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Çadır Kebap October 22, 2009

Posted by Steven Bartus in Turkish Cuisine.
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Çadır KebapAs I mentioned in a previous post, Turkish restaurants tend to heavily feature meat in their entrées.  This is because, I’ve been told, the average Turk does not consume much meat at home due to the high cost in this country as well as certain aspects of traditional cooking.  Thus a dinner outside of the house is something of a special occasion, and restaurants cater to the moment with very meat-centric options.

While there are countless places to eat adana kebap, tavuk şiş and et döner in Ankara, I have found most to be quite average in their preparation of the meat.  Çadır Kebap is a good alternative to these mediocre offerings.  Located on Eskişehir Yolu (Google Maps), the meat dishes at Çadır are very well prepared and complemented by a great selection of salads.  I sampled a variety of them at dinner the other night with a group of friends and found the tablacı salata to be the most flavorful.  For entrées, the kuzu şiş, beyti and acılı adana were noteworthy.  There are good meze options, such as patlıcan ezme and humus, to consider as well.  And for those with a sweet tooth, the künefe and sütlaç are not the best I’ve had, but both are above average.

Çadır Kebap is not an inexpensive establishment, but its prices are fairly reasonable.  Salads, appetizers and desserts average about 6TL each ($4 at 1.47TL/$), while main courses are priced between 12 and 15TL ($8-10).  Alcohol is also served.

Çukurağa Sofrası September 7, 2009

Posted by Steven Bartus in Turkish Cuisine.
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Çukurğa SofrasıIt’s only fitting to begin my coverage of Ankara dining with Çukurağa Sofrası, my absolute favorite place to eat in the city.  Affectionately known as the “Orange Restaurant” to its expat patrons because of its preference for the color in its décor and wait-staff wardrobe, this Emek establishment offers up Turkish food at its finest.  Its menu is basic and unpretentious, serving most of the standard grilled meats and yogurt dishes that can be found anywhere in Ankara.  The difference is that they are simply better at Çukurağa Sofrası.  My personal favorites are the ali nazik, beyti and yoğurtlu kebabs.  Meat lovers should be sure to try the karışık ızgara for a sampling of all the delicious grills that are offered.

While the entrées are enough of a reason to visit Çukurğa Sofrası, the complementary mezzes only sweeten the deal.  For most, the salata, ezme and pide are meals in themselves. For the hungrier crowd, the waiters are always willing to provide a refill before your main course arrives.  And just when you think you can’t eat anymore, you are served dessert, the warm, sweet and incredibly delicious helva topped with Turkish ice cream, known as dondurma.  This treat easily ranks as one of my favorites, both in Turkey and abroad.

The best part about this meal is that all of this will only cost you about 15TL ($10 at 1.50TL/$) with a drink.  It’s a daunting challenge to find a better value anywhere in Ankara.

Çukurağa Sofrası is located on 22 Bosna Hersek Cad. (Google Maps), a short walk from the A.Ş.T.İ bus terminal.  It’s easy to find; just look for the large crowds spilling onto the sidewalk.  Also, be warned: It’s tough to get a table when breaking the fast during Ramadan.