The Best Turkish Restaurants In London

Pretty much every area in London has a Turkish restaurant that locals, newbies, and hungry wanderers rely upon but these are the best in the city.
The Best Turkish Restaurants In London image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Like pubs or chippies, Turkish food isn’t just big in London; it’s an essential part of the eating culture. Even though Green Lanes and Dalston are the city's hubs for Turkish food, almost every Londoner is blessed with a spot that’s within wandering distance of home. But not all ocakbaşı grills are made equally and nor does a complimentary grilled onion salad come with every meal. The best Turkish restaurants in London range from traditional ocakbaşıs expertly grilling sweetbreads to modern restaurants taking the cuisine in a new direction. 


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerCatching Up With MatesDate NightSmall PlatesTakeawayVegetarians
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

If you’ve got memories of playing pool at Efes in Dalston then you more than likely have memories of dinner in Mangal II as well. Once part of the old school of N16 ocakbaşı restaurants, this is now one of London's most innovative restaurants. The modern takes on traditional Turkish flavours—be it cull yaw fat sourdough pide or tahini and apple tart with mahlep cream—are excellent. The comfortable, pared-back room is often full of Dalstonites hitting the natural wine list and if you’re looking for a scene that pairs Turkish tradition with new-age approaches, this is your place.

A visit to Durak Tantuni is a good idea any time of day, although we think this Harringay canteen is in its element come nighttime. Cash-only and with the atmospheric lighting of a dentist’s waiting room, you come to Durak Tantuni for one thing and one thing only: tantuni. Wafts of frying beef and lamb, sizzling in meaty chunks with a sumac and parsley mixture, is what fills the room and the little dürüm wraps you’ll eat. A squeeze of lemon is all these wraps need and the pickled peppers are an excellent accompaniment.

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

People who don’t necessarily know Turkish food may well know Gökyüzü and that’s because this sprawling, pleather-tastic restaurant on Green Lanes is a certified institution. A meal here should be enjoyed with nothing less than a herd of people and a majority eat their body weight in complimentary warm flatbread and salad before complaining of fullness once doner or manti arrives. The adana may not be the most intensely seasoned, nor the shish most succulent, but like most legends, Gökyüzü is best-known for its reliable consistency. 

Watching the chefs behind Umut 2000’s grill carefully turn smoking skewers is like watching a gifted musician effortlessly play an instrument. Albeit a meaty one. The casual Turkish spot has a couple of locations, but it’s the Dalston one that we and other big groups of friends favour most. This is a reliable destination for all manner of perfectly grilled kebabs—from adana kofte to shish—but it’s the perfectly charred lamb ribs that you’ll see most tables fight over. They’re a must-order.

You might know Mangal 1 from an unruly birthday party, where grilled kebabs and swigs of beers from the offy were taken in tandem. You might know it from last weekend, when you wandered off from Kingsland Road in search of a nourishing doner wrap. Or, you might know it because Action Bronson seems to be here every time he’s in town. This is Dalston’s original Turkish ocakbaşı restaurant and it’s still an essential go-to, whether for melt-in-your-mouth lamb sweetbreads, or a blowout BYOB dinner.

A serving of iskender from this doner house on Green Lanes is precisely what no doctor would tell you to order. Has that ever stopped us? Absolutely not. This slumber-inducing fix of juicy doner meat piled onto a flatbread and slathered in fresh tomato sauce and hot butter isn’t the kind of plate that has you skipping home afterwards. But it is one that’s completely irresistible. Of course, you can come to Antepliler Doner for a quick fix—the front takeaway area is a siren’s call for us on a Thursday evening—but the low-key dining room at the back of the restaurant suits getting involved with a plate of food that requires maximum attention.

Diyarbakir Kitchen is another ginormous grilling behemoth on Green Lanes that makes for a reliable all-round choice when you’re in a large group of people bickering over who wants what. Lamb ribs and carefully spiced adana kofte are excellent while their lahmacuns, charred and blistered on the outside with an oozing smoky mince mixture in the middle, are brilliant handheld delicacies. The meat is expertly grilled here. And it’s unlikely you’ll see a banquette or a big table without a platter on it. If you've got room, a bowl of sütlaç (Turkish rice pudding) always goes down well too.

At Kofteci Metin, koftes are the order of the day. The thumb-sized meatballs aren’t the sole thing on the menu—there’s a wonderful piyaz salad and a moreish plate of mashed aubergine and feta—but they are the only main to choose from. If you eat meat, you won’t be complaining. These Ottoman kebabs are as juicy as they come and the big, banquette-filled space of this restaurant on Harringay Green Lanes makes it very easy to get comfortable and commit to a lunch or dinner of meatball appreciation.

Haringey Corbacisi is a no-menu restaurant that specialises in soups and stews—just wander up to the counter and see what’s on offer. Sade paca—a lamb and yoghurt soup made up of tender meat, a paddling pool of butter, and enough minced garlic to slay a vampire—is a favourite. The space itself is also extremely comfortable, full of cushioned dining chairs and plenty of table paraphernalia for you to balance a phone on if you're head down in a nourishing solo soup.

You’ll find 19 Numara Bos Cirrik 2 further up from the bustle of Dalston and away from the strip of Turkish restaurants galore. The quiet ocakbaşı spot may not have the same energy as those in the thick of it, but its kebabs are superbly grilled. Like any traditional Turkish restaurant worth its salt, salad, fresh warm flatbread, and grilled onion swimming in pomegranate molasses will arrive wordlessly. This alone is a fine meal but a plate of lamb ribs or tender chicken kebab in this calming space makes it perfect.

