25 Best Turkish Restaurants in the U.S.
As the center of the former Ottoman Empire, as well as the physical and cultural crossroads between Asia and Europe, Turkey has always been a place where flavors meet.
Gastronomical traditions from the Mediterranean, Central Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans and beyond have mixed to create the heavenly, fragrant and undeniable delicious flavors of Turkish cuisine.
Can’t afford to hop on a plane to Istanbul right now? We have the perfect substitute in the 25 best Turkish restaurants in the U.S.
24. Cira (Tie)
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Rating: 50 (Out of 100)
* Restaurant ratings come from trusted reviewers on Tripadvisor.
Bottom Line: Cira
Concrete columns, exposed metal pipes and wooden floors combine to make an industrial-chic interior that is distinctly Chicagoan. But the startling decor is only what draws people in, as the modern fusion Turkish fare is what makes them stay and come back.
You can certainly go with more traditional dishes, but we recommend trying the pistachio ravioli, which is absolutely delicious, and you are unlikely to find it anywhere else.
24. Turkish Kitchen (Tie)
Location: New York City, New York
Bottom Line: Turkish Kitchen
Located in Murray Hill in Manhattan, Turkish Kitchen prides itself in serving food that's the result of thousands of years of putting together elements from different cultures. We certainly agree that this diverse fusion is what makes Turkish food so good.
You'll find the typical menu items, as well as other Turkish dishes not as commonly found in the U.S. Order the karides guvec, which is a casserole made with baked shrimp, mushrooms and tomatoes, then topped with kasseri cheese. It is usually served with pilaf, a very popular rice dish from Central Asia.
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23. Med Fresh Turkish Grill Restaurant
Location: Tempe, Arizona
Bottom Line: Med Fresh Turkish Grill Restaurant
Grilled skewers are the specialty in this Tempe restaurant. Customers are treated to juicy, tender meats, marinated in a special sauce that is guarded with great secrecy. Warm pitas, fluffed rice and hummus so smooth you could glide on it serve as side dishes.
And if you don't eat meat, no worries. The restaurant offers vegetarian options that are just as tasty.
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Location: Los Angeles, California
Bottom Line: Kismet
This pan Middle Eastern restaurant features several Turkish dishes alongside cuisines from Israel, Iran, Morocco and other nations. An Americanized twist here and there provides dishes like peppered honey nut squash and green beans a la plancha.
Kismet calls itself "a neighborhood spot," and it certainly lives up to its self-hype. It is also recognized as a Bib Gourmand establishment, which means it's an affordable, Michelin-approved restaurant.
20. Kitchen Istanbul (Tie)
Location: San Francisco, California
Bottom Line: Kitchen Istanbul
If you want a quiet, cozy place where the owner (who's also the chef) makes it a point to visit every table, head to Kitchen Istanbul.
Combining local ingredients with traditional Turkish dishes, you'll see a menu embellished with pistachios, chickpeas and eggplants.
Start with the black lentil salad, followed by the vegetable moussaka, and finish with a sweet and crispy baked kadayif.
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20. Zeytin Turkish Restaurant (Tie)
Location: Ada, Michigan
Bottom Line: Zeytin Turkish Restaurant
Zeytin has been bringing Turkish and Mediterranean flavors to Ada since 2006. The restaurant claims that most of its dishes are made fresh and in-house and that its juicy meats are all marinated at least eight hours before making it onto your plate.
This explains the restaurant's popularity, especially among the Turkish population in Michigan.
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19. Cafe Paloma
Location: Seattle, Washington
Bottom Line: Cafe Paloma
This laid-back cafe is one of the best places in Seattle to satisfy your cravings for Middle Eastern food. By all accounts, the best thing to order is the kofte, though the borek and the pita aren't too much behind.
The menu isn't as extensive as in other Turkish restaurants, but what's offered is more than enough to keep you wanting to come back. For an appetizer, get the muhammara, a roasted pepper with olive oil, cumin and walnuts.
Check out the cafe's website for information on their live entertainment, which ranges from flamenco to jazz.
