiance alone makes this place worth visiting.
Boğazköy, Gaziantep, Yeditepe, Şahinbey/Gaziantep, Turkey +90 342 361 0414
Restaurant, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Halal, $$$
Aşina offers a bountiful array of Turkish food ranging from kebabs, ali nazik with stewed lamb and eggplant puree, creamy yuvalama soup, and lahmucin to sides like stuffed dates, simit bread, stuffed grape leaves, and much more. This is a wonderful place to try several shared dishes with family and friends. The interior is neat and relatively upscale. Expect excellent service from the wait staff that is uniformly in black slacks and crisp white dress shirts. The waiters are also quick to offer recommendations if you’re feeling stuck.
Aşina Restaurant, İncili Pınar, Kıbrıs Cd. No:46, Şehitkamil, Turkey +90 342 220 4949
Culcuoglu Et Lokantasi
Restaurant, Turkish, Halal, Fast Food, $$$
Culcuoglu Et Lokantasi
Located in the city center and a short walk from the notorious Gaziantep Castle, Culcuoglu Et Lokantasi is a restaurant with a warm and vibrant interior, and there is an enormous tree growing through the center of it. Beyond the unique setup, you will find casual Turkish eats including kofte and chicken kebabs, lahmucin, and homemade kanafeh, a kind of sweet cheese-based pastry made with rosewater, all served in generous portions. Each meal comes with complementary fruits. Culcuoglu Et Lokantasi has a pleasant family atmosphere and dishes that surpass expectations.
Culcuoglu Et Lokantasi, 43006. Sk., Şahinbey, Turkey +90 342 231 0241