This tiny dedicated lahmacun and pide shop on the Newington Green end of Green Lanes has Don Corleone on their walls and lahmacuns you can’t refuse. Everything is made-to-order. The dough is kneaded fresh to a Rizla-like transparency, the mince mixture spread, before being cooked in their wood-burning oven. The result is excellent: heavy on onion and isot pepper, this is a lahmacun worth seeking out. Bear in mind, it’s cash-only.

Taking a minute for a little sweet something is an essential part of life and Antepliler Künefe & Patisserie is one of London’s finest locations for a sugary get-together. The künefe house on Harringay Green Lanes is often humming with family and friends, sipping glasses of Turkish tea and attacking sugar syrup-drenched cheesy pastry. A scoop of ice cream or clotted cream isn’t necessary, but that shouldn’t stop you.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



OpenTable logo

At this low-lit Notting Hill spot, being the first to arrive is a good thing. It means you get the whole, romantic restaurant to yourselves and the chance to have a moment of silence for the sensational sweet and salty clotted cream and pide bread starter. The Counter serves Turkish food with exciting twists that work: babaganoush has white chocolate in it and tzatziki has a nice tang from pickles. The starters and small plates are the best part so bring a date who’s down to split a bunch of quirky dishes, or a couple of close friends and order the clotted cream, pickled tzatziki, and cheese saganaki.

Out of all the things that come off of FM Mangal’s ocakbaşı grill in Camberwell, it’s hard to pick a favourite. The adana kebab is juicy and perfectly spiced. The aubergine and peppers, just the right amount of smoky. And the flatbread—the flatbread that’s soaked in meat juices, rubbed with a-never-not-exciting secret rub, and grilled over coals—is a basket of bread we’d welcome morning, day, and night. For that reason it’s little surprise that this neighbourhood favourite is always buzzing come dinnertime.

The roomy Turkish spot by Newington Green is a multipurpose wonder for anyone who lives nearby. An airy, canteen-style room can fit groups big, small, or singular and a midweek meal of adana kofte and beautiful singed onion salad in pomegranate molasses never goes amiss. If time isn’t on your side, 01 Adana is still perfect. A solo bowl of mercimek corbasi (lentil soup) always hits in winter or a freshly made crispy lahmacun (with salad, but hold the sauces) is a winner on-the-go.

We knew we loved The Best Turkish Kebab—a takeaway spot in Stoke Newington—when we spotted a photo of David Schwimmer plastered on its wall of famous fans (along with Ainsley Harriott). That love blossomed into a deep lifelong commitment after we tried the kebabs. Our favourite comes in a soft wrap, is the size of a small toddler’s chunky arm, and is stuffed full of smoky, juicy pieces of charred chicken shish, and drizzled with a little hot sauce. We could eat it for lunch every single day. Just know that this spot doesn’t have any seating, so it’s very much a grab and go situation.

We like Ishtar for reliably tasty lunches that need to be more elevated than the nearby Bill’s, and dinners that feel suitably special without requiring a tie and weeks of pre-planning. The manti at this Marylebone spot is thin-doughed and delicate; the comfy leather banquettes will suit multiple generations of your family, with their multiple back complaints; and the hockey puck-sized falafel will make you utter dreaded descriptors like ‘very moist’, or worse, ‘succulent’. The food is great and this is a handy spot to know about for meals that fall on the more casual end of the special occasion spectrum.  

Pretty much every area in London has a Turkish restaurant that locals, newbies, and hungry wanderers rely upon, and Yildiz is Highbury’s. Calming Arsenal fans and satisfying Islington families since the mid-2000s, this comfortable ocakbaşı grill does the simple things well. Its bungalow-ish room is all about shades of brown and big tables of six and, on an average Saturday when Arsenal is playing, the room is a sea of red and white shirts with golden accents—be it a glistening grilled chicken wing or a shimmering bottle of Efes. All the classics are done well and an order of crispy-edged lamb ribs or piles of buttery rice are unlikely to disappoint.

It’s becoming increasingly rare to find a restaurant where you can rock up, order one dish, and leave satisfied. But at Firin, that’s our favourite thing to do. During the day, the bright airy room is filled with groups stretching their lunch hours, or solo diners speedily working their way through the slow-cooked tandir kebab that pulls apart with little encouragement from a fork. The deep brown sofa seating and raging fire of the oven brings warmth to the otherwise grey surroundings of King’s Cross. And you should know that the name Firin translates to ‘oven’, so a crispy lahmacun is a must. 

Emy's Kitchen’s Turkish breakfasts will leave you rolling out the door and mumbling about heaven being in Crouch Hill. Bring a group, bring someone who's just run a marathon, bring your hungover partner. Far from being Instagram-bait, the fake flower garland above the kitchen and velvet seats make this a comfortable place to settle in for the Karadeniz breakfast. It comes with a big skillet of melted, mild yellow cheese, thickened with cornmeal, and capable of the kind of cheese pull that'd make an influencer sob. Snack on pickled beans, dunk freshly baked cornbread in runny yolks, and fight over the feta-stuffed börek.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

Rémy Martin

The Best Places To Eat In Dalston

Turkish ocakbasis, chip butties, excellent Ethiopian, £1 naans, and homely Caribbean are all within a stone’s throw of each other in Dalston.


Midnight tantuni, focaccia sandwiches, borscht, and more.

Mangal II image

Mangal II is a classic Turkish restaurant that’s doing things a bit differently. With superb grilled meats, sourdough pide, natural wines, and more.

Infatuation Logo


2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store