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18. Ottoman Taverna
Location: Washington, D.C.
Bottom Line: Ottoman Taverna
Light refinement with copper accents defines the modern interior of this restaurant. But don't be fooled by the elegance it exudes. The restaurant serves authentic Turkish food, while taking a few small liberties here and there.
Anyone who wants to have a full culinary experience should go for the Trip to Turkey menu, which includes four delicious courses.
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Location: Washington, D.C.
Bottom Line: Zaytinya
Though not strictly only Turkish, this Jose Andres restaurant is a good choice for anyone craving Middle Eastern food. With a modern design that feels fresh and airy, Zaytinya has a selection of Turkish wines that you'll have a hard time finding in other restaurants.
You'll also find delectable dishes that are specifically Turkish, like the pides, the Turkish-style pastirma and the hunkar begendi, a traditional Turkish braised lamb shank. End the meal with a perfectly brewed Turkish coffee.
16. Taci's Beyti
Location: New York, New York
Bottom Line: Taci's Beyti
Exposed brick, a wooden ceiling and hanging headlamps create the inviting interior of Taci's Beyti. The Brooklyn restaurant is family-owned, which basically guarantees great food, good prices and a cozy atmosphere.
Try the white bean stew or the dolmas for starters. The entrees are mostly kebabs, but we recommend the Chef's Special, charbroiled lamb served with tomato sauce and yogurt.
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15. Cafe Gulistan
Location: Harbert, Michigan
Bottom Line: Cafe Gulistan
Cafe Gulistan has been serving authentic Kurdish cuisine. The ethnic group extends from Iran to the south of Turkey, but its gastronomy is often left out from typical Turkish restaurants. This is why we love this welcoming restaurant.
You'll probably like whatever you order from the menu, but we particularly recommend the ispanak. This vegan dish douses falafels with a creamy mango coconut curry sace made with mushrooms, peppers, spinach and walnuts.
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13. Byblos (Tie)
Location: Miami, Florida
Bottom Line: Byblos
As if to prove that it deserves its place in Miami Beach, Byblos combines indulgent food, a luxurious design and live entertainment. The restaurant is adorned with pale blue and gold accents, which certainly give it a Mediterranean feel.
Expect an emphasis on Turkish and Lebanese flavors in the menu. Order the sujuk pide, made with feta, Turkish paste and za'atar.
The venue has bottle service and resident DJs that provide entertainment during certain days.
13. Cafe Agora (Tie)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Bottom Line: Cafe Agora
Agoras were marketplaces in Ancient Greece where people gathered to exchange goods, services and ideas. This spirit is what Cafe Agora tries to recreate, bringing people together to share delicious Mediterranean cuisine.
The cafe emphasizes Turkish and Greek food, particularly more informal dishes like kebabs and sandwiches. If you can't decide what to get, we suggest ordering several appetizers like fried eggplant, piyaz and spanakopita to try different things.
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Location: Columbia, Maryland
Bottom Line: Cazbar
Claiming to be Maryland's first Turkish restaurant, Cazbar has been operating for over 15 years. The menu includes all the usual suspects but also some less common items like manti (often called Turkish "ravioli"), baked okra and kovan kavurma.
And besides an extensive and mouth-watering menu, Cazbar also has belly dance shows on specific days to celebrate Turkish culture.
11. Bosphorus Restaurant
Location: Cary, North Carolina
Bottom Line: Bosphorus Restaurant
Located relatively near to Raleigh, Bosphorus has amassed a faithful following with its authentic Turkish cuisine. You'll find all the gastronomical staples of the cuisine, like pides — Turkish "pizzas" — kabobs and dolmas.
All meals are prepared with halal meat and fresh vegetables and ingredients.
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10. Selda Mediterranean Grill
Location: Dallas, Texas
Bottom Line: Selda Mediterranean Grill
Headed by Chef Habip Kargin, who hails from Mersin, Turkey, Selda Mediterranean thrives in BBQ-obsessed Dallas. You have your pick of lamb chops, urfa kebab, beef shish, salmon and other foods grilled to absolute perfection.
