Cappadocia isn’t such a foodie must-go as a perhaps a place like not-so-far Gaziantep, but Turkey is one of those places where you can easily find good food everywhere. But as Cappadocia is one of the most popular destinations in Turkey, there ought to be at least some amazing restaurants, right?
To our disappointment, Cappadocia’s restaurants were only average, to be quite frank. If you are a foreigner, you will probably be satisfied – but unabashed Turks as we are, we know what is what, and so we know you can find better elsewhere. We remained resilient however, and so compiled a list of the best there is in Cappadocia just for you.
We have also listed dishes native to Cappadocia, which we explain in the What to Eat in Cappadocia section. If you ask us, there are two dishes in particular that you should try: testi kebab and kuru kaymak (dried cream). Testi kebab is a meat and vegetable dish slow cooked in a sealed clay pot and originally invented in Yozgat. But because Cappadocia is known for producing clay pots, it became a popular treat boasted by Cappadocia’s restaurants.
In the Where to Eat section, you’ll be able to find our recommendations for Cappadocia restaurants.
And if you want a local’s advice on Cappadocia, you can read the Cappadocia Travel Guide.
If you’ve found a place that you’ve liked more not featured on our list, then let us know in the comments!
In the meantime, afiyet olsun – enjoy your meal!
WHAT TO EAT IN CAPPADOCIA
If you’re wondering about what to eat in Cappadocia, then look no further than testi kebab. As we have said, testi kebab is a meat and vegetable dish that has been cooked in a sealed clay pot. Because the meat is slow cooked in the pot, it comes out very tender, and the flavor of the meat oozes nicely into the flavor of the vegetables. They also give you bread to dip, which is something you’ll want to do. The flavors are lovely, of course, but as ever, the presentation is everything. The waiter will bring the pot to the table and break it right in front of you before serving its contents to you.
We recommend that you try testi kebab at a couple of different Cappadocia restaurants. If we judged the dish based on where we had it first, then we wouldn’t have had such fine things to say about it. 😉
Where Can I Try Testi Kebab in Cappadocia?
Millocal Restaurant – This is the best out of all the Cappadocia restaurants to have testi kebab.
Stuffed Grape Leaves (Yaprak Sarma)
Cappadocia is famous for its vineyards, so it’s logical that it’s also famous for its stuffed grape leaves. You’ll be able to easily find stuffed grape leaves on the menu in most Cappadocia restaurants.
Dolaz is a dessert – a type of helva particular to the Cappadocia region. Instead of using sugar, people add grape molasses to make it sweet.
The month of October is the time in which grapes collected in Cappadocia’s vineyards are made into grape molasses and koftur, which is a favorite dessert in the area. People also called it a Turkish jellybean – think of it as a grape molasses-Turkish delight. Koftur is basically dehydrated grape molasses, and it’s made from grape juice, flour, and starch. There no sugar in it, so it’s considered a healthy, low-calorie dessert. It’s a great thing to sample a long with you as you’re traveling through Cappadocia. You might not be able to find it at a Cappadocia restaurant, but it’s a treat readily available at market-places.
This cream is entirely different from anything you’ve ever tasted before. It’s more like a milk wafer. If you’ve had kaymak (cream) in Turkey for breakfasts (often served with honey), then you’ve probably realized that it’s soft, but firm enough to spread on bread. The dried cream – or kuru kaymak – however – is not so soft. The entire process of boiling milk, resting it, and drying the cream takes five days. The cream can last 10-15 days in the fridge, and it’s only made in Kaymaklı – a village of Derinkuyu. Dried cream is one of the signature flavors of the village, so we think that it’s worth making the trip even to try just a slice. You’ll be able to find it in most businesses in Kaymaklı or Derinkuyu. You can either eat it with jam or with honey, similar to how you would normally eat cream in Turkey.
WHERE TO EAT IN UCHISAR
Lil’a is one of the most classy of all Cappadocia’s restaurants. There’s a bit of a dress code, and you have to look fancy enough to get in. Their menu is extensive, and both the atmosphere and presentation of the food are wonderful. Some of their most popular dishes include pit roasted duck or lamb shank. But as we understand it, they change their menu often. You can visit their website to follow their most up-to-date menu. And in terms of price, let’s just say they are well above average. This is ideal for romantic evenings and special occasions. Open daily from 11 am to 10 pm. Website Address: Tekeli No.2 Eski Göreme Caddesi Merkez / Nevşehir Phone: 03842192220 Click here for the location.
This is a great Cappadocia restaurant located inside Argos Hotel where you can find quality food and great service. Here, you’ll also be able to enjoy the view and the ambience. The hotel also has a wine cellar where you can enjoy sampling various presses. If you want to go wine tasting without first having food, then you can call ahead and confirm your availability. They also don’t do tastings late at night, so make sure you go early. To play it safe, we say call ahead no matter what. Website Address: Tekelli Mahallesi, Argos In Cappadocia Hotel, 50240 Merkez Phone: 03842193130 Click here for the location.
Saklı Konak (Hidden Mansion)
The Hidden Mansion is one of the best restaurants in Uçhisar, particularly for dinner. You can also come here for breakfast, but if you’re only able to eat here once on your trip, we think you should make it dinner. This is a great place to try testi kebab, but make sure you call and make a reservation before you go. Also be aware that the servings are a bit small. Portions are a bit small, though, so consider that! Website Address: 2nd.Karlik Sokak No: 3, Uçhisar Tel: 0530 568 14 983 Click here for the location.
