clock menu more-arrow no yes
Carrot haydari from Hazel
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Where to Find Terrific Turkish Food in D.C.

13 destinations for meze, kebabs, and kanafeh

View as Map
Carrot haydari from Hazel
| Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The banner of Turkish food encompasses one of the world’s most diverse cuisines. The reach of the Ottoman empire and the historic trade routes spanning from Europe to Asia play a huge role in the food culture of the Mediterranean country, and so do its own varied landscapes.

In D.C. you can expect to find plenty of meze: dips and salads heavy on eggplant and red bell peppers. Lahmacun, or Turkish flatbread pizza, is also common. So are kofte (grilled meatballs) and rich desserts like kanafeh, a syrupy and cheesy pastry.

This map serves as a guide for where to find Turkish favorites, from traditional dishes to modern spins.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Anatolian Bistro Turkish Restaurant

Copy Link
13029 Worldgate Dr
Herndon, VA 20170
(703) 481-8080
Visit Website

This family-run establishment makes an otherwise ordinary mall worth visiting. Try the begendili kebab — chunks of lamb with tomato sauce over eggplant puree and rice — or the adana kebab (minced lamb). Desserts include a decadent kunefe and slices of baked pumpkin served with walnuts and whipped cream.

View this post on Instagram

• Adana kebab •

A post shared by Anatolian Bistro (@anatolianbistro) on

2. Kazan Restaurant

Copy Link
6813 Redmond Dr
McLean, VA 22101
(703) 734-1960
Visit Website

This McLean restaurant has been serving customers since 1980, excelling at traditional Turkish dishes served in generous portions. Start with the imam bayildi — stuffed baby eggplant served cold — or the meze platter ($17.95 for two). The spit-roasted doner kebab is a must-try special, but all of the lamb entrees are popular. Chef-owner Zeynel Uzun is typically in the dining room dishing out a bit of Turkish hospitality. 

3. Meze Restaurant

Copy Link
2003, 2437 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 797-0017
Visit Website

In the heart of Adams Morgan, this popular Turkish restaurant is known for small plates, which makes it especially good for trying a variety of dishes. Some popular items here are the mucver (zucchini pancakes), sigara boregi (cigar-shaped fried pastries stuffed with cheese), and any of the grilled meats. Meze has a happy hour with long list of $5 dishes and half-priced mojitos. Brunch is a safe bet, too.

4. Hazel

Copy Link
808 V St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 847-4980
Visit Website

When Hazel launched its new menu under chef Robert Curtis towards the end of 2018, the menu took a turn from its Asian inspired dishes to vegetable focused items typically found a Turkish meyhane, or neighborhood tavern. Puffy Turkish bread serves as the vehicle for the dips and spreads that are followed by more modern interpretations. Some dishes, such as the carrot haydari and muhammara dips, the mucver pancakes, and bulgur kofte are obviously Turkish. Others, such as the beef tartare that comes with a Turkish coffee vinaigrette, reflect Curtis’s inventions.

Carrot haydari from Hazel.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

5. Cafe Divan

Copy Link
1834 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 338-1747
Visit Website

One of the longer running Turkish restaurants in D.C., Cafe Divan stands out for the variety of pides, or Turkish flatbreads. Try the spicy beef kebab or the divan mix, a kebab platter that has kofte, chicken, lamb shish kebabs, lamb chops, and doner kebab.

Cafe Divan
Cafe Divan [official]

6. Agora (Multiple locations)

Copy Link
1527 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 332-6767
Visit Website

Agora isn’t exclusively Turkish — it also has Lebanese and Greek dishes — but there’s a large selection of dishes from Turkey. Making a meal of small plates is a smart move. Go for the Brussels sprouts with urfa peppers, kibbeh, and fried baby eggplant topped with beef.  

7. Leziz Cafe & Restaurant

Copy Link
2016 P St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 223-4303

This Dupont circle restaurant recently replaced the longtime standby Ezme. Early crowd favorites include the lamb kebab with plums and sage andk the hunkar begendi, a roasted eggplant and lamb dish enjoyed by Ottoman sultans. This place also has a small grocery section full of Turkish goods.

