Complete Guide to Restaurants in Cappadocia: Food, Must-Eats, Tips…

Where and what to eat in Cappadocia?

Cappadocian People and Food

Food in Capapdocia is more than a lifestyle; it provides an insight into the history of the country, its residents, and Turkish culture. Traditional Cappadocian cuisine is more than just a way of life; it's a window into the region's past, present, and future.

Especially breakfast and dinner are very enjoyable times for eating with friends and family and creating great memories.

Sharing a meal with a Cappadocian is an experience that is both social and culturally rich, as you experience it for yourself. When you're eating the best Turkish food, take your time like a local and savour every bite.

  • Don't expect for breakfast as just a coffee or small snacks. Breakfast has an important place in Turkish culture with various cheeses, jams, fried foods and bakery products you can have for hours Breakfast.
  • Since they have a very strong breakfast, they usually spend their lunch time with appetisers. It is usually a Turkish pancake (Gözleme) or a simple lunch plate.
  • In contrary to many Western countries, dinner is eaten rather late, between 20:00 and 21:30. But most of the restaurants also serve dinner at 19:00.

Bon apetite!

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What to Eat in Cappadocia?

Cappadocia, with its various cuisines, is the ideal destination for a gastronomic journey that will not disappoint!
Turkish people often prefer grilled meats to vegetable-based cuisine.

However, as a cosmopolitan town, Cappadocia's eating culture offers a diverse range of gastronomic alternatives, from traditional Turkish cuisine to vegetarian dishes and international cuisine.

The cuisine culture of Cappadocia is a tapestry made from history, geography, and tradition.
The region's distinct culinary environment has been moulded by influences from many civilizations, including the Hittites, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Turks.
Cappadocia now provides a broad and wonderful culinary experience for foodies, with meals ranging from robust meat stews to delicate sweets and crisp salads.

Cappadocia also has its own cooking methods from the past. Some of these are:

Tandoor Cooking: Tandoor cooking is an old technique that involves cooking meat and vegetables in a clay oven heated by wood or charcoal. The tandoor gives the food a smokey flavour and a soft texture.

Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional dishes like Testi Kebab, a delicate lamb stew cooked in a sealed clay pot, highlight this method. When the pot is cracked open at the table, the flavours blend and create a spectacular appearance.

Cave Cooking: Making use of traditional cave ovens is one of the most remarkable characteristics of Cappadocian cuisine. These ovens, carved into volcanic rock formations, give meals like "testi kebabı" and "kuşbaşı stew" a distinct smokey flavour.

Flavors of the Land: Cappadocian cuisine is well-known for its robust flavours and hearty dishes. Meat takes front stage, with lamb or beef cooked in a variety of ways. Vegetarians and vegans can also find plenty of options, including dishes made with lentils, veggies, and local cheeses.

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Traditional Capadocian - Turkish Cuisine

We recommend that you don't leave the city without trying a few of the following highlights of Cappadocian cuisine. When you visit, be sure to try these mouthwatering dishes.

Here are some of the most beloved and famed Cappadocian dishes that you should definitely taste during your Cappadocia trip:

  • Testi Kebabı: The star of the show! Meat and vegetables are cooked in a sealed clay pot in this recipe. At your table, the pot is cracked open to show the tasty and tender contents.
  • Mantı: These are little dumplings filled with either meat or vegetables. They are accompanied by a Turkish yoghurt sauce and garlic oil.
  • Pide: Pide is often referred to as "Turkish pizza," and it's a beloved staple in Cappadocian cuisine. This boat-shaped flatbread is topped with a variety of ingredients, such as cheese, minced meat, or vegetables.
  • Dolaz: This dish is similar to Testi Kebab, however it is prepared in a different sort of clay pot. It is commonly cooked with lamb, although other meats can be used as well.
  • Koftur: Small, savoury dumplings stuffed with meat and spices. They are frequently accompanied by yoghurt and tomato sauce.
  • Pumpkin Dishes: Pumpkin is a common element in Cappadocian cuisine. In soups, stews, sweets, and even drinks, you can find it.
  • Göreme Asmas: Stuffed grape leaves with rice, meat, and seasonings. They serve as a tasty and filling snack or small dinner.
  • Gözleme: This type of flatbread is filled with a variety of items, including cheese, spinach, potatoes, and meat. It's a filling and tasty breakfast or lunch alternative
  • Döner: Döner is a popular Turkish street snack made from seasoned meat grilled on a rotating spit. It is often served with salad and sauce in a bread wrap.
  • Ayva Tatlısı: Ayva Tatlısı is a sweet dish that typically consists of quince, sugar, and water. It's a light and tasty way to end a meal.
  • Baklava: Baklavais a delicious, flaky pastry stuffed with chopped nuts and syrup.  It is a must-try for any dessert enthusiast.
  • Künefe: A dessert comprised of shredded phyllo pastry, cheese, and syrup. It has a crunchy outside and a fuzzy interior.
  • Ayran: This is a pleasing and salty yogurt-based drink. It is an excellent match for spicy dishes.
  • Rakı: An anise-flavored liquor that is popular in Turkey. It is frequently served with meze, or small plates of appetisers.
  • Apple tea: This energising tea contains dried apples, cinnamon, and cloves. It's a great way to unwind after a day of exploring.
  • Turkish coffee: This strong coffee is prepared in a cezve, a particular kettle. It's usually paired with Turkish delight.
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Where to Eat in Cappadocia?

Due to the region's centuries of history and cultural diversity, Cappadocia is well known for its delectable cuisine. Also, Cappadocia has a restaurant for any taste and budget, whether it is a tiny café, a rustic tavern, or a sophisticated restaurant.