This is an eatery with affordable and delicious dishes where you can find local cuisine including stuffed grape leaves (yaprak sarma), Turkish dumplings (manti), and pancakes (gozleme). A restaurant with affordable and delicious food that is easily navigatable from Uchisar square. Address: Yukarı Mahalle, Fatih Caddesi, 50240 Merkez Phone: (0384) 219 20 10 Click here for the location.
O Agacin Alti
This place is famous for its tree-based evil eyes, and it’s a wonderful place to visit to take a coffee break and to take in the beautiful view. Open between 8 am – 6 pm. Address: Uchisar Road 3.Km Goreme Nevsehir Tel: 0542 337 8351 Click here for the location.
WHERE TO EAT IN ORTAHISAR
The view here at this Cappadocia restaurant during the sunset is absolutely exquisite, so we recommend that you plan to come here to watch the sun go down. Their meat deals are definitely worth trying, and the tandir lamb and lamb shank are some of their signature dishes. The testi kebab is also great, but you’ll need to call at least three hours in advance. If you come here, you should also try some of their homemade wines. Address: Landscape and Culture Park Tel: 03843432021 Click here for the location
İstanbullu Bozacinin Yeri
This is a place that makes great boza. Boza is a traditional, non-alcoholic fermented drink made out of yeast and bulgar, and is perhaps an acquired taste, but if you’re going to try it in Turkey, then we recommend that you try it here. Address: Tepebasi Square Ortahisar Tel: 0384 343 3930 – 0536 321 7152 Click here for the location.
WHAT & WHERE TO EAT IN URGUP
This is a neat Cappadocia restaurant established by a couple who moved to Nevsehir from Istanbul. The cafe is in an old house, and they initially bought it with the intent to sell antiques and vintage clothes. But after much demand, they turned it into a restaurant. The name of the place is the name of the couple’s dog. The cafe boasts wonderful views of Urgup and offers a variety of meze, or tapas-style Eastern appetisers. We would say that the prices fall in the middle – not too expensive and not cheap. Open every day between 12 pm – 11:30 pm. Website Address: Musaefendi Neighborhood, Ahmet Refik Cd. Urgup Phone: 0384 3417107 Click here for the location.
Old Greek Restaurant
This restaurant is housed in an old residence that has been restored and offers a beautiful atmosphere. Nearly all the dishes are homemade – you should dry their olive oil dishes (zeytinyaglilar) and their appetizers (mezes). Website Address: Mustafapasa Village, Sahin Cd.No: 16, 50420 Urgup Phone: 0533 552 1345 Click here for the location.
Zeytin Cafe is a nice alternative for lunch as they serve home-style Turkish cuisine. In particular, we recommend the manti (Turkish-style dumplings). The prices are affordable, and the place has a nice atmosphere. It is open every day between 8 am – 10 pm. Website Address: Ataturk Blv No: 31, Imran Mah.Kayseri Cad. Tel: 02663271521 Click here for the location.
WHAT AND WHERE TO EAT IN GÖREME
Topdeck Cave Restaurant
This Cappadocia restaurant is a small place that only has ten tables, making it cozy and authentic, with great attention to detail in every dish. It’s closed on Tuesdays, but open 5 pm – 11:30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays and 6 pm – midnight on the other days of the week. Address: Hafiz Abdullah Efendi Sokak No 15 Tel: 0384 271 2474 Click here for the location.
Seten Anatolian Cuisine
Unlike a lot of the other Cappadocia restaurants on this list, Seten Anatolian Cuisine is good option for a fancy night out. Both the presentation and flavors of their dishes are quite nice. This is another good place to try testi kebab, although the prices are average compared to Istanbul, which is to say they are pricey. Website Address: Aydınlı Mah.Aydınlı Sok. No: 42 Goreme Tel: 0384 271 3025 Click here for the location.
Pumpkin Goreme Restaurant and Art Gallery
This is a small, friendly restaurant with fixed menus from 80 TL per person. The price of the menu is fixed but not always what’s on them – so you might want to call in advance to see what their main dish is. The employees are very friendly and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Open between 6 pm – midnight every day. Address: İçeri Dere Sokak No: 7 Goreme / Nevşehir Phone: 0542 808 5050 Click here for the location.
This is a good place for testi kebab and sac kavurma, which is fried diced lamb dish. The place doesn’t really stand out, but with more scrumptious meals than other places on the list, however, and more affordable at that, it definitely earns a try. It is open every day between 7 am – 11 pm. Address: Uzundere Cad., Goreme Tel: 0384 271 2701 Click here for the location.
WHAT & WHERE TO EAT IN AVANOS
This is the most popular place to eat in Avanos. If you only have time to eat at one place in Avanos, then let it be at Seyyah Han. The place not only has a nice atmosphere but it also has a wonderful view you can enjoy from its terrace. It is open every day between 11 am – 11 pm. Website Address: 2nd.Küme Neighborhood Maltepe Street, No: 144 Avanos Tel: 0384 532 7214 Click here for the location.
Uranos Sarıkaya Restaurant
This Cappadocia restaurant offers both food and entertainment. There’s no show during lunch, but for dinner, there’s a folk show, complete with alcoholic beverages – which is not something to take for granted around here. Lunch is served between 11.30 am -12.30 pm, and dinner is served between 5 pm -7:20 pm. The show starts at 8 pm and continues until midnight. So, if you don’t have enough time, then you might want to try testi kebab elsewhere – but if you want to experience something different, we recommend this. Open daily from 8:30 am to 11:30 pm. Website Address: Akbel Mevkii, Bridge Head No: 88 Avanos Tel: 0384 511 3560 Click here for the location.