Pide, kofte, kebabs, dips, salad and skewers… who doesn’t love Turkish cuisine? Whether you’re after a fine dining experience or a cheap but delicious takeaway, something hearty and filling or something light and summery, Turkish cuisine offers plenty of options to suit all tastes.
Canberra is home to an incredibly diverse and multicultural food scene, and Turkish is definitely a favourite among locals. But with dozens of popular and highly rated locations all over town, how can you decide where to go?
In this article we’ll walk you through a few things you should look for in a Turkish restaurant, as well as a helpful guide to some of the best options in Canberra. Let’s get started.
What makes a great Turkish restaurant?
Stuck on how to choose a great Turkish restaurant for your next night out? Keep these few things in mind:
- A diverse menu. One of the great things about Turkish cuisine is the sheer variety of dishes to choose from. Whether you’re after a simple mezze platter, a proper doner kebab or a simple dessert, a good Turkish restaurant will have something for everyone.
- Value for money. It almost goes without saying that you should expect to pay more for a fine dining experience than a laid back meal from a cheap-and-cheerful suburban Turkish restaurant. A restaurant’s pricing should be consistent with those in a similar location that cater to a similar customer base.
- A lively atmosphere. Nobody wants to eat dinner in a silent, sterile restaurant. If you’re dining in, atmosphere plays a huge role in our dining experience. Look for eateries that are busy and full of life.
- Great service. As with all restaurants, quality service is almost as important as quality food. The best restaurants hire friendly staff who are ready and willing to make your experience a positive one.
- Authenticity. Not only does great food rely on great ingredients and service, but a memorable Turkish dining experience relies on authenticity and passion as well. Look for venues that are led by teams who know what they’re doing when it comes to great Turkish food, and you’re sure to have a terrific night out.
The best Turkish restaurants in Canberra
Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
Turkish Grill has been serving the South Canberra community for over 14 years, led by a chef with over 30 years of experience in Canberra's Turkish restaurants. The interior is comfortable and atmospheric with authentic Turkish music playing, and you can enjoy generous servings of modern and traditional Turkish cuisine. This highly awarded restaurant also offers an extensive takeaway menu for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
As Google reviewer John Hyland writes, "Amazing food and lovely staff. The takeaway banquet for eight felt like it gave us enough food for a week!!! we ordered during a busy peak which took some extra time - but they were very apologetic and looked after us as best they could. Highly recommended, will definitely be back."
Zeytin Turkish Cuisine is all about expanding the horizons of Turkish cuisine in Canberra beyond Halal Snack Packs and doner kebabs. Their menu draws on traditional flavours with a modern twist, featuring Turkish meze plates and banquets to share, grilled meats, seafood, salads with wine and imported Turkish raki and beer. With opulent interior decor and a passionate head chef with many years of experience in Canberra under his belt, Zeytin is serving up delicious Turkish like you've never had it before.
On Facebook, Julie Allen writes, "Went to Zeytin for a birthday dinner with my family. As always a beautiful atmosphere, excellent food and value for money. Well worth it."
Located in the Tuggeranong Hyperdome, Little Istanbul is headed up by chef Kadir, whose 30 years of experience specialising in Turkish cuisine has led to one of the south's favourite restaurants. Little Istanbul guarantees freshness, flavour and value for money, and with solid sandstone features and a floor-to-ceiling water feature separating a private dining area from the main restaurant you can enjoy modern and traditional Turkish dishes in style.
As Fethulla Erdogan writes in their Google review, "Great place, delicious food. Definitely recommend it. Beautifully decorated indoor and outdoor space. Family friendly environment. Thank you."
When it comes to Canberra icons, the kebab shop in Yarralumla is a long time favourite. It's no surprise why they say that eating a Yarra kebab is part of the Canberran way of life - the Turkish Halal Pide House is fast-paced, affordable, and consistently delicious. Choose from their extensive menu of pides and sides or build your own doner kebab, and enjoy the street-side dining for a satisfying and tasty meal.
Happy customer Patrick Haesler puts it plainly in their Facebook review, "Absolutely brilliant food. I just keep coming back for more."
Looking for more recommendations for great eats in Canberra? Check out our articles on the best Japanese, Chinese, Asian fusion and Indian restaurants for some great multicultural options. Canberra is also home to many fantastic Italian and French options if European is more your style.
Should something a little more fancy be on order take a look at our article on the best fine dining options in the region. Conversely for more relaxed dining options in Canberra, you might like our article on the best pubs, the best gastropubs, and the best steakhouses Canberra has to offer. And, should you fancy a tipple perhaps the best cocktail bars or the best wine bars may also be of interest.
Your experience with Turkish restaurants in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback, if you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you been to any of the Turkish restaurants listed above? Did we miss your favourite? Share your thoughts and feedback below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Turkish food meet my dietary requirements?
As with any cuisines, there are many dishes in Turkish food that are already gluten free, vegetarian or vegan-friendly without having to make adjustments. However, it's always worth checking with the recipe or the restaurant before you order to make sure!
Is Turkish food healthy?
Turkish cuisine is inherently healthy and highly seasonal, with many dishes being built around the multitude of fresh produce available. Fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, dairy and meat are produced throughout the country, ensuring highly nutritious and fresh tasting food.
What is typical Turkish food?
Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Mediterranean, Balkan, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Eastern European and Armenian cuisines. There are many Turkish foods that we all know and love, but some of the most popular ones are doner kebabs (meat and vegetables wrapped in pide), baklava (filo pastry layered with chopped nuts and honey) and pide bread with dips such as hummus and babganoush.
What does halal mean?
If food is halal certified, that means it has been produced in accordance with Muslim law. Although Turkey has no official religion, the manjority of its population is Islam, and so it follows that most Turkish food is halal. Halal has no impact on the flavour or quality of the food itself.
Do Turkish restaurants offer takeaway?
Definitely - apps like UberEats, Deliveroo and Menulog will be able to show you if there are Turkish restaurants nearby that you can order from, or you can simply call up the restaurant yourself and order to pickup.