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Where to Find the Best Köftes in Turkey

Köfte | © E4024 / WikiCommons
Köfte | © E4024 / WikiCommons
It would be entirely insufficient to call köfte a “Turkish meatball” because it’s so much more than that. Hand-kneaded thoroughly with various spices and herbs, as well as onion, garlic, and bread crumbs (usually), Turkish köfte has many different variations, ingredients, and accompaniments, depending on every region and every cook. Here is a countdown to some great places where you can indulge in the ultimate Turkish comfort food.

Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi Selim Usta

Restaurant, Turkish, $$$
The Sultanahmet Koftecisi restaurant
The Sultanahmet Köftecisi restaurant is known for its signature köfte dish | © Stuart Kelly / Alamy Stock Photo

A real tourist favorite, Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi Selim Usta has somehow managed to remain very authentic and true to his recipe. You’ll find the classic köfte, which hasn’t changed since the restaurant’s founding in 1920, along with piyaz and ayran.
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Beyti

Restaurant, Turkish, Middle Eastern, $$$

One of Istanbul’s most well-known grilled meat restaurants, Beyti, which has been around since 1945, is famous for its namesake Beyti Kebab. However, like all the other grilled meat varieties on the menu, their köfte is just perfect and served with mashed potatoes and rice.
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Çanak

Restaurant, Turkish, Vegetarian, $$$
Çanak Köfte
Çanak Köfte | © Feride Yalav

Hidden away in Istanbul’s historic Balat neighborhood, you’d walk right past this place if you didn’t know better. At Çanak, you’ll find the city’s best kuru fasulye (bean stew) and köfte accompanied by buttery rice and thick yogurt made from water buffalo milk.

Çanak Köfte | © Feride Yalav

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Özdoyum

Restaurant, Turkish, $$$

This longstanding restaurant, established in 1974, is the best place to get some delicious köfte in Antalya. Unlike its rivals, Özdoyum’s köftes are made without herbs and cooked only with salt on a shish over a charcoal barbecue. The accompanying piyaz and ayran, however, have remained true to the classic recipes.
Permanently closed
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Nihat Usta Köfte Salonu

Restaurant, Turkish, $$$
Akçaabat Köfte
Akçaabat Köfte | © Cemertem / WikiCommons

Open since 1974, Nihat Usta really knows how to make a good köfte and has even managed to expand into a larger restaurant because of his popularity. You’ll find Trabzon’s famous Akçaabat köfte prepared perfectly every time.
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