6 awesome Turkish restaurants to try in Dubai
Turkish restaurants seem to be popping up across the UAE lately – and in all forms, from fancy formal all the way to the old favourite “classic with a modern twist”.
Some offer incredible views, some tell stories and others give you a dose of fine art, but all of them serve up the kumpir, koftas and pide you need in your life.
Here’s where you can feel part of the latest food movement...
The trendy one
Rüya is being talked about a lot right now. In fact, it’s likely a colleague or friend will have declared it “my new favourite” already.
The Anatolian dishes are steeped in rich flavours and their history is allowed to shine. You can order the classic mezzes, pides, bundles of olives and kebabs from south Anatolia, but chef Colin Clague skilfully manages to inject his own take and techniques to bring something new to the table without the quality slipping.
If the very people who first created these dishes could travel through time to refine their own creations, you suspect the results would look very much like this. Success indeed for Chef Colin. The twinkly setting, creeping ivy and sweeping Marina views only add to the magic of this new Dubai culinary bolt-hole.
Where: Grosvenor House
Contact: +971 4 399 9123, website
The shop restaurant
If Mahal means “district” in Turkish this is not an area of town you’d expect to find culinary gems. However, this little place tucked into the lining of Dragon Mart 2 offers authentic and affordable Turkish cuisine.
It’s a vibrant place with high ceilings, exposed lighting and an open kitchen – and one colossal mirror that adds a far-reaching feel between table, kitchen and the outside mall.
Try the kofta with cheese or juicy meatballs with a core of melting cheddar or the Çöp Şiş, a luscious and tender beef skewer.
Thanks to what they call a “retail space”, you can even buy a box of Turkish tea to take home.
Where: Dragon Mart 2
Contact: +971 4 514 9108
The big scale Turkish buffet
A La Turca
This is the main restaurant at Rixos The Palm and it’s clear that there is a “something for everyone” concept at play. That said, the hotel is a Turkish brand and there is plenty of authentic Turkish food like kebabs, grills and mezzes from Eastern Anatolia, the Aegean and Black Sea regions that take centre stage. It’s all very bright, airy and laidback with a roomy restaurant inside and a shaded terrace a few steps away. There’s even a Turkish Friday brunch that allows for the opportunity to pile your plate high with dolma, pide, kumpir and plenty of other savoury and sweet Turkish delights.
Where: Rixos The Palm Dubai
Contact: +971 4 457 5555, website
The one with a view
Günaydin not only boasts would could possibly be one of the best views of the infamous Dubai Fountain, it also features some of the best Anatolian plates in the region.
The world renowned eatery that started out as a small butcher’s shop in Bostancı, Istanbul offers diners a number of delicacies ranging from Saslik beef to kebab covered in pistachios to lamb glazed in garlic yogurt.
They also offer a number of meat free dishes which range from traditional salads to piping hot breads to dolma.
Where: Souk Al Bahr
Contact: +971 4 554 0700, website
The arty eatery
This not-so-hidden-gem opposite Jumeirah Beach Hotel serves up authentic traditional Ottoman and Turkish dishes side by side on an outdoor courtyard over-looking Burj Al Arab. Inside feels like a chic art gallery; pristine white walls and colourful paintings depicting traditional Turkish kaftans in a variety of strokes. They have a new breakfast menu, but go in the evening and enjoy dishes like sef’in simit’i, kaymakli domates and gurme peynir tabagi, which are all baked and cheesed to perfection.
Where: Umm Suqeim
Contact: +971 4 338 9688, website
The post shopping treat
Modern, spacious and with just enough jade in the décor for it to qualify as trendy, here you’ll sit down to linen table cloths on a beautiful sweeping terrace and peruse a very thoughtful menu.
The meats are prepared using recipes from antique cook books 150 years old, and all the ingredients are sourced with care; flour from Anatolia, olive oil from Turkish brand Nar Gourmet and spices direct from Turkey’s own spice bazaars – and it’s all brought together by Turkish-born chefs.
Order the manti on repeat.
Where: Sheraton, Mall of the Emirates
Contact: +971 4 377 2353, website