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Apr 14, 2009 11:28 AM

Turkish Restaurants in DC or NOVA

Are there any good Turkish restaurants in the DC/NOVA area? I'm going to Istanbul in September and would like to check out some Turkish cuisine ahead of time.


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  1. I'm not Turkish and have never been to Turkey so I wouldn't know if the following serve authentic Turkish food (but they have good reputation and I've been to the first two and generally enjoyed myself).

    Kazan in McLean

    Nizam's in Vienna

    Temel in Fairfax

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ericandblueboy

      Theres' also Attila's in S. Arlington.

      Kazan is my favorite of all the above.

      1. re: Ericandblueboy

        Nizam's in Vienna I think is better. Nicer dinning room and the food seems to be more authentic. Kazan in good, but I just think that Nizams is better.

      2. yeah i've never been to turkey so i can't speak for how authentic the food is here, but have always enjoyed Cafe 8 in eastern market. good ekmek, dolma, etc.

        1. All the ones listed are decent, but nothing like what you will have in Turkey. I'd add, by the way, Cafe Divan on Wisconsin Avenue, just north of Georgetown. All Turkish restaurants here focus on meat and kebab dishes, which in Turkey is actually a special category of restaurant. The best restaurants in Istanbul are fish restaurants, with copious mezes (appetizers) beforehand. There is no equivalent here, in part because we don't have access to the quality of fish they have in Istanbul (although fish is now scarce and expensive there, as here).
          You will also find the kebabs and other meat dishes better there than here, but a little experimentation here won't hurt; the food will be recognizable.
          My recollection is that a search of the Turkey/Greece page here will produce pretty good recommendations. I'd be happy to provide some as well if you are interested.

          5 Replies
          1. re: brianV

            As for seafood mezzes, the most variety I found here is at Bacchus of Lebanon in Bethesda. You know of any others?

            1. re: brianV

              I was really disappointed with Cafe Divan. I've had a lot of Turkish food and this was some of the most flavorless I've had. I wanted to like the place but I don't think I'll go back.

              1. re: brianV

                Thanks Brian. I have found wonderful posts on the Turkey/Greece thread. It's making September seems o far off! I will try to get up to Cafe Divan. I think it's the closes to my place.

                1. re: nissenpa

                  I think you're making a mistake to test out the Turkish waters there. They have a Turkish restaurant in Ballston that's better.

                  1. re: Jacey

                    I replied before seeing your post Jacey. Do you know of the name of the TUrkish place in Ballston?

              2. I think it's a good strategy to have an idea with local and then blow that out of the water with the real stuff. (it's like seeing the movie, then reading the book - the other way around always disappoints)

                recently cited on some thread here on CH for your trip -

                I bookmarked it for a friend's tentative trip.

                I miss Meyhane (and it's predecessor Anatolia) on Penn SE (where Locanda is now).but as noted above, Cafe 8 ain't bad.

                1. I lived in Turkey for a while and you will not find anything that will be comparable to Turkish cuisine in the DC area unfortunately. If you were willing to make the trek to New York, I have had many meals that do justice to this wonderful cuisine, but not in this area unfortunately. Nizams for example, offers a "Kebab special" only on certain days which is called Iskender in Turkey. It's simply marinated and grilled lamb torn pita pieces with a yougurt and tomato sauce topped with melted butter. It's absolutely delicious in Turkey and very cheap. It not on;y doesn't taste the same at Nizams but it is fairly pricey. We did not return again after that.

                  When you are in Istanbul, look for manti, delicious lamb ravioli with yogurt sauce and try the Adana Kebab if you like a little spicy kick with your lamb kebab. The ekmek (bread) is fantastic and sandwiches are made there that I still dream about! Enjoy your trip!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: isabellaflynn


                    I have been reading and drooling over descriptions of manti! i can't wait to try it.


                    1. re: isabellaflynn

                      I know Kazan doesn't have manti on its menu. I love those delicious little morsels so I'd order them obsessively if they were on the menu.

                      However, if the OP would like to try manti, you'll be happy to learn that Afghani mantu is a very close approximation. The former are tiny and the latter, as prepared by Bamiyan and Panjashir, are large. However, the taste is quite similar.