1. Acropolis Cave Suite

Located in the enchanting town of Ürgüp, Acropolis Cave Suite is not only a charming place to stay but also a fantastic restaurant. Set within the natural cave formations, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience. The ambiance is cozy, with dim lighting and a rustic feel, making it an ideal spot for a romantic dinner.

  • Authentic Turkish cuisine with a modern twist.
  • Friendly and attentive staff.
  • A diverse menu featuring regional specialties.
  • Don't miss their signature Testi Kebab, a true Cappadocian delight.

2. Keyf-i Ala Restaurant

Situated in Göreme, Keyf-i Ala is a delightful restaurant known for its warm hospitality and delectable dishes. This family-run establishment takes pride in serving the best of Cappadocian cuisine with a welcoming smile.

  • Traditional Turkish dishes prepared with love and care.
  • A cozy setting with both indoor and outdoor seating.
  • Live music performances in the evenings, adding to the overall charm.
  • Try their Gözleme for a quick and tasty snack.

3. Areni Cappadocia Restaurant

Areni Cappadocia, nestled in the heart of Ürgüp, is a gem for wine enthusiasts and food lovers alike. The restaurant boasts an extensive wine list featuring local and international varieties, perfectly complementing their delicious dishes.

  • Picturesque vineyard setting, ideal for a relaxing meal.
  • A menu that pairs wines with gourmet cuisine.
  • Don't forget to indulge in their Manti, a local favorite.
  • Knowledgeable staff who can help you choose the perfect wine to accompany your meal.

4. Kelebek Special Cave Restaurant

Kelebek Special Cave Restaurant, located within the Kelebek Hotel in Göreme, offers not only an unforgettable dining experience but also breathtaking views of the Cappadocian landscape. Dining here is a true feast for the senses.

  • A wide range of Turkish and international dishes.
  • A terrace with panoramic views for a romantic evening.
  • Friendly staff who can recommend the best wine to pair with your meal.
  • Try the Pide, a specialty of the house.

5. Dibek Restaurant

Dibek Restaurant, situated in the heart of Göreme, prides itself on serving authentic Cappadocian cuisine in a cozy and traditional setting. The name "Dibek" refers to a special kind of cooking pot, emphasizing their commitment to traditional cooking methods.

  • A menu showcasing the finest local ingredients.
  • An opportunity to taste Testi Kebab cooked in a traditional clay pot.
  • Warm and inviting ambiance with attentive service.
  • Vegetarian options available, including delicious stuffed vine leaves.

6. Topdeck Cave Restaurant

Topdeck Cave Restaurant, perched on a hill in Göreme, offers a captivating dining experience with stunning views of the region's iconic fairy chimneys. This restaurant combines Turkish hospitality with international flavors.

  • A menu that caters to various tastes, including vegetarian options.
  • A rooftop terrace for romantic evenings under the stars.
  • Live music performances that enhance the ambiance.
  • Don't miss the opportunity to try their homemade baklava for dessert.

7. Ziggy Cafe Restaurant

Ziggy Cafe Restaurant, located in the heart of Göreme, is a cozy and welcoming spot where you can enjoy a variety of Turkish and international dishes. The friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere make it a favorite among tourists.

  • A menu that offers something for everyone, from traditional Turkish dishes to burgers and pasta.
  • A lovely garden area for alfresco dining.
  • A perfect place for a casual lunch or dinner.
  • Their Turkish coffee is a must-try for a true local experience

8. Mil Local Restaurant

Millocal Restaurant in Üçhisar, Cappadocia, offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience that honours the region's rich culinary heritage. The restaurant prioritises the use of locally sourced ingredients. This makes sure that your food has all the best flavours that the area has to offer. Every bite will reveal the difference.

  • A menu featuring dishes prepared with time-honored methods.
  • A warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • Vegetarian-friendly options available.
  • Don't forget to try their slow-cooked lamb dishes for a taste of local flavors.

9. Old Greek House Restaurant

Located in the historic town of Mustafapaşa, Old Greek House Restaurant offers a glimpse into Cappadocia's past with its beautiful stone architecture. This restaurant combines history with culinary excellence.

  • A menu that fuses Turkish and Greek cuisines.
  • A charming courtyard for outdoor dining.
  • Friendly and knowledgeable staff.
  • Try their Meze platter for a delightful appetizer experience.

10. Lil'a Restaurant

Lil'a Restaurant, nestled in the picturesque town of Uçhisar, offers an upscale dining experience with breathtaking views of the Uçhisar Castle. This restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner or a special celebration.

  • A gourmet menu with an emphasis on presentation.
  • A wine list featuring local and international selections.
  • Impeccable service and attention to detail.
  • Try their signature dishes for a culinary journey you won't forget.

Tips for Dining in Cappadocia

  • Reservations: It's a good idea to make reservations, especially for popular restaurants, to secure your table, especially during the peak tourist season.
  • Local Specialties: Don't hesitate to ask the staff for recommendations on local specialties. They often know the best dishes on the menu.
  • Turkish Coffee: Don't miss the opportunity to savor a cup of Turkish coffee. It's not just a beverage; it's a cultural experience.
  • Tipping: Tipping is not mandatory but is customary in Turkey. It's appreciated to leave a tip of around 10–15% of the total bill.
  • Vegetarian Options: If you have dietary restrictions, don't worry; most restaurants offer delicious vegetarian options.
  • Enjoy the Ambiance: Many restaurants in Cappadocia offer stunning views and unique atmospheres. Take your time to soak in the surroundings

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