Pides complement the menu, as does an assortment of classic mezzes.
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Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Bottom Line: Oleana
Best described as contemporary Turkish, Oleana uses fresh ingredients from its own farm and complements its dishes with artisanal wine. The menu takes Turkish staples and puts a truly innovative spin on them.
Start with the whipped feta and work your way up to Turkish-style profiteroles for dessert to see why Oleana is also one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in the country.
8. Ayse's Turkish Cafe
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Bottom Line: Ayse's Turkish Cafe
Serving home-cooked Turkish food since 1993, Ayse's Turkish Cafe is beloved by Ann Arbor residents. The family-owned restaurant excels in providing food that tastes like it came out of a grandma's kitchen and service that makes you feel right at home.
Try the ali nazik, made with spicy lamb covered in eggplant sauce.
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7. Sarma Restaurant
Location: Somerville, Massachusetts
Bottom Line: Sarma Restaurant
Meyhanes are traditional Turkish bars or restaurants that center around drinking alcohol while eating several small plates. This lively and utterly enjoyable atmosphere is what Sarma Restaurant recreates.
The wide selection of meze are mostly traditional, though hints of other cuisines do make an appearance here and there, which is a plus in our book. Among your plates, make sure you get the kunefe (made with spaghetti squash, hazelnut and truffle honey), the feta gnocchi and the harissa BBQ duck.
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6. Dayi'nin Yeri
Location: Cliffside Park, New Jersey
Bottom Line: Dayi'nin Yeri
This small unassuming restaurant provides a welcoming and cozy atmosphere for its loyal patrons. Also known as "uncle's place," you'll certainly be treated like family here.
One of the most popular meals is the buttery branzino fish accompanied by grilled vegetables and a side of warm pita.
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5. Bodrum Restaurant
Location: Venice, Florida
Bottom Line: Bodrum Restaurant
As soon as you step into Bodrum Restaurant, you'll be transported to the white-and-blue of the Mediterranean. Named after a popular Turkish resort town, the restaurant focuses on the country's seaside cuisine.
As such, we recommend going for the seafood dishes like the somon izgara, made with char-grilled salmon and dill sauce. Or, if you're not too picky, go for the catch of the day for guaranteed freshness.
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Location: San Francisco, California
Bottom Line: Lokma
Lokma is a typical Middle Eastern sweet that is made with deep-fried dough. However, this Turkish-inspired cafe serves much more than desserts.
In fact, it's exactly what you'd expect a San Francisco Turkish cafe to be. The menu includes items like Greek yogurt pancakes, grilled lamb meatball wrap and a Turkish ratatouille omelette.
3. Turkish Delight
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Bottom Line: Turkish Delight
You probably didn't expect that one of the best Turkish restaurants in the U.S. would be located in the remote city of Anchorage. But this is exactly what makes Turkish Delight, well, such a delight.
The restaurant is small and casual, with a short but sweet menu whose golden item is the doner kebab. Just make sure you leave room for a baklava with mint tea.
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2. Limon Authentic Turkish Kebap House
Location: Hellertown, Pennsylvania
Bottom Line: Limon Authentic Turkish Kebap House
Limon Authentic beats out more famous high-end restaurants in the heart of consumers. The kebap house is run by a brother and sister duo who are originally from Mersin, Turkey — when they say authentic, they're not exaggerating.
Anything you get will leave you happy and satisfied, but of course, the kebaps are the stars of the show.
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1. Red Meze
Location: Johnson City, Tennessee
Bottom Line: Red Meze
This no-frills casual eatery can be described as Turkish food that caters to Southern palates. The menu is comprised of customizable wraps, mezzes, dolmas, falafels, gyros and more.
But you can make substitutions like adding mozzarella cheese rather than more typical choices. You'll also find burgers, pizza and cheesecake on the menu.
And before purists complain, let us say that there is a "classic Turkish home cooking" section of the menu that is more traditional, earning it a top spot on our list.
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