Brunch spread at Leziz cafe
Leziz Cafe/Official Photo

8. Ankara

Copy Link
1320 19th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 293-6301
Visit Website

Located right off DuPont Circle, Ankara has an extensive menu featuring both classical and contemporary Turkish dishes. The “Ankara experience” offers a three-course option with a drink ($44). Some favorites here are the zucchini stuffed with ground beef, lamb chops, and an unusual sweet-and-savory mahi mahi baklava. 

9. Ottoman Taverna

Copy Link
425 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 847-0389

Recognized by the Michelin Bib Gourmand guide, this expansive, eye-catching restaurant delivers more than just looks. Try the grilled halloumi that’s is drizzled with a honey-sesame glaze or for one of the flatbreads, the lamb chops, or the moussaka. This is a good spot for a celebration or a special night out. 

Ottoman Taverna
Ottoman Taverna
R. Lopez

10. Zaytinya DC restaurant

Copy Link
701 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 638-0800
Visit Website

Chef José Andrés’s Mediterranean mainstay in Penn Quarter offers a variety of dishes with a heavy focus on Turkish-style small plates. Spreads are strong, particularly the hummus with lamb and the red pepper-based muhammara. There are a number of vegetarian plates — don’t miss the zucchini pancakes. Kebabs and seafood are safe bets, too.

11. Yayla Bistro

Copy Link
2201 N Westmoreland St
Arlington, VA 22213
(703) 533-5600
Visit Website

Open for lunch and dinner, Yayla offers a nice variety of Turkish meze. One of the more uncommon dishes found here are the manti — Turkish-style ravioli with ground lamb and beef topped with garlic yogurt and tomato sauce. The mixed grill platter is an excellent way to taste a sampling of kebabs and bulgur pilaf. The patio is an ideal place to enjoy a glass of wine.

12. Istanbul Grill

Copy Link
4617 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22203
(571) 970-5828
Visit Website

Every meal at Istanbul Grill, one of the newer restaurants on the list, should begin with a cold meze sampler. The iskender kebab — lamb and veal doner served over flatbread with tomato sauce and yogurt — is especially nice here. Lunch is a great value with wraps hovering around $12.

13. Atilla's Restaurant

Copy Link
2705 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204
(703) 920-4900
Visit Website

This place is part restaurant, part take-out counter, and part market. Stop here for a doner kebab or kofte sandwich, and pick up a tub of creamy hummus or lentil soup to go. There are no frills here, but the food is decent and the prices are reasonable. The weekend Iskender kebab special is especially popular.

Sigara Boregi at Atilla’s
Atilla’s/Official Photo

1. Anatolian Bistro Turkish Restaurant

13029 Worldgate Dr, Herndon, VA 20170

This family-run establishment makes an otherwise ordinary mall worth visiting. Try the begendili kebab — chunks of lamb with tomato sauce over eggplant puree and rice — or the adana kebab (minced lamb). Desserts include a decadent kunefe and slices of baked pumpkin served with walnuts and whipped cream.

13029 Worldgate Dr
Herndon, VA 20170

2. Kazan Restaurant

6813 Redmond Dr, McLean, VA 22101

This McLean restaurant has been serving customers since 1980, excelling at traditional Turkish dishes served in generous portions. Start with the imam bayildi — stuffed baby eggplant served cold — or the meze platter ($17.95 for two). The spit-roasted doner kebab is a must-try special, but all of the lamb entrees are popular. Chef-owner Zeynel Uzun is typically in the dining room dishing out a bit of Turkish hospitality. 

6813 Redmond Dr
McLean, VA 22101

3. Meze Restaurant

2003, 2437 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

In the heart of Adams Morgan, this popular Turkish restaurant is known for small plates, which makes it especially good for trying a variety of dishes. Some popular items here are the mucver (zucchini pancakes), sigara boregi (cigar-shaped fried pastries stuffed with cheese), and any of the grilled meats. Meze has a happy hour with long list of $5 dishes and half-priced mojitos. Brunch is a safe bet, too.

2003, 2437 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

4. Hazel

808 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Carrot haydari from Hazel.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

When Hazel launched its new menu under chef Robert Curtis towards the end of 2018, the menu took a turn from its Asian inspired dishes to vegetable focused items typically found a Turkish meyhane, or neighborhood tavern. Puffy Turkish bread serves as the vehicle for the dips and spreads that are followed by more modern interpretations. Some dishes, such as the carrot haydari and muhammara dips, the mucver pancakes, and bulgur kofte are obviously Turkish. Others, such as the beef tartare that comes with a Turkish coffee vinaigrette, reflect Curtis’s inventions.

808 V St NW
Washington, DC 20001

5. Cafe Divan

1834 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007
Cafe Divan
Cafe Divan [official]

One of the longer running Turkish restaurants in D.C., Cafe Divan stands out for the variety of pides, or Turkish flatbreads. Try the spicy beef kebab or the divan mix, a kebab platter that has kofte, chicken, lamb shish kebabs, lamb chops, and doner kebab.

1834 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007

6. Agora (Multiple locations)

1527 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036

Agora isn’t exclusively Turkish — it also has Lebanese and Greek dishes — but there’s a large selection of dishes from Turkey. Making a meal of small plates is a smart move. Go for the Brussels sprouts with urfa peppers, kibbeh, and fried baby eggplant topped with beef.  

1527 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

7. Leziz Cafe & Restaurant

2016 P St NW, Washington, DC 20036
Brunch spread at Leziz cafe
Leziz Cafe/Official Photo

This Dupont circle restaurant recently replaced the longtime standby Ezme. Early crowd favorites include the lamb kebab with plums and sage andk the hunkar begendi, a roasted eggplant and lamb dish enjoyed by Ottoman sultans. This place also has a small grocery section full of Turkish goods.

2016 P St NW
Washington, DC 20036

8. Ankara

1320 19th St NW, Washington, DC 20036

Located right off DuPont Circle, Ankara has an extensive menu featuring both classical and contemporary Turkish dishes. The “Ankara experience” offers a three-course option with a drink ($44). Some favorites here are the zucchini stuffed with ground beef, lamb chops, and an unusual sweet-and-savory mahi mahi baklava. 

1320 19th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

9. Ottoman Taverna

425 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
Ottoman Taverna
Ottoman Taverna
R. Lopez

Recognized by the Michelin Bib Gourmand guide, this expansive, eye-catching restaurant delivers more than just looks. Try the grilled halloumi that’s is drizzled with a honey-sesame glaze or for one of the flatbreads, the lamb chops, or the moussaka. This is a good spot for a celebration or a special night out. 

425 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

10. Zaytinya DC restaurant

701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Chef José Andrés’s Mediterranean mainstay in Penn Quarter offers a variety of dishes with a heavy focus on Turkish-style small plates. Spreads are strong, particularly the hummus with lamb and the red pepper-based muhammara. There are a number of vegetarian plates — don’t miss the zucchini pancakes. Kebabs and seafood are safe bets, too.

701 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

11. Yayla Bistro

2201 N Westmoreland St, Arlington, VA 22213

Open for lunch and dinner, Yayla offers a nice variety of Turkish meze. One of the more uncommon dishes found here are the manti — Turkish-style ravioli with ground lamb and beef topped with garlic yogurt and tomato sauce. The mixed grill platter is an excellent way to taste a sampling of kebabs and bulgur pilaf. The patio is an ideal place to enjoy a glass of wine.

2201 N Westmoreland St
Arlington, VA 22213

12. Istanbul Grill

4617 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

Every meal at Istanbul Grill, one of the newer restaurants on the list, should begin with a cold meze sampler. The iskender kebab — lamb and veal doner served over flatbread with tomato sauce and yogurt — is especially nice here. Lunch is a great value with wraps hovering around $12.

4617 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22203

13. Atilla's Restaurant

2705 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204
Sigara Boregi at Atilla’s
Atilla’s/Official Photo

This place is part restaurant, part take-out counter, and part market. Stop here for a doner kebab or kofte sandwich, and pick up a tub of creamy hummus or lentil soup to go. There are no frills here, but the food is decent and the prices are reasonable. The weekend Iskender kebab special is especially popular.

2705 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204

Related Maps